2017 held many milestones for HAGAR. It was a year of adventure and at some point, a roller-coaster ride as we navigated a struggling economy and an increasingly unpredictable global landscape.
However, the year ended in jubilee, delivering all of our commitments to the beneficiaries that we care for in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam. None of these would have been possible if without the labour and partnership of many volunteers, donors, partners, and supporters!
The faces of our volunteers shone in particular as we reflected on the year’s events. They gave of their time, skills, network and financial resources, that has enabled the achievements and progress in this work. Each of them brought much colour with their different personalities and talents, strengthening the Singapore team and making the work a sheer delight.
Take a look at these significant moments in 2017 which many volunteers, donors and partners have created:-
- Fundraising events and campaigns championed by individuals. Tapping their personal and social network of business clients, friends and families, read about their bold and caring exploits through an intimate and moving wine event and the Run for Freedom marathon in Siem Reap by 15 Singapore runners.
Targeted at raising greater awareness of human trafficking, its deceptive tactics employed by criminal syndicates and ways to identify victims in Singapore, the inaugural emPOWER campaign was successfully launched across various social media platforms. The entire campaign was strongly supported by the team of creative talents from Blak Labs who worked pro bono. Results from the campaign was heartening; we saw a huge spike in public attention around these issues and many pledged their support in various forms.
A group of 18 supporters, donors and volunteers from Singapore brought immense joy to our beneficiaries in Hanoi during their visit over four days in May. It was the first of such experiences for many of them. There, they witnessed the plight of victims of trafficking and violence in Vietnam and shared love and encouragement with the recovering women and children in the HAGAR shelter through games, music and a culinary exchange.
Close to $150,000 was raised through the HAGAR Charity Golf Tournament 2017 despite a sluggish economy at the start of the year. The initial grey skies and thunderstorm on the event day could not stop 140 golfers from turning up to express their support!
More than 200 students at the HAGAR Community Learning Centre and our community clients in Cambodia had the rare chance of a health screening conducted by a team of Singapore medical doctors, healthcare professionals and passionate volunteers. Bringing love and their skills, our kids went through height and weight checks, hearing tests, visual tests, general well-being checks, dental checks, and finally hygiene education. The health checks revealed several medical conditions and coordination of treatment plans is currently underway.
Armed with a mission and a heart to serve the underprivileged, 15 adults and eight children from Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church spent six days in Cambodia working on a vegetable plantation in the HAGAR Community Learning Centre so that the kids can enjoy nutritious vegetables. The group inculcated fun in their learning programmes and the kids prepared a Christmas presentation through a cute puppet show that brought joy and wonder to the students.
In September, we set out to raise understanding of the complex issues in Afghanistan; a country misunderstood, depressed by conflict and fighting for stability, and rally compassion around Afghan women who are consistent targets of violence. Though public perceptions of this country established over time are deep-seated, we are encouraged by a number of individuals who gave generously to the HAGAR Transitional Care Centre in Kabul, providing critical shelter support and economic empowerment to vulnerable and abused women and girls.
We bade farewell to Priya* in August. We have been supporting Priya for over three years since she was trafficked to Singapore when she was 14. Following the conclusion of her role as witness in the Singapore court case, she’s finally back home with her family and starting a new life. We are extremely happy about her progress; now donning a positive outlook on life, Priya has learned the English language and widened her skills. This puts her in a good stead as she charts her future.
*Name has been changed to protect her identity.
Beyond these few highlights, there were many more remarkable milestones that were made possible by the help of many individuals, institutions and partners. We look forward to the new year, energised by your support, and commitment to the same mission as we do to restore broken lives.
Thank you for being the gift you are. We wish you and your family all of God’s blessings, joy and peace in the new year. Onward 2018!