I was so excited when Alia informed that we could plan a reunion with the participants who Emerge had worked with during the past few years. She wanted me to organize it and I was so pleased that I would see most of the girls together again; nothing makes me happier than to spend time and be with the girls.
I phoned many different hotels to get the best bargain to find a suitable place and I was happy to find a lovely guest house in Negombo that fit our budget well.
The reunion was planned during my birthday weekend and the celebrations were awesome. The girls sang the happy birthday song and Rachael and I cut the cake as it was her birthday too. Many gifts were exchanged and I fed the cake to everyone present as it is tradition in Sri Lanka.
I was delighted that our very first Country Director, Ellen, surprised me and made it to Sri Lanka all the way from the US to be present at the reunion and the celebrations.
Bryanne our new Country Director along with Iro and myself had planned the 2 day programme. We had many useful games that incorporated self awareness, personal disclosure, openness, perspective taking, healthy/unhealthy relationships, future plans, budgeting/finances and many team building games which helped the girls relax and bond with each other. By playing these games the girls learnt a lot, including how to face situations in their personal lives, how to make decisions in future and how they should save and spend their money wisely.
We had breaks in between the games where the girls had time to stroll on the beach and have a session of teaching each other new dances; they taught Bryanne, who is an exuberant dancer herself.
What the girls enjoyed the most was that they united once again and they could bring their babies to the reunion. They loved the food, the games, and they were able to be open up to each other and us, the Emerge team.
As I spent with the girls, I learnt that the whole Emerge experience transcends the workshops, their budgeting, savings and taking care of their babies into their everyday life once they have left the facility.
Before we parted I reassured to the girls that we would be always there for them at any given time and they could count on me and the Emerge team when they need us.