Thank you for giving to empower the lives of women. With this update, we want to share a little bit about Nga*, a survivor who has recently arrived at Hagar Vietnam. To protect her identity, we have changed her name.
By supporting these women, you have become a part of their story as they journey to recovery.
Nga, 16 years old, survivor of human trafficking, 1 month at Hagar
Nga is a new client who joined Hagar Vietnam in early August. She was trafficked to China last year when she was only 15. Due to the family’s poor economic situation, Nga’s mother wanted her to look for a job. An elderly woman living in the neighborhood approached Nga’s family and told Nga that she could work as a babysitter for the her daughter in China. Nga’s mother agreed to let her go with the woman’s son to China, hoping she could earn some money to support the family. However, as soon as Nga arrived in China she was sold to a brothel. The next 15 days were a horrible nightmare as she were sexually abused by many different men.
Nga tried desperately to contact her family back home. Nga’s parents finally received the shocking news and were able to contact police to rescue her. The 15 year-old girl returned home hopeless and afraid for her future. Nga became quiet, unmotivated, and depressed. She ate very little, slept a lot, and had almost no connection with others.
Through a referral by the Center for Communication and Counseling Services, Nga was introduced to Hagar Since then, she has received comprehensive services for recovery and empowerment including safe accommodation, health care, counseling, therapeutic art activities, and career orientation. Nga meets with her counselor every week to learn coping skills. Being very determined to be a hairdresser, Nga was recently selected to participate in a 9- month training course by L’Oreal. Nga has shown her excitement to start the very first step to build her own life in Hanoi. To support Nga to the fullest, her case manager visited her parents in her hometown, listened to their difficulties and explained about the services provided to Nga and urged them to encourage Nga to do her best.
Nga still has a very long way to go but we are so proud of her. If you’d like to continue the journey with survivors like Nga, here are a few suggestions:
Thank you again!
Meet Leakhena. Your support provided for girls like Leakhena to experience wholeness!
Leakhena was supported by Hagar Cambodia for 10 years and is now grown up and self-supporting. She has sharp eyes and says with a smile that she is not shy or afraid to share her story. She wishes to share her life – the life of a girl once abandoned now on the journey of recovery.
Today, is 22 years old. She is a single mother of a three year old daughter. She no longer needs help from Hagar because she has a good job and is able to earn a living for herself.
When Leakhena was three years old, her mother sold her to a family who wanted to adopt a young daughter. Leakhena never mixed well with the family and they eventually sent her to other family members in a different province. She never felt like a member of the family and they eventually brought her to Phnom Penh and abandoned her in front of Hagar. Hagar took her in.
Leakhena has walked a very long journey in Hagar for more than 10 years. She was supported by numerous projects during that time including the Community Learning Centre and Community Foster Care.
While reintegrated into the community, Leakhena became pregnant. She was brought to Hagar’s recovery shelter for follow up. She had the opportunity to attend several of training classes provided by Career Path way project, such as, art work, computer and soft skills.
In 2010, after delivering her baby girl, Leakhena got a chance to practice her skills by interning in Hagar Main Office as admin assistant. At first work was not easy because
everything was so new to her, and her knowledge was limited in terms of computer skills. However, over time she grew as she was trained.
Six months later she decided to pursue further schooling and Hagar placed her at World Essential Organisation as a part time admin assistant. Life was not easy for her as an employed student single mother. But she knew she had to be strong for her daughter and for the future.
“My daughter was my motivation. I do everything just for her. I feel like I am no longer alone, when I have her. I want to raise her up with a wholeness of life,” she said.
In the middle of 2013, she successfully completed high school. Then she upgraded to work full time at a job with Be Free Cambodia, a company which sells handmade souvenir products.
She is satisfied with her work because she can use her creativity as well as her knowledge to teach people who have similar backgrounds like her.
“Though I am not good at English, I am able to work smoothly with my foreigner boss, and he does like my work,” she said.
Nowadays, she earns a living wage that covers her house rental and food for their family.
Lost hope is not Leakhena’s choice; she is looking forward to see her daughter’s future, so she will never give up with any obstacle of life.
“When my daughter is bigger, I will continue my study to university, I want to sharpen my ability in order to fulfill my dream of working as a manager in a big company,” she said.
“To me, my future relationships depend on God. I listen to him, if he wants me to get married, I will, yet if he wants me to be alone, I will stay alone with my daughter forever.”
Last message from Leakhena is that, she encourages everyone, especially the people who were abused or abandoned like her, to not give up and be strong, because no one can help you better than yourself.
Meet Linh. Because of YOU Linh now has hope!
I wasn’t afraid of poverty. I didn’t know another way. What got me was the loneliness. Would my dream of a complete and happy family ever be reality?
When I was little, my mom passed away. She wasn’t my real mother—but my adopted one. I’ve never known my biological family. Afterwards, my adoptive father stopped caring about everything in his life—including me. I was neglected and treated badly so I ran away, becoming homeless at fifteen.
I fell in love with a guy I thought could turn things around for me. Although he didn’t have a job and we weren’t technically married, we were going to have a baby! We never expected our daughter to suffer from congenital heart disease. My boyfriend couldn’t handle the baby’s cries of pain. He turned to alcohol and violence. Again, taking it out on me.
I found Hagar in my darkest days.
When Linh came to Hagar, it was clear her greatest need was her baby’s heart surgery. Together Hagar, along with East Meets West and a group of individual sponsors, were able to provide the treatment. Hagar also took Linh to the hospital for a check-up where it was discovered she had a tumor in her neck which needed attention. At first, Linh was frightened and unsure of whether or not she’d be able to get help because of everything that had just been given to her for her daughter. However, Hagar’s counselors helped to calm Linh, and she underwent her own successful surgery.
Currently, Hagar is helping Linh secure an ID card—as well as her family record— so she can finally be an official Vietnamese citizen right as she celebrates her 33rd birthday. This will allow Linh to access the social services she needs to build a stable life. She’s also participating in a career orientation so she can start working. Linh can’t wait to be a hair dresser!
According to Linh, if Hagar hadn’t been there to help her overcome her darkness, she’d still be living on the streets. Now she’s able to work hard to provide a good life for her child—one in which, unlike Linh, she’ll always know her mommy.