1 Year Reflections
By: Amanda J. Van Dort Sri Lanka Country Director
We’ve taken Emerge to the next level.
PROGRAMMATIC OUTCOMES We’ve standardized our curricula, goals and measurements. We expanded to another government shelter seamlessly and are proud to be helping girls who need our program the most.
Beads-to-Business/Sales: We now have our jewelry at major retail stores, such as Barefoot, Cotton Collection, Lanka Hands, and more. Raffles Design Institute is hosting a graphic design workshop at Salvation Army to have the girls develop new images for our B2B workbook. We’ve revised our Journal topics to include deeper reflections about real life scenarios. One of our volunteers hosted the first local jewelry party at her home and sold over Rs. 30,000. We will be selling our girls jewelry at the famous Lankadara exhibition and for the third year in a row at the International Charities Christmas Bazaar.
Life Skills: We began our second year teaching Reproductive Health and inviting outside speakers to workshops. A past participant was able to pass the health section of her O-level exam because of our program. We introduced Life Skills unit tests to ensure retention. When we saw the our girls were struggling with self-inflicted harm we hosted a workshop to celebrate beauty. Our mentors helped design an Education Program at Salvation Army sponsored by Horizon which includes tutors for all major subjects, course materials and an exam testing center within the shelter. The girls continue to give back with their Community Fund projects, in which they purchased writing desks, netball equipment and undergarments for the shelters. Our Program Development Officer attended a workshop on First Aid/CPR and is qualified to teach the girls about Basic Life saving skills.
Mentorship: When our mentors expressed a need for more training we revised our manual to include several aspects of patient centered counseling techniques and mental health. We developed a twelve month curriculum which includes topics such as: Body image, Alcohol & Addiction and Childcare. We also incorporated ‘The Tree of Life,’ an African-based narrative therapy model and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercises. We worked with psychiatrists and incorporated monthly and bi-monthly surveys to screen for anxiety/depression and post-traumatic stress. We partnered with Samutthana and attended various workshops such as counseling techniques, working with distressed children, depression, addiction and stigmatization. We joined the Emotional Health Alliance Forum to discuss the issues facing our girls and develop recommendations to shelter counselors.
Reintegration: When our past participants began to come to office regularly as peer educators we developed an Internship Program which included monthly lectures by staff members, evaluations and term projects. They were able to increase their responsibility with each passing month and have become staff members which have made our team stronger. We developed a Reintegration Manual which includes resource information such as jobs, legal advice, and housing. We continued to develop partnerships with companies who are wiling to hire and assist our past participants. We made a connection with Educate Lanka Foundation so that past participants can get their education and training sponsored. We developed Reintegration Interviews which are done monthly with the Program Coordinator to discuss plans for savings and life after the shelter.
Success stories: In the past year more than 20 girls have contacted us after leaving the shelter, 12 girls have secured jobs, 3 girls have started their own businesses and 3 girls have built houses from the money they earned from Emerge.
We’ve helped over 100 survivors in the past year, and our work is not done.
ORGANIZATIONAL OUTCOMES We’ve formalized our procedures and moved towards financial independence and local sustainability.
We’ve introduced many HR policies, including a new Child Protection Policy which is in line with international standards. We’re now governed by a strong, influential local Board which includes members from all field areas. We started monthly volunteer meetings titled “Friends of Emerge” to work on fundraising and sales. We hosted six student interns from America in the areas of Business Development, Fundraising, Public Relations, Reintegration, Beads-to-Business and Mental Health. We completed our grant for International Youth Foundation in Reproductive Health and were able to have a staff retreat where we discussed best practices and our goals for the upcoming year. We’ve been granted our second Starbucks grant to cover our Life Skills Program. We received our second grant from Dining For Women as well. We hosted two fundraising parties at Silk Nightclub and raised over Rs. 100,000. We hosted a fundraiser at Barefoot called Shakti to celebrate femininity. The event was the first of it’s kind to use artistic avenues to raise awareness about sexual violence. There was live music, dramas, art installations, poetry readings and a open forum with Women’s Rights activist Rocky Ariaratyne. The event raised over Rs. 50,000 and was featured in 3 different newspapers. We hosted 12 Emerge kid’s parties and raised over Rs. 170,000. We hired a Financial Officer who has standardized our financial templates and tracking. We’ve participated in almost 30 different sales, and sold over Rs. 618,000 worth of jewelry. We’ve facilitated over Rs. 270,000 worth of donations for the shelters we work in. With support from the Lion’s Club B1 we hosted Christmas parties at the shelters which included refreshments, games and individual presents for each girl. Our sponsorship program continued this year and we’ve adjusted it for local sponsorship. We participated in a research project called: Charity, Philanthropy and Development in Sri Lanka. We are completing membership materials for both the European and American Chambers of Commerce.
OUTREACH OUTCOMES We’ve update our Flickr account to include photographs taken by our PR summer intern. Emerge has been covered in over 14 newspaper articles and was featured on the cover of Eastern Michigan University magazine and Hi!, Sri Lanka’s biggest pop culture/society magazine. Good Morning Sri Lanka also covered Emerge in a 2-part interview which aired the day after Christmas. We had our first stall at Sri Lanka Day in Los Angeles, hosted by Sri Lanka Foundation. We’ve hosted 12 kids parties and developed a partnership with Milk to host monthly workshops for kids, raising over Rs. 170,000. We formed a partnership with Ms. Sri Lanka 2011-2012- who co-hosted fundraisers at Silk and served as a celebrity spokesperson.
THANK YOU I’d like to thank my wonderful dedicated Emerge team whose patience and care provide strength to both me and our participants. I’m grateful to the several local artists who have sacrificed their time and shared their talents to promote our cause at fundraising events. There are countless supporters who have helped our organization in different ways, and I’m confident that many more will join us in the movement to stop sexual violence. I’m honored to work with Alia Whitney-Johnson, the founder of this organization, who had a dream that allowed hundreds of girls lives to be transformed, and has given me the opportunity to be a part of that dream. Most importantly to the brave young girls of Emerge, whose stories and strength continue to be my greatest inspiration. We dedicate our success to you.