The new Emerge Bead Program curriculum is divided into five self-paced stages during which each girl takes ownership of her own progression and participates in life skills workshops and community discussions. Most of the curriculum is picture-based, allowing girls of all literacy levels to take part. The final stage, which focuses on teaching the foundations of business, however, includes more written programming. We are in the process of translating our new curriculum into Sinhala so that we can pilot it with more girls and get more feedback.
The five stages are outlined below: 1) Introduces the program and familiarizes girls with materials and jewelry-making techniques. Each girl receives a mentor for the duration of the program.2) Incorporates learning jewelry patterns and basic math skills. This is the basis of learning transferable life skills. 3) Focuses on business skills and goal setting. Each girl learns to budget by working with the Emerge Bead Store and Bank to manage her finances. 4) Emphasizes leadership and responsibility. Each girl becomes a mentor to another and also applies her skills by managing the Emerge Bead Store and Bank. 5) Inspires independence, creative design, and entrepreneurship. Each girl creates her own jewelry designs and builds a foundation for launching her own business. Throughout the program, girls will now tackle concepts like product development, marketing, and financial planning and then build off of this knowledge to plan her own business, which does not need to be related to handmade jewelry. Through the curriculum, the girls learn how to run their own small businesses, essentially becoming mini-entrepreneurs.