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Making Emerge Sri Lanka

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through March! Time flies when you’re sick (I’ve come down with a crazy Sri Lankan virus that is mostly gone thankfully). Lying in bed has given me much time to think about what’s happened since I came back to Sri Lanka in January, and I thought I’d fill in some details for you all!

As you may know, Alia was here the month of February, and it felt like the whole month we were running around all over the place: meeting with people, trying to form relationships with other organizations, developing product strategy and curriculum guides, and so on.

The couple weeks before that I spent preparing for her visit. My biggest goal for the first half of the year is to get Emerge Sri Lanka established as its own legal entity. It took a solid couple of weeks to find the right person to assist us with this process – and it was a lot of fun trying to find them! I met a number of interesting and exciting people along the way: in fact I’m pretty sure there was one week where I met with someone new every day. The whole information gathering process really appeals to my way of thinking. It’s very important for me to orient myself when I am in a situation that I don’t know much about. I do this when I go to a new city by immediately studying maps to be able to navigate myself. Well it turns out this is also the methodology I took exploring how to establish a charitable organization in Sri Lanka.

I ended up finding, through a long chain of referrals, a kick-butt and powerful woman named Sumi who is trained as a lawyer and is currently consulting for a government bank. She has helped immensely already with figuring out exactly what needs to be done to form Emerge Sri Lanka. So much of how business gets done in Sri Lanka is who you know, and Sumi knows a lot of people and isn’t timid in getting to know those she doesn’t.

After Alia left I immediately got sick, so unfortunately I haven’t been able to follow up with Sumi as much as I would have liked. But we’re meeting tomorrow to start things off: first step, registering our name (Emerge Sri Lanka) with the Registrar of Companies. Wish us luck!

Best, Ellen

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