Cambodia Programme Updates
Two girls were admitted to Hagar and began to receive counselling this month.·
Hagar house mothers were taken out for a day of fun and relaxation together. They expressed that they felt respected and valued this Mother’s Day by the expressions of love that were shown to them by Hagar managers and leadership.
One Hagar client, an asylum seeker, was finally given official refugee status by the Refugee Office of the Cambodian Government, after three long years of waiting.
3 children reintegrated into kinship care or families of origin
17 CLC clients began attending music classes conducted by the creative arts team twice every week
Clients participated in a Legal and Protection orientation to prevent criminal activities, fighting and conflicts
158 Follow-up visits to Hagar clients were conducted by the case management team
My name is Rany. I am sixteen years old. I am originally from Prey Veng province, but for most of my childhood I have lived in Phnom Penh city. I remember many things from when I was young. My life was very difficult and the memories are hard to forget. My father never allowed me to go to school. He forced my sister and me to beg for money at the Russian market while he spent most of his time drinking alcohol. Luckily, Hagar found us. They gave us a safe place to live and the chance to receive education. Life at Hagar was easy and I was able to study very well. I even went on a trip to the beach with other kids. I had never experienced life like this before. I was eventually transferred to live in a community in Takeo province with a foster family. My father has continued to look for me, so it is important for me to live in a separate community until I grow up and can live independently by myself. At first, I didn’t want to come here to the foster family. I didn’t have any friends here. I used to cry while I was all alone. I am trying to fit in with my foster family and I always help out with housework after school time. Over time, I have started to feel at home in the community. My foster parents usually encouraged me to continue studying until I finish my education. They care for me, and when I was sick, they looked after me. My neighbors are also good to me. Even though they know about my background, they don’t lookdown on me. They have shown me sympathy. I am in grade 10 now, and I have my own goals. I want to study tourism and be a tour-guide. I especially hope to work with tours from Korea, and to know the Korean language. Every day, I wish for time to fly by so that I can graduate from high school, go back to Phnom Penh and pursue my goals. I have always encouraged myself by remembering that every person has their own value. I believe that as long as I pursue higher education, nobody can look down on me. Now I know that I can make my own good choices for my future. I believe in God because He has raised my up. Now, I feel like I am a beautiful lotus that has grown out of the mud.
* 33 counselling sessions conducted with clients
Linh’s Story – “I am no longer alone”
Linh, 32, was introduced to Hagar in December 2013. She came to us with a two-year-old baby who had a congenitalheart disease. Linh had nothing and no one to call for help.
Linh had been adopted by a farming couple at a very young age. Her life totally changed when her adoptive motherpassed away. Depressed following his wife’s death, Linh’s adoptive father did not care about anything in his life,not even Linh. He neglected her and treated her badly. Finally, Linh ran away and became homeless at the age of15. With no job, no money and no education, she had to struggle every day to manage her own life.
“Poverty was not scary. What made me obsessive was loneliness. I was dreaming of a complete and happy familyevery night. I do not even know my biological parents. Who are they? Where are they living? How have they beendoing? Do they still remember me?” Linh asks these questions over and over again, in tears.
With a strong desire to have a family of her own, Linh decided to share life with a young man she loved. Shebelieved he could bring a safe life for her with love and care even though he did not have a stable job. They starteda new life without a marriage certificate.
Linh was extremely happy when she gave birth to a daughter two years ago. However, the baby was diagnosedwith congenital heart disease and her boyfriend became violent and alcohol-addicted. He could not control hisanger when he heard his daughter crying in pain. Day by day, Linh desperately suffered from his violent abuse.Once again, she chose to run away from her offender, taking her daughter to search for help. Fortunately, she wasintroduced to Hagar in those darkest days of her life.
After an initial assessment, it was clear that Linh’s greatest need was to secure enough money for her baby’s heartsurgery. Hagar cooperated with East Meets West and a group of individual sponsors to make her dream thissurgery come true. With the baby’s medical needs met, Hagar brought Linh for a health check-up, and she learnedthat she had a tumor in her neck which required surgery. This unexpected news frightened Linh. She hesitated toaddress her own medical issues because she was worried that her daughter’s medical needs were more important;however, after receiving counseling services, Linh made the decision to receive treatment. Both Linh’s and herdaughter’ surgeries were successful.
“If we had not been supported by Hagar and other organizations and individuals, my daughter and I would havenot been able to overcome darkness. We would have been living on the streets without hope for the future. Now, Iwill take care of my daughter and work hard to bring a good life for my child. At least, it will be better than mine”,Linh shared.
Hagar’s next step is to provide legal support to Linh, including working with her to obtain an ID card and her familyrecords so that she can become an official citizen before she celebrates her 33rd birthday, enabling her to accesssocial services and build a stable life.
Linh is also receiving counseling services on career orientation so that she can begin working as soon as possible.She shows excitement at learning to be a hair-dresser. Hagar is confident that Linh will take advantage of theservices provided and turn over a new leaf in her and her daughter’s future life together.
* Hagar Vietnam expanded its reach and initiated partnerships with three new Northern provinces. In collaboration with other organisations, significant progress was made in forming lasting relationships to support future projects
* The new Psychology Department held a two-day life skills training event focused on effective communication and self-defense in high-risk situations. Many clients from rural communities are still adapting to city life. Clients learned about the risks associated with living in Hanoi and shared that they felt more confident and safer, knowing how to protect themselves in their new environment.
28 Clients were served through the Economic empowerment program
4 clients continued to develop floral arrangement and entrepreneurial skills on international womens day
8 survivors of trafficking and domestic violence attended a 2 week counselling course
8 Clients learned job search and internview skills and toured 5 businesses
Despite being 17 years old, Mai is currently the main source of income for her family. When she graduated from her vocational cooking programme, Mai hesitated to enter into an internship programme with the Golden Apple in Hanoi. Instead, she considered passing on the opportunity to return home and assist her parents.
“If I get this job, I could pursue my dream to become a good cook, but would not be able to support my family for sixmonths. If I return home and work as a farmer, I could bring some money to my parents, but that also means I would lose this precious chance. What should I do?”
After multiple sessions with her case manager focused on identifying and evaluating the disadvantages and advantages associated with both options (and with some encouragement from her family), Mai decided to take the internship. It has been almost twomonths since Mai started working in the kitchen of the Hilton Opera Hotel, and she is thriving. She is happy and more confident—her face is noticeably brighter. Mai has transformed from a shy little girl to a confident young woman!
“I love my job and get excited going to work every day. I am thankful for my friendly supervisor and colleagues. I have learned a lot of useful and positive things that the vocational center could not give me ,”she shared.
Recently, the Human Resources Director of the Hilton Hotel offered Mai a full-time position upon completion of her internship. This news boosted Mai’s confidence and has motivated her to continue reaching for her dreams.