My name is Alina Ahmad and I am 18 years old. I was born in Hong Kong but spent the majority of my life in Singapore. At the age of 15, I decided to leave Singapore and join my brother at boarding school in the United States. My parents and my two sisters still reside in Singapore, so I find myself coming back often. Wherever I am, I try and look for opportunities to volunteer with different organisations, whether it be a homeless shelter close to my school in Connecticut or a health centre in Pakistan. When I came back to Singapore after completing my 11th grade year in the U.S, I reached out to Hagar.

Alina [second from left] with the HAGAR Team

When I first stepped into the Hagar’s Singapore office on 23 July 2019, I had no idea what I was walking into. The team had a corporate event at HSBC that afternoon which I quickly assisted with the final preparation. The HSBC event focused on Hagar’s new campaign “Be A Voice for the Silenced“. This campaign would be launched on World Trafficking Day – Tuesday the 30th of July. Five scarves were designed by local artists in Singapore to tell the story of various beneficiaries at Hagar. These scarves all had breath-taking prints and were also inscribed with the phrase “I can help you” in numerous languages. The scarves are symbols of hope for these survivors and also to raise awareness about human trafficking in Singapore.

As I sat in the corner of the HSBC conference room, I felt myself getting more and more nervous about the busy evening ahead. The Singapore HSBC office had connected online with nine other HSBC offices all over Asia, from Indonesia to India. As the room quieted down, Lynette Lim, the director of development and communications at Hagar began to share stories of several survivors. One story, in particular, stood out to me, the story of Longdy. Longdy was only eight when his mother sold him to a broker in Thailand. The broker took advantage of Longdy because of his leg disability and forced him to become a street beggar for five years. Regardless of the many times the police would rescue him and return him to his mother, Longdy’s mother would sell him again to the broker. I looked around the room as Lynette told this story and saw many watering eyes. Lynette finished with Longdy’s story, and everyone was speechless, including myself.

As people began to ask Lynette questions about Hagar, my next task was to promote the scarves to the HSBC team, raising practical support for victims. It was funny to think that just this morning as I was folding boxes in Hagar’s office my biggest worries were the paper cuts on my fingers and whether I should have chicken rice for lunch, and now a few hours later, I am near in tears thinking about the amount of injustice in the world that a young boy had to face alone at such a young age. It was with this in mind, that the HSBC team came together and raised over $8,000 for these survivors in just less than two hours! Even though it was only my first day interning with Hagar, I can safely say that I am inspired and determined to help Hagar with their work towards ending human trafficking.

Led by the Diversity & Inclusion Committee within the Bank, a group of HSBC employees organised an internal fundraiser amongst their co-workers, in support of exploited women and children under Hagar’s care. Prior to the event, the committee members rallied sponsorship of various luxury, lifestyle and food items, auctioning off the prized pieces to raise funds for the cause. The team from HAGAR was invited to the office to share more about our work and to promote the collection of designer scarves birthed from the awareness project “Be A Voice for the Silenced” that seeks to raise awareness of human trafficking in Singapore.

HAGAR is extremely thankful to the organising staff in HSBC for their efforts in organising the fundraiser. All proceeds raised will go towards the recovery programmes to benefit survivors in HAGAR’s care.

Help us transform lives

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering.

Leave your contact details below and we will be in touch.

Help us transform lives

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering.

Leave your contact details below and we will be in touch.

Help us transform lives

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering.

Leave your contact details below and we will be in touch.

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