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The Emerge Beads-to-Business program teaches girls business and math skills using jewelry as a therapeutic and practical teaching tool. Girls work through a self-paced workbook that tackles concepts such as budgeting, inventory management, product development, marketing, branding, and financing.

Jewelry created in the program is sold in Sri Lanka and abroad through avenues that raise awareness about the cause and allow the purchaser to be a part of a young woman’s rehabilitation. 50% of Emerge Global’s jewelry selling price goes directly into the designer’s savings account, which she may access at the age of 18. Out of the remaining 50%, $0.25 per product goes to a “Community Fund” that the girls direct and the rest covers the cost of goods sold, so that Emerge can support the healing of more survivors.

Emerge utilizes a self-paced business workbook to accommodate girls from a variety of educational backgrounds. Each week, girls participate in an “Emerge Store” and “Emerge Bank” simulation, where they learn the basics of banking, budgeting, and strategic planning.


In Sri Lanka, teenage girls who are the survivors of rape, incest, or abuse are removed from their families and placed in safe houses, often for years, as they testify in court. Separated from society, education and traditional support networks, these young women face the challenges of overcoming past trauma, confronting societal stigma, and integrating into society after years of living in an institution. Many of these girls also face the task of raising a child, despite the fact that they are teenagers themselves.

Emerge equips these young women with the tools they need to lead healthy, self-sufficient lives. Its ultimate goal is to empower a generation of young women who have survived abuse to support themselves and their children and gain the personal, social, and financial capital to solve their own community's most pressing problems.

While an American engineering student launched Emerge’s programs in 2005, Emerge Global is now run by a phenomenal and compassionate local team in Sri Lanka and all support in the US comes from volunteers.


To date, Emerge Global has worked with over 400 young women. Every $1 invested into a girl’s materials helps her generate more than $3.80 in savings. Some girls have made more than $1,800 per year in savings and the therapeutic and educational impact is even more important:
- Girls who entered our program too broken to speak are now comfortable sharing their ideas.
- Girls have learned to do basic math, plan a business, and present their ideas
- Participants have expressed increased confidence and self-worth.
- Through their Community Fund, participants have collectively identified challenges in the homes and communities in which they live and worked together to change them.
- Girls have spent the money saved through the Emerge Beads-to-Business program on: building houses, starting and running businesses, furthering their education, paying for medical bills, providing for their children, and paying for housing.

Emerge’s work has been recognized in Sri Lanka and abroad on Good Morning Sri Lanka, TIME Asia, the Boston Globe and in Glamour Magazine. Additionally, its efforts and success have been recognized through the current US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and former Miss Sri Lanka.

Team Credentials

Emerge has a team of committed and qualified staff who will implement this project. Staff credentials include:
- Former experience working with children and in the education sector through a number of NGOs and non-profits in Sri Lanka, including: Sarvodaya, World Vision, Family Rehabilitation Centre, Foundation for Co-existence, and Plan Sri Lanka
- Consulting experience with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank
- Training in Reproductive Health by the International Youth Foundation
- Experience in curriculum development
- More than 15 years of jewelry design and marketing experience
- Diplomas in Human Rights with a focus on Child Rights, Conflict Resolution, and International Development
- Current Country Manager was recently nominated and accepted into the International Leadership Visitor Programme by the US Embassy in Sri Lanka

Emerge personnel have also won a number of awards including: a Rhodes Scholarship, a Truman Scholarship, and Glamour’s Top Ten College Women. Our Founder was one of twenty social entrepreneurs globally to be a YouthActionNet Global Fellow in 2009 and one of 14 to be a Sauvé Scholar, which supports young leaders in developing their work.

In 2010, Emerge was recognized as Boston’s Small Charity of the Year by the CLASSY Awards. Emerge’s programs have been featured on Good Morning Sri Lanka as well as in Glamour Magazine, the Boston Globe, and the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka. In 2013, Emerge was the featured case study in the book Do Good Well, an Amazon best-seller with reviews from experts such as Nicholas Kristof and Muhammad Yunus. The book featured Emerge as successfully putting the Do Good Well method into action.