Mumtaz Faleel, National Coordinator
Emerge Lanka Foundation
On Monday, 7 October, 2013, the U.S. Ambassador coordinated a special tour of the American Centre for 13 of our past participants and their children. The centre staff and several of the Embassy staff organized activities for them in celebration of International Children’s Day. Ambassador Sison also joined the programme and was able to get to know the participants.
First Dawn, the Officer for Cultural affairs welcomed all the girls and spoke a bit about their initiatives on women’s empowerment in the country. Then she extended membership for all the girls to visit the centre and bring their family, and for all of them to participate in weekly activities conducted at the centre. She further emphasized that they invited the girls because they believed that communities can benefit more and can be improved when girls and women are empowered, and that she has a lot of hope and belief that all the girls present will change their communities and become strong leaders, and wished them all the best in everything. Finally she thanked everyone for coming and introduced the volunteer who was going to conduct the next session.
Them. a volunteer hosted a session where the girls were asked to reflect about their experiences — something about the day, something they saw, or felt, emotions or about their life or family. Both pens and colour pencils were used to conduct the activity so whoever wanted could either write or draw about it. The girls wrote about many things and one girl wrote a beautiful poem.
The Ambassador first spent time with the children in the children’s corner. She had got gifts for all the kids and they started playing with her.
Then the Ambassador joined the girls and asked questions about their new lives and future goals. Some of the girls remembered her coming to the shelter last year for International Day of the Girl Child and she too remembered them very well. She was amazed at their transformation and was really pleased that they are getting on with their lives and are happy now.
Juliana, the press officer made a special cake with Emerge Lanka written on top. Four of the girls and the Ambassador to cut the cake and finished the day’s activities. One girl spoke and thanked everyone at the centre, the embassy and Emerge for organizing this event.