Emerge Global

Emerge teaches girls life and business skills
and, as an application of these skills, enables
these girls to create and sell their
own jewelry.

Emerge Global works with girls in Sri Lanka, ages 10-18, who are survivors of sexual abuse and are courageously testifying in court against their perpetrators. Emerge equips these young women with the skills they need to live self-sufficient lives and make the changes they are passionate about in their own communities.

What inspired you to get involved with this work?
When doing tsunami relief work in Sri Lanka through a PSC fellowship, I met a group of 18 young mothers who had survived rape. I will never forget the sinking feeling in my stomach as I watched an 11-year-old nursing her son, conceived by her own father. But I was also inspired by her strength to tell her story in order to protect her little sisters. From the moment I met these young women, I knew I wanted to get to know them better.

How did the PSC play a role in your work?
The PSC provided me with several fellowships while I was developing Emerge. They also helped me develop the capacity to do my own fundraising and begin to grow Emerge on my own.

What impact have you achieved with the girls that you serve?
Emerge has worked with more than 315 girls. Through our programs, girls have generated the capital, skills and networks needed to live healthy, self-sufficient lives. They have used their financial capital, earned by creating and selling their own jewelry, and skills to purchase land, build houses, start businesses, continue their education, support their children and more.

How has this work had a personal impact on you?
Through my work with the PSC and in developing Emerge, I found my life’s passion. These courageous young women have become my family and this work has given me the fuel and energy to do things I never imagined. I can easily say that I learned more from developing Emerge and working with these young women than I ever could have through a classroom.

Alia Whitney-Johnson '09
Founder & Executive Director
Emerge Global