Sometime ago, the girls decided that a certain percentage of their earnings from selling Emerge jewelry would go into a Community Fund that would benefit all the girls. The idea came about when the girls expressed concerned that they didn’t have adequate sanitary pads at the home. If they were making money, why couldn’t they fix this problem?
We recently had our first Community Fund project, which will take place every 6 months as we move forward. We informed the girls that some monies were available. The girls had a meeting appointed RS as their leader, who is the most senior member of the programme at the shelter in Moratuwa. Most of the girls were leaving the home soon, as some of their court cases had been resolved. Others had secured jobs and went on to join a local garment factory through the help of the Probation Department. The girls collectively decided that they wanted clothes and under garments for the future and the same for their babies.
Through the Community Fund we hope to teach the girls how to make decisions as a group and also to learn how to budget and plan a project. They had to decide how much of their money they wanted to spend and what types of clothes they wanted. Since they aren’t allowed to leave the home, I visited the regular stores from which I purchase goods for the girls during Christmas and Sinhala New Year and took at least 03 photos of each product they were considering. There after I showed them a slide show of the products and they made out their shopping lists from the budget that was allocated to each of them.
After the money was given to me I went on a shopping spree on behalf of the girls. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love to select the most appropriate item of clothing for each girl and their babies, as it gives me a lot of satisfaction. And, I must say that they in turn truly appreciate my choice of clothing which is given to them. After the purchases, I put them all in a separate bags with their nametags and these items were distributed to them.
Once the goods were received they were so proud of their achievements! Many of the girls who contributed to the Community Fund had already left the shelter and there were many girls who were new to the Program. As such, we hope to do these projects more frequently in the future.