Ezhuvaal Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Everyone likes to talk about impact. What their support did—and what kind of lasting results they generated. Sure, you can count the new people hired and say you did something.

But here’s a wonderful story that highlights the nuances of how impact actually plays out. And how transforming a culture is a process that involves what you can never imagine from the outside.

Let’s look at girls’ education in Sri Lanka. Specifically at a school called Ezhuvaal. In this particular region of Sri Lanka, there have been decades of conflict, civil war, economic crisis. Girls grow up here ready to leave their homes in the middle of the night, forfeit their belongings at a moment’s notice, and let go of people they love.

It’s generally believed that having personal goals and dreams is not an option.

So much so, that girls entering Ezhuvaal’s college prep curriculum don’t know how to imagine the possibilities for their own future or see themselves living as anything other than the narrow roles that their mothers and aunts have lived.

Because of this, Ezhuvaal spends the first couple of months of each program year making sense of the trauma of war, and doing the spiritual and emotional rebuilding that gives their students a language to talk about their experiences.

They guide students step-by-step on how to create dreams of their own and encourage them to think past the lives and roles they’ve seen.

And what they are finding at Ezhuvaal is that after calming the adrenal systems of these young women and supporting them personally and positively, the students have much more success in the educational realms. As an approach to wholistic, future-thinking education, Ezhuvaal has tremendous success rates.

These young girls pass their college entrance exams and get college scholarships. Students then move to India or Bangladesh to attend college, armed with the coping skills and a sense of themselves and their capabilities to motivate them to continue.

Each year, 15 to 25 young women return to their villages with university degrees, the ability to seek out leadership roles and the inner guidance of their true aspirations and dreams. They know how to lead by example. And this is how generational change is created.

Because the girls who grow up in these villages will see a new kind of Sri Lankan woman. And that is the first spark of new future for every young Sri Lankan—what they see and who they know.

Move92 has been funding Ezhuvaal for 4 years now, and we’ve brought on a corporate grantmaker who has been funding them for 2 years. Year after year, Ezhuvaal is creating incremental change that will lead to monumental change. You can see it.

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Ezhuvaal Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
15/11/2023