Emerge Global jewelry helps girls in Sri Lanka

Last updated: 12/05/12 11:21pm


If you’re stumped on what to get for your girlfriend, sister or mother or maybe just want to buy something for yourself, you could check out some one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry from the Emerge Global organization.

Emerge Global helps young girls in Sri Lanka, ages 10-18, who have suffered from abuse and have been put into shelters in many cases.
The organization partners up with these shelters and helps the girls learn and develop both business and life skills that will
help them support themselves in the future.

The jewelry is handmade by the girls in Sri Lanka and 50 percent of the selling price goes to the girl who created it.

Emerge Global had a Beads-to-Business jewelry sale in the Eastern Michigan University Student Center lobby just last month and was able to raise $675 in jewelry sales.

If you missed out on the chance to check out some of their jewelry then you can go visit them at emergeglobal.org, where you can also learn more about the organization and what they do.

Country director of Emerge Global in Sri Lanka and EMU alumni Amanda Van Dort organized the sale on campus.

Emerge Global works with sexually abused teenage girls who often become mothers due to rape or incest.

“They are often shunned by their families and are placed in shelters for the duration of their court cases and subsequently denied access to schooling,” Van Dort said. “As you can imagine, these girls are extremely vulnerable when they leave the shelter so the business and life skills they learn, as well as their capital from the jewelry, empowers them to re-define their circumstances.”

These Sri Lankan girls actually take a Beads-to-Business course through the organization that uses jewelry making as a learning device.

“The girls learn about marketing, cost evaluation, budgeting, logo development and more,” Van Dort said.

At the end of the program, the girls actually design their own business and Van Dort said they have had numerous participants who have graduated and done just that.

Van Dort believes students should be encouraged to purchase this jewelry to support the “courageous girls who are testifying in court against their offenders.”

Last year, four girls from Emerge Global purchased their own land and built houses with the money they made.

“The Emerge [Global] program is specific and tailored to our target population and extremely successful,” Van Dort said. “Even more important, we believe the girls go back to their communities and are initiators of change. The survivors will ultimately change Sri Lankan society. It’s powerful.”

Van Dort said, “Sexual violence is an important and real issue. It’s a privilege to be a part of the rehabilitation and empowerment process for these girls. I encourage all Eastern students to engage in social service, in whatever means they are able to.”

If you would like to purchase unique jewelry made by these young women, you can shop their online store at www.emergeglobal.org.

The jewelry is also sold in stores and craft fairs in Sri Lanka as well as on college campuses across the United States and Europe.

Not only is this cause a source of getting involved with a huge global issue and a great holiday gift idea, but it also displays just how much a fellow Eagle is making a difference in the world.

Published Dec 5, 2012 in Life

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