Key People


Hazel Rajiah - Tetteh

Country Manager

"Emerge is a light in the dark"


Hazel is an international trainer and experienced coach who specialises in communications, people management and personal development. Prior to joining Emerge Lanka Foundation as its Country Manager, she worked with MDF for 6 years and delivered Leadership and People Management courses for MDF clients throughout the region, including Afghanistan.  Hazel was part of the Results-based Programme Management training team, with a focused involvement in the design and delivery of the Leadership and People Management courses for the MDF Centre for Authentic Leadership. Hazel has a passion for working with community based organisations for development and advocacy, with special interest in collecting stories and conducting storytelling sessions for change and awareness. She also uses drama as a tool for healing, awareness, and advocacy. In 2015, she received Training of Trainers training in Adult-Learning methodologies in the Netherlands. She is also a trainer in personal development, presentation and public speaking skills and customer service and a consultant in Organisational Development.


Uadaya JK Sivakumar

“Emerge is Empowering, Motivating, Encouraging, Resettling, Guiding, and Elevating teenage survivors of sexual abuse.”

Uadaya Sivakumar has worked in the development field for ten years and believes deeply in equity and equality. Before joining Emerge Lanka Foundation as its Financial Officer (her first role with Emerge), she has attended many trainings on women’s rights, gender-based violence, Muslim women’s Issues, women’s political participation, and engaging men to prevent violence against women.  These workshops fueled her commitment to the issues which affect women and children of Sri Lanka. Her fluency in all three languages is an asset to Emerge.

Chief Operations Officer


Nirukshi De Lanerolle

B2B Senior Program Officer

“Emerge is transformation, both in the lives of young women, and in my own.”


Nirukshi de Lanerolle is a mother figure to countless young girls through her work with orphanages and children’s programmes across the country. In the past, she has worked with World Vision Lanka as the Coordinator of Sponsor Relations and with Sarvodaya Suwasetha Sewa Society Ltd. where she was the Web and Donor Relations Manager. Her organizational skills, initiative and fluency in both Sinhala and English are an asset to Emerge. She was Emerge Lanka Foundation’s first employee, and has been the Programme Coordinator since 2007. Her history and institutional knowledge is one of the pillars that guide the team. She is currently working as the Senior Programme Officer at Emerge, and works tirelessly to bring a better future for the girls we work with. Joining Emerge and continuing her journey for over 10 years has brought so much of happiness and insight to her life, just as she has as "Nirukshi Amma" to  every single Emerge participant so far.


Kaavya Pathirana

Shelter Lead

& Communications Officer

“Emerge is the big sister who guides and loves; where we celebrate the worth of each survivor, and empower them to be their own silver lining.”


Kaavya has always been inspired to join the field of Relief Working as an activist focused on telling impactful stories. She worked as the Communications Officer with Emerge back in 2015 for two years and fell in love with fighting for the cause. She later joined Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka and was able to travel around the island while writing about the transformational impact of poverty housing, and was able to expand on her Resource Development skill set in that capacity.  The work of Emerge remained close to Kaavya's heart and purpose, and she returned back to Emerge in 2020 to continue to fight for the cause. She sees the Emerge participants as some of the strongest young women in society - and is a huge advocate for their untapped potential to re-claim their life and power. Kaavya is determined to refine the program curriculum so that the girls will not only have the practical knowledge they require to live a healthy, wholesome life outside of the shelter, but also be equipped with emotional intelligence to reclaim their lives.


Sithara Pathirana

Programs Officer

“Emerge is trust and support.”

Sithara joined Emerge as a Programmes Assistant. Currently, she is a Senior Programme Officer and facilitates Reproductive Health and Life Skills workshops at Shelters. She gives her invaluable support for both Life Skills and Beads to Business programs. She manages many important program functions related to these such as workshop preparation, maintaining attendance records, conducting and recording surveys and updating Life Skills and Beads to Business databases. Her experience and involvement in teaching has enabled her to work closely and effectively with the girls. Joining Emerge has given her a sense of happiness and great commitment. Her mature sense and love for teaching has brought a large positive impact into the cause. She holds Emerge close to her, and is determined to build a better education path for the future of the girls we work with; wanting to provide insight to girls about building self-confidence, acceptance and the know-how to live in the world.


Suzanne Paiva

Programs Officer

“Emerge is where a girl is given a second chance in life without labels, teaching her to stand up for herself and face the world with confidence.”

A Graduate in English and English Literature, she is a Social worker with over 25 years of experience in the field of Education, both in Teaching and Management. She has written over six books in Cookery, headed the Department of Life Skills in a leading group of International Schools in Sri Lanka, and held the position of Deputy Principal in one of the oldest International Schools in Sri Lanka. She has worked with both children and adults and has headed many Social Service organizations and Youth organizations. A Qualified Pastry Chef, she runs her own business in Pastry and baking, and worked with women prisoners teaching them this skill and recently started teaching the Art of Cake making to differently abled ladies. She has been the Chairperson of the Sunshine Camp; a camp organized annually by the YMCA for differently abled people from all around the Island. Joining the Emerge family was the best decision she ever made in her life. Suzanne has a great passion for teaching; she enjoys every minute she spends with the girls and takes every day as a new challenge.

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Dhammika Wijeyaratne

Senior Centre Mother

“A place where there is motherly love, care, joy, protection, security, warmth, and hope for the future found in one place; this place is called Emerge Centre.”

Dhammika Wijerathne is a mother to 74 young ladies at the Emerge Centre. She works as a senior Centre mother from the very first day she joined Emerge in August 2017. Within her career journey, she has worked as a government school teacher for 39 years and has taught thousands of students in government schools around Kandy. She has graduated as a teacher from the Teacher’s College, Peradeniya. Her knowledge of teaching students helps her a lot when working as a senior Centre mother at the Emerge Centre. She has learnt Child Psychology as a subject for her Teacher Training Programme and it has proved to be very helpful for her to work as a Centre mother. Coordinating with the Programme Officer, Counsellor, and the Country Manager, she helps the success of the reintegration programme.

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Ashani Hans Ehaliyagoda

Reintegration and Admin Manager

"Emerge creates the determination and strength to overcome boundaries and empower the lives of countless young survivors."

Ashani is a Psychology major, following her degree at the ICBT Campus, who has always wanted to be an activist of a cause led movement. Ashani has been a part of Emerge for the past 3 years. She deeply believes in the cause of Emerge, and is highly supportive of making a difference in the lives of all survivors. While working as a trainer of Life Skills and English, she also works in programming and report writing. Her passion for teaching and writing are both heightened with the work she does at Emerge. As she has seen the many atrocities of life that survivors face every day, she wants to provide the closure, knowledge and skills these young women require when they enter the outside world; as any young individual has the right to learn. Being an older sister to these young women, Ashani’s passion has broadened and has brought her closer to the cause. Joining Emerge has been one of the most empowering and best decisions that she has ever made. Not only does she teach, but she also learns a lot from the girls. She is happy to be a part of this family, and is excited for the future of Emerge.


Uwasara Arambewale Weerakoon


"Emerge is where love, compassion, hope, connection and acceptance lay the foundation for the transformation of courageous young girls."


Uwasara is a psychologist, mental health advocate and educator with a passion and commitment to provide person centred mental health support, create awareness, educate the community, promote wellbeing and facilitate action towards creating and maintaining inclusive services. She completed her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA in 2016 and her Graduate Diploma in Psychology from the Deakin University, Australia in 2017. 

Uwasara completed her MPhil in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colombo in September 2020 and as part of her training, she provided intervention for both adults and children presented to Psychiatric clinics of three state hospitals in Sri Lanka. 

During her training she has worked with clients of abuse and gender-based violence; persons with special needs, substance use problems, delinquent behaviour; individuals at risk of self-harm and suicide and other common mental health problems.  She is also a visiting lecturer of Psychology at the ICBT campus and American National College, and is involved as a Technical Consultant in other Mental Health and Psychosocial Services related projects in Sri Lanka through The Good Practice Group.


Shyam Hettiarachchi

Brand Awareness