Hagar USA, which supports the work of Hagar International

Hagar does whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to restore broken lives.
May 12, 2015

First Quarter Update: 2015

Women like Linh find hope at Hagar
Women like Linh find hope at Hagar

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 painHe 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. 

 

Feb 4, 2015

2015 Update

“Hagar has been my second home. If it had not been for Hagar, my son would not have been born healthy and I would not have been able to start my life again”.  - Hong, 40-year-old survivor of domestic violence

“I’d been approaching many organizations before I reached out to Hagar because I couldn’t find any solution for my problems. Thanks to the introduction by the Child Helpline, I was able to come to you and together with your social worker, I’ve made my future plan. Hopefully together with your responsive support, my son and I can woke up after this nightmare.”  - Pham, 36-year-old survivor of domestic violence

Because of you!

  • New partnership and project approval from the Vietnamese Government! Hagar officially signed a new partnership with the Center for Counselling, Research and Empowering Community (CoRE), a local NGO with the mission of developing community through education and counselling programs, social work and other creative activities associated with indigenous culture. Through this partnership, Hagar aims to support CoRE with capacity building and together, implement Hagar’s Empowering Women for Life project, providing direct services to survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual exploitation in Vietnam.
  • New location for Hagar Recovery Centre. Hagar found a nice house with a large front yard in which to reopen its recovery centre. The home has four sleeping rooms for clients, including a family room for women who come with their children. All the rooms have been repainted, including one in purple as a tribute to dear, former CEO, Talmage Payne. We are now very excited to welcome our first clients in 2015.
  • Increase in number of referrals through local partners: A solid partnership with governmental organisations has always been key to NGO success in Vietnam and particularly for Hagar. The quality and holistic nature of Hagar’s services have made a good impression on beneficiaries and referral organisations which is demonstrated itself now in an increasing number of referrals. In December, four cases were to Hagar from local governmental organisations, including Women’s Union and Child Helpline of Vietnam.
Women training at JOMA Bakery
Women training at JOMA Bakery

Links:

Feb 4, 2015

2015 Update

Highlights

  • Cambodia was invited to provide training to over 3,000 Singapore police on how to recognize trafficking for labor and for sex.
  • The staff at Hagar Cambodia were able to work with the Ministry of Education to create sustainability for catch-up teachers.  They are now under the Ministry of Education, meaning they will continue to teach the most vulnerable and those who have been trafficked, but won't be paid for by Hagar anymore.
  • Hagar partnered with UNICEF for a study, the first study of its kind documenting the experiences of child victims in Cambodia’s courts and recommendations for developing a child-friendly system. More than 90 government officials, NGO partners and media representatives attended the launch event.

Key Research Findings and why your support is so important.

"The police extorted us, demanding money before they worked.

A System Just for Children highlights police treatment of child victims and witnesses. While children generally felt the police behaved ‘normally’ toward them, 10 respondents said they were treated disrespectfully or were mocked or ignored by the authorities. In 11% of cases, the child met the perpetrator at the police station and 20% of respondents reported paying money to police before the case moved forward.

 

The Courtroom Experience

The study found that the court process was rarely child friendly. Strangers were often present in the court room and in one instance, media representatives were in attendance during the trial. Children often had to sit through other cases, sometimes being exposed to violent crimes. No participant reported seeing or using a child-friendly waiting room.

“Being in the same room is too close. I was afraid immediately when I saw the perpetrator.”

Nearly every child interviewed found themselves exposed to the perpetrator on the way to or in the courtroom. In most cases the child was two or three meters from the perpetrator during the hearing and in some cases, even travelled to the court house in the same vehicle.

“I do not know what is happening in my case”

Many children were given little information about what was happening in their case and 10% of the children interviewed did not know clearly if their case was finished or not.  It was rare for children or their guardians to get copies of their statements or any other documentation relating to the case. 

 

Demeanour of Judges and Lawyers

While social service and legal aid staff largely agree that judges’ demeanour towards children in court has improved over the years, there is still room for improvement. The court environment remains frightening for children and in some cases, the judge asked inappropriate questions or laughed at the victim, particularly if the witness was an older girl or boy. Defence lawyers sometimes acted inappropriately, including trying to confuse, trick or intimidate child witnesses. Often, it was the child’s lawyer, not the judge, who requested such behaviour stop. 

“I am still fearful that the man’s relatives will take revenge on me for sending him to jail.”

The research demonstrates the safety concerns children and their representatives have after the trial. There were apprehensions about whether prison sentences would be served and when the perpetrator would appear in the community again. Court authorities provided no comment about this and there seemed to be no clear responsibilities for child victim or witness safety during or post-trial.

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