“I was once a girl – and then I lost my way. I was pushed into a deep and dark forest. I felt guilty, wrong, ashamed.And then I was rescued. I still hurt. I was protected, but still unloved. No one was there for me. No reassurance. No love.There were many more like me.
I had my baby then. He is my joy now. It wasn’t easy back then. My body was too young and I suffered so much. One day dawned special. A beautiful woman came to see us. She didn’t look at us the way other people did. Most importantly, she cared! About us! She taught us something beautiful–to put our feelings in a necklace! What a joy! My troubles, all that I have suffered, became beads that I place into lovely necklaces. We were overjoyed to know that money from selling these necklaces would be put into our bank accounts. I knew my own money meant freedom for me some day. Freedom for my son.While you admired our beautiful necklaces, I was there with you. I was a tag with a lotus and my initials. I couldn’t see your smile as you picked me up, but I sure felt its warmth. A lot has happened since those days. I am a woman now. A mother and a wife. I love my work because I help many more like me. I am confident now. I’m no longer a name without a face, or a court case. I’m no longer just a few initials on a lotus tag. I’m me!”
My name is Charuni Ranchigoda and I work with Emerge Lanka Foundation. A young lady inspired me to write this story from her perspective. I want to thank her for sharing her story with me. I never asked, because I didn’t want to offend, but I’m honoured that she entrusted me with it. She is beautiful and courageous. I respect her immense strength. I joined Emerge because I wanted to see stories like hers in this world–stories that say ‘There is still hope.’ Help us write create stories like this one by making a contribution today. GIVE NOW: There are 2 ways to make this contribution: (1) Mail us a check payable to “Emerge Global”: Emerge Global P.O. Box 390897 Cambridge, MA 02139 (This is our preferred method.) (2) Donate online here via JustGive.org. YOUR IMPACT Every contribution, no matter what size, makes a difference.
$10 can provide two girls with our “Beads-to-Business” workbook, which guides them through the process of planning their own businesses, ultimately unrelated to jewelry.
$20 can provide the girls with an inspirational outside life skills speaker to teach them about money management, maintaining healthy relationships, job searching, or other critical skills.
$60 can support a former participant in serving as a Peer Educator for 8 workshops, where she can provide additional support to our current participants and relay her own personal journey of transitioning from the home.
$300 can sponsor a girl for the year, providing the approximate cost of running the program for one participant. We still have many girls without sponsors. Instructions are available here.
$500 can pay for a month’s supply of beading materials for a home of 20 girls, helping to generate $1900 in savings.
$1,000 can sponsor our annual reunion, enabling former participants to stay connected with one another and the Emerge team, understand the resources that Emerge can offer as they grow in their adult lives, provide insight and feedback on how our work can be improved, and develop new skills.