After nearly missing my connecting flight from Chicago to Houston due to engine trouble back in Boston, I arrived at the Houston airport just before midnight, greeted by the enthusiastic smiles of Medha Karve and Madhavi Padval, two long-term supporters of Emerge. They eagerly asked me for the latest updates on Emerge in the car, excited about the event that would be hosted the following day at the Karve home.
On Friday, August 29th, I woke up eager begin setting up for the event. I was surprised to be greeted by lush green scenery just outside my window… not at all what I had expected from my first trip to Texas!
I cannot begin to describe the Karve’s home. It is by far the most exquisite space within which I have had the privilege of presenting. The cherry wood was soft and inviting and the seemingly endless counters, shelves, and glass tables were perfect to display the Emerge jewelry while encouraging guests to mingle and move around the space.
We began the night with a short video on Emerge and a presentation, both on how Emerge began and where it is going. I scattered stories throughout the presentation to show not only what we do as an organization but why we do it and what motivates me as an individual.
In particular, I focused on the need for a new facility for young girls who have survived rape, as well as a meaningful living, learning and working environment for those young women who can no longer be housed at Ma-Sevana, due to the fact that they are over 18. And, our most exciting update was that Ellen, who is leading our incredible team to Sri Lanka this year, had arrived in Sri Lanka earlier that night! To follow Ellen and the team’s progress, check out our field blog: http://emergeglobal.org/fieldblog/
I was impressed by the knowledge of my audience. I have never received so many great questions, everything from how we know where the money goes in Sri Lanka to how the legal system works, who are partners are, and why rape and incest are especially prevalent in Sri Lankan culture.
What was intended to be an event from 5:30-7:30pm lasted until 10:30pm, as people laughed and cried, met one another, ate wonderful food, and carefully selected and purchased the precious jewelry creations of Emerge participants to share with their loved ones.
We nearly sold all of our jewelry (about $800 worth) and raised $700 at the event itself. More importantly, we expanded our community within Texas. I knew the event had been a success when many people told me they would bring 5-10 friends the next time I visited. As we share our evolving story, our Emerge community is growing as well. And, I couldn’t be more excited about this growth!
A huge thank you to the following individuals and groups who made this event possible:
The Karve Family-
to Medha, for hosting this beautiful event in your home and for making your home mine for the weekend
to Jusleen, for tirelessly coordinating all the event details and for being the wonderful friend that you are
to Jai, for spending all of Friday trying to connect my computer to your TV!
Stacey Nakamura and the MIT Club of Houston- for enthusiastically incorporating the event in announcements to MIT alums and parents, for sending out additional invitations, and for photographing the event
Madhavi Padval- for working the donation and sales table at the event (and showcasing Emerge jewelry quite fashionably all night long!)
“To Dine For” Catering- for the exquisite drinks and Hors d’oeuvre’s
Jusleen Karve- Finally, while I’ve already thanked her above, I want to send an extra big thank you to Jusleen, who has not only been one of my best friends, but who has worked as our fundraising manager over the past year, pouring countless hours and energy into Emerge to help make our programs possible. Jusleen graduated from MIT this past June and is now working at MODEC International in Houston. Good luck Jusleen with all your endeavors! You’ll always be a part of the Emerge family…
Jusleen and me after the event Photos courtesy of Medha Karve and Stacey Nakamura