Elsewhere online
April 24, 2008

MIT Student Organizes Jewelry-Making Charity for Sri Lanka

A student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has turned her own jewelry-making pastime into a means of psychological and economic support for abused Sri Lankan girls and other needy people, founding “a nonprofit group called Emerge, reports The Boston Globe.

Alia Whitney-Johnson, on a tsunami-relief trip in Sri Lanka, visited a shelter for very young mothers — girls who had been raped, often by their own fathers.

“Working with the victims of the tsunami was very different,” says Ms. Whitney-Johnson. “They had lost their homes and material things, but people pulled together. Here there was no sense of community. No one talked to each other.”

Ms. Whitney-Johnson, who brought beads and other supplies to make jewelry, found that the girls responded positively to the activity, becoming more animated and gaining a feeling of greater control of their lives.

Now she aims to raise $500,000 for a women’s cooperative center and has opened bank accounts for the participants.

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