HAGAR is a global organization registered in Switzerland that operates commercial and non-profit entities in pursuit of its mission – to restore to wholeness the lives of women and children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam who have experienced extreme human rights abuse. Hagar is committed to the recovery of the whole person: ‘whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to restore a broken life’. Creative Arts can be an important element in that journey; providing a mechanism for recreation and relaxation, and assisting in the recovery journey.
Established in Cambodia in 1994, Hagar launched programming in both Afghanistan and Vietnam in 2009. In 2013 alone, Hagar supported 1,100 women and child victims of trafficking, domestic violence and exploitation in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The aim of Hagar’s Creative Arts Program is to develop a wide range of activities that are fun and recreational, and to provide a space where clients can come and just be children, to play, and perhaps discover something they really like doing. Clients who show aptitude in an area will have opportunities to further develop their skills to a higher level.
The creative process itself can improve mood and become a meditative process, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Hagar’s Creative Arts Project is based on art AS therapy – the underlying theory that creative activity is beneficial in and of itself. The opportunities provided through this project will benefit the clients on many levels – educational, occupational, developmental and psychological – aiding them in their recovery journey.
In 2014, The Sovereign Art Foundation began funding an annual art workshop in Phnom Penh, in cooperation with Hagar Hong Kong. The Sovereign Art Foundation sent two Hong Kong-based artists, Marc Standing and Tanya Bennett, who traveled to Hagar to teach an art workshop for child clients involved in Hagar Cambodia’s Creative Arts Program.
The children created artwork using the techniques they learned, which the artists then transported back to Hong Kong to assemble into a single artwork that was auctioned off at the 2014 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Charity Auction Dinner. Proceeds from the sale of the artwork were donated directly to Hagar Cambodia’s Creative Arts Program.
To find out more about HAGAR, click here.