Two Girls Playing on Hagar's Playground
Arriving at the Shelter
When a girl comes to Hagar’s Shelter for girls, they are often traumatized and terrified. Many have been conditioned by their traffickers not to trust organizations like ours. Others are still traumatized by their rescue.
The girls arrive at our shelter accompanied by Hagar case manager and a counselor. The girl is shown her room, the playground (pictured above), and her daily schedule is described. She is introduced to her house mother. To create as close to normal living situation as possible, the children’s shelters have house mothers, who act as primary caregivers for five to six girls each.
Sometimes, with serious trauma or very young girls, the housemothers have to help a girl get dressed, wash herself, brush her teeth and wash her clothes. Some clients have never done these things or are so traumatized they cannot. In this case the housemother will help the girl until she is able to do it on her own.
The First Day of School
The first two to three days the girl is not expected to attend school, even though it is right next to the shelter. She decides when she feels ready. In the meantime, she may relax, help her housemother around the house, and join in activities with the other girls.
When she does decide to go to school the housemother will go with her the first day and stay all day with her. This helps each girl adjust to being at school and demonstrates that she is not alone. When she’s ready, the housemother will stop going to school with her.
Soon, the girl will begin following the same routine as the other girls in the shelter, who also attend school. She’ll share responsibilities with them, like cleaning after dinner and keeping her room tidy. Meeting other girls that have experienced similar abuse and making friends will help her heal. Counseling sessions will help her heal. And the love of a housemother will help her heal. We know that through your support, she’ll become a strong and confident young woman.