About us

Our mission, story and people

Our Mission

For those affected by trauma and those who support them, HAGAR is an expert in care and recovery.

When healing happens, the cycle of trauma stops.

Our Vision

Communities free and healed from the trauma of human trafficking, slavery and abuse.

Our Values

Respect: We believe in the right of all people to be heard and treated with respect and dignity.
Integrity: We commit to act ethically and honestly, striving to do the right thing in all times and in all circumstances.
Compassion: We want compassion and kindness to be evident in our attitude, communication and in active, practical ways.
Excellence: We hold ourselves to high standards, listening and learning from those we support, our partners and each other, to continuously improve all that we do.

Our History

Hagar was founded in 1994 in response to the prevalence of extreme domestic and community violence affecting women and children in post-civil war Cambodia. In 2008, Hagar began operations in Afghanistan to support women and children facing the worst forms of gender-based violence and human trafficking. The following year, HAGAR established an office in Vietnam to care for women who were affected by the growing magnitude of exploitation and abuse. More recently, Hagar began delivering programmes for women through our support office in Singapore, and we are partnering with organisations in Myanmar to increase their capacity to provide trauma-informed care.

With 25 years of experience, HAGAR has transformed into an internationally renowned leader in recovery services for survivors of human trafficking, slavery and abuse.

The HAGAR Story

The Hebrew name Hagar means “one who flees” or “one who seeks refuge.” The story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is the story of millions of exploited, abused, and trafficked women and children.

In around 2000 BC, Hagar worked in a foreign land as a domestic servant for a rich man called Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Sarah was unable to bear children and, following a common practice of the time, Sarah offered her servant to Abraham. When Hagar became pregnant, Sarah grew jealous and threw her out of their home. An angel found Hagar alone in the desert. He promised a blessing on her child, naming him Ishmael, which means “God hears.” In response Hagar declared: “You are the One who sees me.” The story of Hagar is known to many faiths including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

HAGAR is committed to providing sanctuary and hope to women and children like Hagar and Ishmael, walking the whole journey with each one.

OUR TRUSTEES

Dr. Anne Keene

Trustee
Anne has worked as a teacher of French, German, and English as a Foreign Language, to both adults and children; she has also written and edited a mix of published books, papers, and articles. Until August 2019 she was Director of Development at Linacre College, postgraduate college of Oxford University, where she’s now Emeritus Fellow. There she worked with alumni from over 130 countries, seeing committed support and substantial increase in philanthropic donations to the College over 18 years. Anne’s doctoral research was on the early Principals of Oxford women’s colleges, which has fuelled her interest in management, specifically in women leaders. As well as Hagar, she is trustee for the Church Mission Society and the Oxford Pastorate. Her passion for Hagar’s work comes from compassion, and a strong desire for justice and for changed lives; she was greatly moved by A Thousand Splendid Suns set in Afghanistan, and relishes reading about wrongs being righted in the many John Grisham’s novels she’s devoured. However, what she really yearns to see, and significantly more important than fiction, is that real-life justice in action enabled through Hagar’s mission.

Dr. Anne Keene

Trustee

Anne has worked as a teacher of French, German, and English as a Foreign Language, to both adults and children; she has also written and edited a mix of published books, papers, and articles. Until August 2019 she was Director of Development at Linacre College, postgraduate college of Oxford University, where she’s now Emeritus Fellow. There she worked with alumni from over 130 countries, seeing committed support and substantial increase in philanthropic donations to the College over 18 years. Anne’s doctoral research was on the early Principals of Oxford women’s colleges, which has fuelled her interest in management, specifically in women leaders. As well as Hagar, she is trustee for the Church Mission Society and the Oxford Pastorate. Her passion for Hagar’s work comes from compassion, and a strong desire for justice and for changed lives; she was greatly moved by A Thousand Splendid Suns set in Afghanistan, and relishes reading about wrongs being righted in the many John Grisham’s novels she’s devoured. However, what she really yearns to see, and significantly more important than fiction, is that real-life justice in action enabled through Hagar’s mission.

Caroline Heyward

Trustee
Carrie found a passion for supporting trafficked people after witnessing trafficking happening in the apartments on the opposite side of the road to where she lived In Reading, England. Having moved to this town to support her husband in church leadership, she also found herself supporting and befriending many vulnerable women – particularly those that had suffered abuse, ex-offenders and ex-addicts. An invitation to join the UK Board of Hagar brought together these passions with her 20 years of experience in youth work. Carrie has been a youth pastor, mentor, coach, and manager. She has experience in the charitable sector holding two other trusteeships, and having experience of setting up and running UK charities. She has lectured in theology and youth work and shares in the leadership ministry of a local church at her current home in Oxford, England, where she encourages local community transformation. She is a general all-rounder, and is a practical, energetic, and an optimistic driver for change.

Caroline Heyward

Trustee

Carrie found a passion for supporting trafficked people after witnessing trafficking happening in the apartments on the opposite side of the road to where she lived In Reading, England. Having moved to this town to support her husband in church leadership, she also found herself supporting and befriending many vulnerable women – particularly those that had suffered abuse, ex-offenders and ex-addicts. An invitation to join the UK Board of Hagar brought together these passions with her 20 years of experience in youth work. Carrie has been a youth pastor, mentor, coach, and manager. She has experience in the charitable sector holding two other trusteeships, and having experience of setting up and running UK charities. She has lectured in theology and youth work and shares in the leadership ministry of a local church at her current home in Oxford, England, where she encourages local community transformation. She is a general all-rounder, and is a practical, energetic, and an optimistic driver for change.

Suzanne Wilson-Higgins

Trustee
Suzanne has over 30 years’ experience as a company director in international book publishing, bookselling and printing. She is a trustee for several Christian non-profit organisations in the UK and has been a trustee for Hagar International UK for the past six years. She is based in Oxford, England and has three children and two grandchildren. She is passionate about Hagar’s work to support survivors through trauma-informed care and to strengthen prevention efforts to reduce human trafficking, slavery and abuse. Together with the other UK trustees, Suzanne hopes to build-up the UK support office to effectively fundraise for Hagar’s programmes.

Suzanne Wilson-Higgins

Trustee
Suzanne has over 30 years’ experience as a company director in international book publishing, bookselling and printing. She is a trustee for several Christian non-profit organisations in the UK and has been a trustee for Hagar International UK for the past six years. She is based in Oxford, England and has three children and two grandchildren. She is passionate about Hagar’s work to support survivors through trauma-informed care and to strengthen prevention efforts to reduce human trafficking, slavery and abuse. Together with the other UK trustees, Suzanne hopes to build-up the UK support office to effectively fundraise for Hagar’s programmes.

For more information about our global team members please refer to our other country sites.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

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