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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 partnerships 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 all revenue going back to the girls who created the pieces.

Emerge currently engages a past participant as a Peer Educator for two of our educational programs—Beads-to-Business and Life Skills—on a part-time basis. Not only is a Peer Educator an excellent teacher and well-respected by Emerge participants and staff, but she is also a model for how Emerge hopes to employ high-performing past participants as we expand as an organization.

Your donation will cover her salary for a quarter of a year: Rs 800 (~$8) per workshop, 5 workshops each week: 5*$8 * 4 = $160 per month.


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.

Founded in 2008 by Alia Whitney-Johnson (a student at MIT at the time), Emerge Global is largely run by a staff of volunteers based in the U.S. and Sri Lanka.


Past participants who return to work as Emerge Peer Educators in Beads-to-Business and Life Skills workshops share their experiences, advice, skills and resources with the youth currently living in the shelter. This cyclical model knowledge sharing facilitates the sustainability of Emerge programs.

To date, Emerge Global has worked with over 200 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, with the help of Peer Educators:

· Girls who entered our program too broken to speak are now comfortable sharing their ideas.
· Participants have expressed increased confidence and self-worth.
· Through their Community Fund, participants have collectively identified challenges and worked together to change them.
· Participants have learned important life skills such as CPR and first aid, discussed career options with local professionals, and learned about their health and rights.
· Girls have spent the money saved through Emerge on: building houses, running businesses, paying for medical bills, loaning money to family in emergencies, providing for their children and husbands, and paying for housing.

Only 16% of incoming participants say they are capable of making changes in the world and their community; after our program, 77% say this.

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, including: Sarvodaya and World Vision (in Sri Lanka), ACCESS Youth (Washington DC), and Project Akilah (Rwanda)
· Training in conflict management and non-violent communication
· Training in Reproductive Health by the International Youth Foundation
· Experience in curriculum development
· More than 15 years of jewelry design and marketing experience
· Bachelors and Masters degrees from Stanford, John’s Hopkins, MIT, and the University of Oxford

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.

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.


  • An update from Emerge

    Thank you all for supporting our first Peer Educator, Sithara. She’d joined Emerge 5 years ago at age 16. At the time, she was pregnant with her son, conceived through rape. After going through Emerge’s program, Sithara grew into a strong, beautiful, and empowered woman. She’d decided to return to Emerge and help other girls the same way Emerge helped her. Her experiences make her a close confidante and role model for the girls in the Emerge program. See below for some thoughts from Sithara herself: Lessons Learned After 3 Years With Emerge By: Sithara Pathirana Emerge Lanka Foundation Peer Educator “An unexpected event changed my life one day. My fate was changed in a way that I never thought it would. It left me at my lowest, heartbroken and lonely. At that time, when I was without any help, feeling sad, it was the beading workshop that helped ease my pain and loneliness. It helped me make up my mind and console myself. The satisfaction I feel in combining beautiful colors, design...