Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 23 November 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Chatrini Weeratunge

‘Life as Art’ an exhibition of photographs

‘Life as Art’, an exhibition and sale of photographs by Chatrini Weeratunge in aid of Emerge Lanka Foundation to support girl children who have survived sexual abuse, will be held at the Barefoot Gallery from November 28-30. Weeratunge, a photographer specialising in art, travel and humanitarian photography. Currently a scholar at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, she sees photography as an art and a tool to promote awareness of various social issues.

Her photography complements her career as a development specialist.

‘Life as Art’ will showcase a collection of photographs by Weeratunge that capture the intrinsic beauty of the world around her highlighted through the subtleties of light and colour. These images offer an insight into the lives of those she photographs, placing particular emphasis on movement and style.

The photographs will be available for sale with all proceeds set to go towards Emerge Lanka Foundation's Reintegration Program for young survivors of sexual abuse.

Emerge Lanka Foundation is a charitable organisation that works with girls 10-18 years who have survived sexual abuse and are placed in shelters for their protection as they are testifying in court against their abusers.

The Emerge program includes Life Skills, Mentorship and its unique Beads-to-Business curriculum, which teaches girls to make high quality jewellery as well as the entrepreneurial and financial skills enabling them to become independent women as well as leaders of their communities.

Each unique piece of jewellery is sold in the United States, Sri Lanka - Barefoot, Buddhi Batiks, Selyn, Whatever Studio, Cozy Linen, White Walk and Cantaloupe Aqua – and online.

One-hundred percent of the profits are deposited into the girls’ individual savings accounts, which they can use as adults to take care of themselves, and in some cases, their children.

Charuni Ranchigoda, Reintegration Officer at Emerge Lanka said, “Our reintegration program is designed to provide support for the girls after they have left the shelter for a new start on life in the outside world.

As part of the reintegration program, Emerge aims to establish an empowerment centre designed to increase employability of the girls as well as support them in the crucial three month period after leaving shelters.

In the frame of a halfway house, the girls are enrolled in curricula that increase their employability as well as connected with resources such as educational and vocational training and business opportunities while providing them with emotional support as well as food and lodging. Emerge Lanka also actively assists them to find jobs and or get further education.”

Emerge continues to keep track of the girls even after they have left the nest. However, the staff is always available to offer advice, assistance or just talk and meet the girls to make sure they are doing well, culminating in an annual reunion.


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