The past 2 years have been a difficult time for all of us. With the pandemic setting foot all over the world and affecting so many communities, we too were dearly affected when the Emerge Reintegration programme had to be temporarily paused. Added to this, when the second surge of the pandemic hit Sri Lanka, all of our shelter programmes had to stop. We had to find a way to keep delivering our programmes to our girls, and had to find a safe way to do this. We saw a chance when the educational system in Sri Lanka started taking a turn towards online learning. Emerge reached out to the shelters we work with, and got approval from the Probation Department to start online programming.
Our team had to make a lot of changes to our programming style and curriculums to fit this, and every minute of our time put into this was worth it. We now work with 15 young girls; a small yet exciting start. The batch started in October 2021. Theja and I teach them personal development and life skills, and the both of us enjoy interacting with the girls so much. I remember the excited little laughter and shy smiles on the screen on the first day of our online class. There were girls who had such big and beautiful dreams, some wanted to become teachers, and some doctors. I remember being nervous myself as the days built up to our first class, but the minute I saw and spoke to the girls I felt so much at ease, and realized how much I missed teaching our girls. Being able to teach these young girls once again after such a long period of time, has brought so much excitement and hope throughout the team. We hope that even though we are not able to be physically present to conduct our programmes, that we are still able to shed a little light to the bright futures of these youth.