Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Emerge Helps Abused Girls One Bead at a Time

I really like to give credit where credit is due, so from time to time, I'll spotlight companies, nonprofits in particular, who I believe are changing the world and impacting lives. Emerge just happens to be one of those companies.

The Emerge Story

What girl doesn’t love beads, bangles and things that sparkle? I had not heard of Emerge until today when I visitied Boston University’s Web site (checking out the school for my soon-to-graduate from high school 17 yr. old daughter). Seems as though MIT grad Alia Whitney-Johnson got a revelation when she traveled to Sri Lanka as a tsunami-relief volunteer, sponsored by a fellowship from the MIT Public Service Center. With her eyes wide open, she discovered a startling reality: Young girls, as young as 11 years old were pregnant due to rape and incest. Disowned by theif families and denied the right to formal education, these girls were imprisioned for theif own protection.

Whitney-Johnson, a die hard beader from a young age, had an idea. She started Emerge, which according to the Web site, “allows young Sri Lankan women who have survived sexual abuse, marginalizing disabilities, or long-term institutionalization to develop and celebrate their sense of inner-beauty and self-worth, build a community of acceptance, and lay a financial foundation for the future through creating and selling their own unique jewelry.

Emerge provides each woman with her own box of beads and tools to take care of, pictorial guides for creating jewelry, and a goals notebook in which she sets and assesses her own goals every two weeks. Through this notebook she develops ownership of her own ideas. She also keeps a record of her work through a personal portfolio that tracks the beauty of her accomplishments, and the development of her artistry.”

How cool is that! Support Emerge.