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How do you start something new?

In our case, we just dive right in! Last Monday we got the okay from our partners to start workshops in their home, and this Monday we left our first workshop with 25 new Emerge girls and a camera full of smiles.

The hard work put in by our entire team in the past few months made for a very successful first week at Panadura. I’ll let Rachael’s blog post speak for itself about the partnership agreements which she negotiated and I’ll just stick with the programs side of things.

*The best part of the week – seeing how excited the girls were to have created their first pieces of jewelry. I have some great pictures of them all posing with their new bracelets. (Unfortunately we can’t post those pictures due to privacy rules, but they were cute!)

*The hardest part of the week – holding the girls back! They wanted to move through the curriculum at warp speed because they were so excited. Luckily we had Nirukshi, Rachael, Prabhani, a past participant (who did a fantastic job) and myself all working together.

*What made me sad – we had the girls fill out a pre-program survey to get a feel for their self-esteem and their plans for the future. A lot of the girls have a very low opinion of themselves and their abilities. It was sad but at the same time it really inspired me to see how much we can change those attitudes this year.

*What inspired me – watching one of our past participants teach the girls jewelry techniques. She was so graceful and she has such a great success story. She left the program with a large amount of savings which she has set aside for her child’s education. She’s happy, healthy, and in a solid relationship. It’s great to have her hear to show the girls that the future can be really bright.

*What is challenging me – coming up with new topics each week! From now on we’ll need to find a new speaker for our life-skills session every week at Panadura and once a month at Ma Sevana. It’s a lot to keep up with, but I’m enjoying the new challenge and Prabhani and Nirukshi are contributing a great deal of their time to helping me out.

*What made me laugh out loud – several of our new girls remind me just a little bit of mini-gangsters. They’re tougher than me I think and it’s a good thing; several of them want to become police officers or join the military when they’re older. I hope they pursue these goals; I think the country would be in good hands.

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