Emerge Board Members


Alia Whitney-Johnson

Founder of Emerge Global and Director of Emerge Lanka Foundation

Alia Whitney-Johnson is an experienced social entrepreneur with fifteen years of experience working with children who’ve endured trauma, sexual abuse, and exploitation. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Freedom Forward (www.Freedom-Forward.org), a non-profit that is working to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of youth in San Francisco through systems change.

Whitney-Johnson founded Emerge Global, a non-profit that has equipped more than 1000 teenage survivors of sexual abuse in Sri Lanka with business acumen, life skills, and financial capital. She has served on several boards including the MIT Corporation (MIT’s board of trustees), SERES Global, Emerge Lanka Foundation, and ATHack!. Whitney-Johnson holds a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.


Ellen Needham

Co-Founder and Director of Emerge Lanka Foundation

Ellen Needham is the Co-Founder and Director of Emerge Lanka Foundation, and has served as a Country Manager at the organization for a year. She believes in the empowerment of young women, and has a goal to support vulnerable individuals, who are at need.


Farzana Khan

Board Member Emerge Lanka Foundation

Farzana Khan has a Bachelor of Business Administration (Second Upper) from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura and an MBA from PIM, where she passed as a   Merit student. Her research thesis on a comparative study of the Corporate Social Responsibility models was published in the PIM Journal. She is also a member of the Association of Business Executives (UK) and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and a trained Speech and Drama teacher from the Trinity Colleague of London. She also serves as a Board Member in and is a past president of the Rotary Club of Colombo Regency.


Jehan Mubarak

Board Member Emerge Lanka Foundation

Jehan Mubarak is a former international cricketer and water polo player. He has represented Sri Lanka at 3 cricket World Cups and captained many teams throughout his career. He is a qualified high performance cricket coach and is currently coaching a schools (U19) cricket team. He holds a degree in science from the University of Colombo. Mubarak was also the Chairman of Colombo Round Table 1, a charity and fellowship club. He is passionate about Emerge and the cause we represent, and is an active part of all our programmes and events.


Swasha Malalasekera

Board Member Emerge Lanka Foundation

Swasha Malalasekera holds a Bsc in Accounting and Finance and ATCL, LLCM in speech and Drama. She is the owner and director of The Studio, Fine and performing arts Academy, and the T and T Villas (pvt) Ltd. Malalasekera is also a director and partner at the Asvaya Holdings pvt ltd. An accountant by profession, her love for the performing arts and humanity has changed her life’s purpose. To fight for and on behalf of women and children that have been victimised for no fault of their own, and to make a difference, is her goal. Through this goal, Malalasekara joined Emerge Lanka Foundation, and is currently part of the Board of Directors, where she empowers young women who have experienced sexual abuse.

Board of Advisors

Harsha Fernando

Chatrini Weeratunge

Priya Sivaganathan

Prakash Mirchandani


Ranil Samarawickrema


Milani Salpitikorala


Shalini Fernando


Fazana Ibrahim

Priya 02.jpg

The Past Team

  • Susanthi Fernando - Centre Counsellor

  • Hasanthi Kahandawala - Lead - Programs

  • Ruveni Balasooriya - Center Operations Officer

  • Achini Wijesinghe - Lead - Reintegration Center

  • Manahari Panditharathne - Business Development Officer 

  • Alex Regan - Centre Operations

  • Savini Fernando - Business Development Officer 

  • Sayuri Amarasuriya - Program Officer 

  • Mumtaz Faleel - Former Country Manager

  • Kamani Sooriyarachi - Peer Educator 

  • Charuni Ranchigoda - Reintegration Officer 

  • Udani Ranathunga - Administration Officer 

  • Amanda Van Dort - Former Country Director

  • Iroshini Kalpage - Senior Program Officer​​