The Emerge Board of Directors
Alia is an experienced social entrepreneur with over fifteen years of experience working with children who’ve endured trauma, sexual abuse, and exploitation. She founded Emerge at the age of 19 after a tsunami relief trip to Sri Lanka and has remained deeply involved ever since. She is also the Co-Founder 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. Alia has experience as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and has served on several boards including the MIT Corporation (MIT’s board of trustees), SERES Global, and Emerge Lanka Foundation. She 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 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 in need.
Farzana 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 and is a past president of the Rotary Club of Colombo Regency.
Jehan 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. Jehan is a qualified high performance cricket coach - he is currently the head coach of the Sri Lanka Under 19 cricket team. Jehan holds a degree in Physical Science from the University of Colombo. He also served as the Chairman of Colombo Round Table 1, a charity and fellowship club which provided the Emerge Centre for Reintegration with its first funding in 2016. Jehan has since worked closely with Emerge and plays an active role of spreading awareness while providing his insight into Emerge strategies. He is passionate about Emerge and the cause we represent and is an active part of all our programs and events.
Swasha 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. Swasha 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 victimized for no fault of their own, and to make a difference, is her goal. Through this goal, Swasha joined Emerge Lanka Foundation and is currently part of the Board of Directors, where she empowers young women who have experienced sexual abuse. Recently, Swasha established a safe house for women called the Nama Sanctuary and has been providing security and a firm foundation for women who are on a journey of healing.
Priya Sivagananathan is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. She is a law graduate of the London School of Economics & Political Science, Barrister-at-law and a member of the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. She is a Partner at Julius & Creasy , Attorneys-at-Law & Notaries Public , since 2008 . She specialises in the areas of Banking & Finance and Aircraft Leasing. She is also a member of the Board for the Office for Reparations which is an independent body established to manage Sri Lanka’s reparations regime and grant reparation to victims of conflict.