When girls join our shelter, they do so because they have no place left to turn.
Theavy expresses it well--after her home was broken apart by violence, her father brought her to Thailand. Living on the street, they were caught by immigration officers and returned to Cambodia. Tracking down her mother she found that her other parent was living on the streets too. ‘I felt so lost and so unsafe’ she recalls. An NGO referred her to Hagar; at first she was afraid and found it hard to trust anyone at the shelter.
‘But little by little, I realized that housemothers and counselors really cared for me- especially when I got sick and they stayed with me day and night.’
Despite the healing and love Theavy has experienced, where she wants to be is back with her family. This is Hagar’s desire too; from the moment a girl joins us, our case workers are out first finding and then meeting with the family and community that girl came from, assessing whether it is a safe place for her to return and how we can support that process. We support in different ways – sometimes through helping find or improve housing, sometimes through providing some ideas and training around income earning opportunities – and through counseling not only with the girls but with their families too.
So while we have reached more than 200 girls through our work, the impact is even broader than this; reaching over a thousand direct family members as well as others in the communities we visit and engage with.
Theavy is not back with her family yet, although she is in touch with them. She is studying hard and wants to be really successful in her education. Her dream for the future is exciting and humbling ‘I want to become a teacher
and help my parents so that they don’t have to beg on the streets anymore.’ The road home will be a difficult one, but Hagar is committed to walking this road with her. Each time someone is ready to rejoin their family or
community it is a deep moment of success for them; so far this year we have celebrated with 8 girls who have taken this step. Please help us to continue walking this long but immensely valuable road by supporting our work on Global giving.