Yesterday I gave my first Emerge presentation in Sri Lanka, at the UNDP office in Colombo. I was a little bit nervous for two reasons. For one, I hadn’t given a presentation about Emerge since the fundraiser in West Lafayette, so I felt a bit rusty. But the main reason was I had never presented to a group of Sri Lankans. Usually when I speak, I have to explain where Sri Lanka is, and don’t go into intimate details about the organizations we partner with or where we’re located inside Sri Lanka. At UNDP, it was the exact opposite. In addition, the issues that the girls we work with face are not just personal, but also cultural and societal in nature. I was extra conscious of framing the work we do not as a critique but as a way to address a problem that women all over the world are living and perservering through.
Afterwards, I displayed some of the girl’s most recent creations, and everyone crowded around the table to look at the jewelry. From this sale and from my time at Gandhara, I’ve come to realize that Sri Lankans really don’t like the ribbon necklaces – an interesting observation. But they find the long chain necklaces very appealing, and I sold several of the latter.
Out of this presentation, I received the contact information of individuals at other NGOs, as well as an endorsement to take Emerge Global to the main UN compound in Colombo and showcase our programs there. It’s my philosophy that if you continue to talk about your work and your passion, good things will happen. Someone that you speak to will think of a friend whose cousin’s sister is in the bead sourcing business … and the great thing about running a small organization like Emerge is that you never know who that person is going to be. So you keep putting yourself out there day after day, knowing that eventually things will fall into place. This presentation was one of those baby steps on the path to Emerge’s long-term growth and success.