“APIL* Miss!” a student calls for attention. I look over to see APIL beam a smile while confidently explaining a jewelry pattern to one of Emerge’s new students. In July 2007 APIL started as an Emerge program participant at Ma Sevena. In 2008 she left Ma Sevena; two weeks ago she began helping us work with a new generation of Emerge girls at the National Training and Counseling Centre in Panadura.
The National Training and Counseling Centre in Panadura is Emerge Global’s newest program site. The home is run by the Sri Lankan Probation Department (the same department that handles all of the court cases for the girls at Ma Sevena). This home is the department’s model home and they have expressed interest in using their work there to identify programs that could be successfully replicated in other homes in Sri Lanka. There are approximately twenty five girls in the Panadura home at any given time. Each girl stays for six to nine months of counseling and rehabilitation before being placed in another location. The girls are all survivors of abuse.
Every week, APIL takes the bus from Matara to Panadura- five hours each way- in order to help lead the Emerge workshops. Though she initially seemed nervous, she’s come to fill her new role with confidence and poise. She’s even planning to wear a sari to the next workshop, where she will speak to the girls about her experiences living in, and leaving, a group home. We couldn’t be happier to witness this former participant taking responsibility and leading the new girls to empowering and active participation in the Emerge Bead Program.
* I have used APIL’s initials to protect her confidentiality.