Emerge Global Update and Brochure
Dear Universal Awakening Community,
I am writing to you with the hope that you will become a part of the Emerge story, a story that has become a part of me I never knew I could live without. Two and a half years ago, on a Tsunami-relief trip to Sri Lanka, I witnessed a reality I was not equipped to handle... a reality where young women age 10-18 were cast out of their own families, denied the right to formal education, and locked away for their own protection due to pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. I founded the Emerge Bead Program as a way to provide the tools these girls needed to become confident, respected, self-reliant members of society. Over the past two years, the program has enabled more than 40 girls to express themselves creatively while generating money for their futures.
In many ways the story of Emerge is just that, a story. It is not the story of me, but it is a story I have shaped and a story I tell. I am not Sri Lankan and I am not a young mother. The story, in fact, has grown far beyond me, though it remains rooted my belief in the fundamental value of all human beings: the belief that they should have options in their lives, including the opportunity to pursue something they find meaningful and the ability to passionately work to create a beautiful future. It also stems from my belief in community, which I see as a foundation on which all people thrive and grow, benefiting from the synergistic power of connection.
Beading brings these girls together and does so much more. I have seen this simple exercise give a voice to girls who have been literally silent for months. I have witnessed the program provide an individual set of communication and financial skills that will support these girls in their future communities. I have watched it plant the seeds of self-respect and human worth in the women of Sri Lanka. It is, I have found, so much more than a story.
The story begins with an idle thought in a post-Tsunami volunteering trip, and it is far from over. While in many ways it is the product of incredible serendipity, it is ultimately the result of the powerful definition of fundamental human needs instilled within me by my parents. The telling of this story has enabled Emerge to become what it is today: a nonprofit organization with a name, a talented team of students, a logo and a clear mission. In the telling, this story has become a reality.
This January, the Emerge story is growing, as three of us head to Sri Lanka to make the Emerge Bead Program sustainable as well as to investigate the next steps for impact, growth, and longevity. A summary of our goals for the trip follows this letter and details of Emerge can be found in our brochure.
I ask you to take part in this story, this future, where each of these persevering young women will have the tools and capacity to emerge into her own. Emerge is a program of Universal Awakening and therefore all gifts are tax-deductible and will be counted towards the 2007 tax year if made before January 2008. Together, the Emerge story will continue to grow.
Alia Whitney-Johnson, Director Emerge Global