14 young ladies graduated this month and are poised to start a new chapter in their lives, equipped with the skills and knowledge they were able to acquire in the span of 6 months. Despite many programmatic adjustments that had to be made due to the outbreak of Covid19; both team and participants persevered to work together once precautions were taken. Below is an outline of their time in the shelter and their time with Emerge.
Beads to Business (B2B)
By progressing through the self-paced curriculum; participants were able to learn transferable entrepreneurship skills and even learnt the concept of how to build a business plan for a business idea of their own by engaging in 55 hours of workshops.
Collectively, participants created 220 pieces of beaded jewelry despite only being able to practice their skills during a limited time due to the lockdown and risk period of Covid19.
Participants were able to generate a collective savings total of LKR. 105,000/- with an average of Rs. 5,250/- per participant which they will gain access to as they turn 18 years old. Through programming, they are made aware how these funds can be utilized towards her own self-sufficiency.
Personal Development (PD)
Based on the request put forward by Shelter Management upon identifying recurring knowledge and behavioral gaps; the team put together a few workshops geared by discussion and activity.
Topics such as personal hygiene, food etiquette, cleanliness and inter-personal communication were addressed during these sessions.
The participants also were able to learn basic English skills through this programme; and learnt key words and phrases that would aid them in their life after institutionalization.
Reproductive Health (RH)
Participants were able to take part in 65 hours of Reproductive Health workshops.
Reproductive review, Teenage pregnancy, STI’s and an overall programme recap was successfully conducted along with Pre and Post tests to monitor the participants knowledge retention.
Reproductive Health workshops are conducted through open discussions; where a safe space is created for the facilitator to debunk myths and misconceptions that girls put forward.
Mental Health Support (MH)
Mental health support was provided from the end of January through March, which consisted of 9 group therapy sessions and individual assessments. One-on-one sessions were conducted for participants who reached out and requested for support or if a behavioral change which needs to be addressed was observed by the counsellor or any other facilitator.
The group therapy sessions focused on identifying their personal strengths and weaknesses, setting goals for themselves, self-reflection and self-monitoring their progress towards reaching the goals, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness. The first two sessions were focused on identifying their virtues, strengths and weaknesses and setting measurable goals based on areas that require improvement. Based on the common areas of improvement identified, the next sessions focused on equipping the participants with emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and mindfulness skills. Drama and art therapy-based activities and role plays were used to practice these skills during sessions.
The final individual assessments conducted with participants revealed that about 60% of the participants have been able to work towards their goals using some of the skills learnt and practiced during sessions. It was also evident that they have gained the ability to reflect on themselves and continue to monitor their progress. Moreover, they were aware of how these skills can be used to further improve their social and life skills and face the many challenges they may encounter when they are reintegrated in to society.
Special workshops and Programmes
Sports Workshop by Emerge Director / Board Member and former National Cricket Player Mr. Jehan Mubarak
The participants were able to engage in a few cricket matches, team games and also an open discussion headed by Jehan. He spoke about the importance of team sports and the values that the participants can learn and apply to their own lives.
Self-Defense and Confidence by Krav Maga Instructor Mr. Kunchana Ranasinghe
The participants learnt and practiced basic self-defense techniques they can utilize in a moment they may feel in danger. Kunchana taught them how to harness their inner strength through confidence, and about how discipline can support them to persevere through life.