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Healthy Relationships

Iroshini Kalpage

Program Development Officer

Emerge Lanka


Do you remember how, as a teenager, “LOVE” was the most important feeling for us? Love can’t describe. It’s so beautiful! When I see our girls at the shelter, they also hide their feelings inside. It’s natural.

A young girl’s feelings for love and a relationship are normal things. But as a girl, there are certain things they should know before starting a relationship with someone. Having a relationship means that not only one side takes responsibility, but that both sides do.


I have started doing a “Healthy Relationship” lesson with our new Negombo shelter girls. As usual, I drew a stick-figure male on the white board and asked the girls about what good qualities and bad qualities they expect from their partner.


They were really excited about the question and gave thousands of good/bad qualities. When they finished sharing all of these qualities, I changed the stick-figure male into a stick-figure female, and asked, “DO YOU HAVE ALL OF THESE QUALITIES?” They were surprised! They thought about it, and then realized that it is a bit difficult getting these same things from themselves, instead of getting them from a partner. For example, I asked them, “Can I trust you, do you have jealousy?” This time they were silent, indicating that they were thinking about it.


While I was doing the activities, there were questions to which they could agree with or not agree with. There was one interesting question that some girls agreed upon.


The question was, “Is it okay if my boyfriend/husband hits me?” Some girls said it was okay, if after they made a mistake, they were then hit by their boyfriend/husband. When I asked why this was so, some replied that when their fathers hit their mothers, all of the children sided with the mothers and, thus, tried to help their mothers get away from their fathers. In doing this, they were thinking that their mothers and her children have more bonds due to this. It was a good point, according to their point of view, and described that it shouldn’t be like that. These types of lessons are things that they do not learn from either school or the outside world. I am happy that our new batch of girls is starting to think differently.

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