Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Vietnam:
On the morning of April 11, I visited Hagar International’s office in Hanoi, Vietnam and was hosted by Kelly, Program Development Manager, and staff. The day started off with visiting Hagar’s main office and meeting staff. We sat down to discuss the staff’s backgrounds, current work, and challenges. I learned about the impact of Hagar, the spearheading of Hagar’s case management and social work within the field for future social workers, and goals for Hagar.
I asked the staff to share the most rewarding part of working at Hagar. One said working with the women, and when the survivor shares that it is the first time someone listens to her. Another said that Hagar is a place people can be and can cultivate themselves - where one can be authentic. Working there makes them feel proud - where each person feels like they are making a difference. Another staff member said being part of a learning organization. It’s not just about the numbers, but about each individual client.
Next we went to visit Joma Café, where Hagar survivors are able to receive on-the-job training in hospitality, and met some of the empowered women. I met with 2 women – one who had been with Hagar for about 1 year and half and another who was with Hagar for about 10 months. Let’s say their names are Sara and Mary (to protect their identities).
I asked them both why Joma and hospitality? Sara said she thought it was popular, easy to get a job and opportunity, and to meet people. Mary said she liked cooking. Before she cooked at the shelter and was good at it. I then asked if they would like to continue at Joma, and Mary said she hoped to work in her hometown to open a small business. Sara said she wanted to stay with Joma to increase experience and English. Finally, I asked if they weren’t with Hagar and Joma where would they be? Mary said it would have been difficult to find a job because she lacked skill sets. Sara said before she wasn’t able to learn life skills, vocational training, and not able to be recruited. It would have been way more challenging. Without support like this from Hagar, they don’t know where their future would be.
After, I asked if they had any questions for me, and both shrugged. Then Mary stopped, looked at me and said “I never thought I would have an opportunity like this. I want to thank GlobalGiving.”
Through protection, personal well-being, economic empowerment, and social capital women are able to not only survive trafficking but be empowered in their lives to move forward, create a positive and thriving life, and not be a victim.
Sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference.
Hien came to Hagar broken and neglected. Years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse from her family made her feel useless, unwanted, and lost. She always wanted to learn and make her family proud, but trauma and torment from her parents made succeeding seem impossible.
Hien has been with Hagar for 2 years, and has been an exceptional case. Personal development, intensive counseling, and the love and commitment of Hagar staff have helped her to face her past. Now she is thriving as an employee of JOMA Bakery. But that’s not the only reason her case is successful.
Hien loves to learn and educate others, and has always wanted to return to university to complete her degree. Hagar staff recognized this, and recently gave her an opportunity to become a teaching assistant for Hagar’s ESL program. Hien jumped at the opportunity, and has been thriving while working to improve her English as well as teach her peers.
“Her confidence has increased so much. She is so happy now that it shows in everything that she does," stated Hagar staff.
Hagar staff members continue to work with Hien developing her long-term career and personal goals, but they know that this small opportunity has made a huge impact. For so many women recovering from trauma, it’s a small opportunity – a new friendship – a kind word – that brings hope back into their lives.
All the small things help them feel whole again.
Hagar Vietnam has provided healing and recovery to survivors of trafficking and abuse. Here's a snapshot of what we've accomplished in two years:
However, Hagar Vietnam’s successes are not merely measured in statistics and numbers. The long-term model of care was developed so that the needs of each, individual person are considered, as many of Hagar Vietnam’s most successful women are the very individuals that have transcended the darkest and most traumatic of situations.
Thank you for your generosity and ongoing commitment to these women.
This week Hagar held an Alumni Follow-Up Training to provide support to women that have been reintegrated into the Hanoi Community. These women, who had been trafficked and abused, are now working full-time and supporting their children independently. Some of Hagar Vietnam's current clients also participated.
It was a special time for these women to reconnect with one another, share their successes and challenges personally and professionally, and have fun together. As you'll see from the pictures, they participated in group discussions, creative exercises, and reflected.
The 14 women that participated on Wednesday, July 3rd, said they would love to come back more often. Now, Hagar will be offering this training twice a month.
April has been an exciting month for Hagar Vietnam and Joma Bakery Café, Hagar’s enterprise partner. Twelve Hagar clients are excelling at their positions, after completing Hagar’s job readiness and vocational training. To celebrate the progress they’ve made, Joma Bakery Café increased their salaries and improved their benefits package.
Yen joined the employees and Hagar clients at Joma Bakery Café. This month, she graduated from Hoa Sua’s vocational training with baking and hospitality skills. She said:
“I feel happy and confident with my new position.”
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Hagar USA, Inc.