Emerge Global supports Sri Lankan girls, ages 10-18, who are housed in protective shelters due to sexual abuse or the threat of abuse and are courageously testifying in court against their perpetrators, who are often male family members. Through collaboration with these shelters, Emerge provides a comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes leadership, life skills, and business knowledge and helps each girl generate a financial foundation by creating and selling her own unique jewelry. Emerge sells jewelry created through the program in the U.S., Sri Lanka, and online, with 50% of the sale price going back to the girls who created the pieces.
Emerge Global’s ultimate goal is to empower a generation of young women who have survived abuse with the personal, social, and financial capital needed to support themselves and their children and to solve their own community's most pressing problems.
Founded in 2008 by Alia Whitney-Johnson (a student at MIT at the time), Emerge Global is largely run by a dedicated team of volunteers based in the U.S. and Sri Lanka.
Emerge operates three programs:
1) Beads-to-Business: The girls learn to make high quality jewelry and use this skill as the foundation for practicing setting up and managing their own small businesses. The curriculum tackles concepts such as budgeting, inventory management, product development, marketing, branding, and financing.
2) Life Skills: Through a weekly workshop series, girls learn about:
· Goals and future planning
· Health (including reproductive health)
· Money management
· Finding safe work
· Community development
3) Mentorship: Each girl has a peer mentor who helps her navigate the curriculum. Former participants return as “Peer Educators” to relay their own personal transition into society and to help teach various workshops. Emerge also runs an adult mentorship program to support girls in planning for their adult lives.