Who we are

Our mission, vision and history

Our mission

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

Our vision

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 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 at 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 people

Phil Badger

Board Chairman, Hagar International

Phil has a strong grounding in the financial sector, which has formed the basis of a broad commercial business career. He is currently a professional director, chairman and investor, with interests in a range of industries such as construction, wholesale and distribution, horticulture and import/export. Phil’s passion for business development, combined with extensive senior management experience, allows him to successfully tailor governance, organisational capability, and strategic management solutions for Hagar’s operations. Phil’s passion for supporting charities is demonstrated in his numerous Chairman and Board commitments to Charitable Trusts.

Phil Badger

Board Chairman, Hagar International
Phil has a strong grounding in the financial sector, which has formed the basis of a broad commercial business career. He is currently a professional director, chairman and investor, with interests in a range of industries such as construction, wholesale and distribution, horticulture and import/export. Phil’s passion for business development, combined with extensive senior management experience, allows him to successfully tailor governance, organisational capability, and strategic management solutions for Hagar’s operations. Phil’s passion for supporting charities is demonstrated in his numerous Chairman and Board commitments to Charitable Trusts.

Micaela Cronin

CEO, Hagar International

Micaela has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 25 years. She has extensive experience leading organisations that provide specialist services to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people, and their families. An internationally recognised leader in the community sector, Micaela has held key leadership roles throughout her career. These include President of the Australian Council of Social Services and a range of government appointed roles to advise on child protection and broader social reform issues. In 2014, Micaela was awarded the Robyn Clark Memorial Award for service and leadership in the children, youth, and family services sector.

Micaela Cronin

CEO, Hagar International
Micaela has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 25 years. She has extensive experience leading organisations that provide specialist services to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people, and their families. An internationally recognised leader in the community sector, Micaela has held key leadership roles throughout her career. These include President of the Australian Council of Social Services and a range of government appointed roles to advise on child protection and broader social reform issues. In 2014, Micaela was awarded the Robyn Clark Memorial Award for service and leadership in the children, youth, and family services sector.

Geetha Yoga

COO, Hagar International

Geetha has an extensive management experience with a background spanning finance, HR, operations, governance, and IT management. Following a successful career in the Australian Banking and Finance sector, which spanned over 16 years, Geetha transitioned to senior corporate services roles in the not-for-profit sector. She has also served in several board positions and is currently a board member of the Mandala Foundation. Geetha comes to Hagar with an impressive track record of driving sound operational and strategic business outcomes for the organisations she has worked for, including the ANZ Bank International Division, and NGOs working in aged care, children, youth, and family.

Geetha Yoga

COO, Hagar International
Geetha has an extensive management experience with a background spanning finance, HR, operations, governance, and IT management. Following a successful career in the Australian Banking and Finance sector, which spanned over 16 years, Geetha transitioned to senior corporate services roles in the not-for-profit sector. She has also served in several board positions and is currently a board member of the Mandala Foundation. Geetha comes to Hagar with an impressive track record of driving sound operational and strategic business outcomes for the organisations she has worked for, including the ANZ Bank International Division, and NGOs working in aged care, children, youth, and family.

Sam Ath Chhith

Executive Director, Hagar Cambodia

Sam Ath was formerly the Country Director of WWF Cambodia, and prior to this, worked as Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, a membership organization for local and international non-governmental organizations working in Cambodia for multi-purpose advocacy for almost ten years. Sam Ath holds a Master’s Degree from the Asian Institute of Technology in Regional and Rural Development Planning, School of Environment and Natural Resources Management. Sam Ath established the first human rights group in Cambodia (ADHOC) in the 1990’s and was the first Cambodian to lead the NGO Forum on Cambodia in 2004. Sam Ath is a leading civil society activist who advocates for socioeconomic justice for many Cambodians who have yet to benefit from the country’s prosperity and rich biological diversity. As a result, he has campaigned successfully to stop the government’s forestry concessions and land economic concessions in Cambodia.

Sam Ath Chhith

Executive Director, Hagar Cambodia
Sam Ath was formerly the Country Director of WWF Cambodia, and prior to this, worked as Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, a membership organization for local and international non-governmental organizations working in Cambodia for multi-purpose advocacy for almost ten years. Sam Ath holds a Master’s Degree from the Asian Institute of Technology in Regional and Rural Development Planning, School of Environment and Natural Resources Management. Sam Ath established the first human rights group in Cambodia (ADHOC) in the 1990’s and was the first Cambodian to lead the NGO Forum on Cambodia in 2004. Sam Ath is a leading civil society activist who advocates for socioeconomic justice for many Cambodians who have yet to benefit from the country’s prosperity and rich biological diversity. As a result, he has campaigned successfully to stop the government’s forestry concessions and land economic concessions in Cambodia.

Makara Vong

Quality Assurance Manager, Hagar International

Makara has more than 17 years’ experience in NGOs working with organisations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Education International, and World Vision International. In his current role with Hagar, Makara works with staff globally to develop and implement best-practice programme management cycle and roll out the cloud-based Client Management System (CMS) to other Programme Offices after successfully piloted in Cambodia. Makara has experience in stakeholder relations including government and NGO partnerships (USAID, UN Trust Funds, SIDA, DFAT, and DFID) as well as donors in local, national, and international contexts.

Makara Vong

Quality Assurance Manager, Hagar International
Makara has more than 17 years’ experience in NGOs working with organisations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Education International, and World Vision International. In his current role with Hagar, Makara works with staff globally to develop and implement best-practice programme management cycle and roll out the cloud-based Client Management System (CMS) to other Programme Offices after successfully piloted in Cambodia. Makara has experience in stakeholder relations including government and NGO partnerships (USAID, UN Trust Funds, SIDA, DFAT, and DFID) as well as donors in local, national, and international contexts.

Carol Mortenson

Executive Director, Hagar Vietnam

With 18 years living and working in Asia, Carol has fulfilled the roles of country director of international NGOs and independent regional consultant. Previously, Carol was Country Director of Save the Children Australia in Cambodia for almost 6 years before she established ChildFund Cambodia in 2007 on behalf of ChildFund Australia. Under her direction, ChildFund and Save the Children were awarded 6 medals by the Government of Cambodia in recognition of contributions in the development sector. After finishing her role with ChildFund, Carol provided consulting services for a diverse range of clients such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), UNICEF, OXFAM, The Asia Foundation, Save the Children International, and Child Helpline Cambodia. Carol relocated from Phnom Penh to Hanoi in 2017 to take up the role of Executive Director of Hagar in Vietnam.

Carol Mortenson

Executive Director, Hagar Vietnam
With 18 years living and working in Asia, Carol has fulfilled the roles of country director of international NGOs and independent regional consultant. Previously, Carol was Country Director of Save the Children Australia in Cambodia for almost 6 years before she established ChildFund Cambodia in 2007 on behalf of ChildFund Australia. Under her direction, ChildFund and Save the Children were awarded 6 medals by the Government of Cambodia in recognition of contributions in the development sector. After finishing her role with ChildFund, Carol provided consulting services for a diverse range of clients such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), UNICEF, OXFAM, The Asia Foundation, Save the Children International, and Child Helpline Cambodia. Carol relocated from Phnom Penh to Hanoi in 2017 to take up the role of Executive Director of Hagar in Vietnam.

Anna Kryszyłowicz

Executive Director, Hagar Afghanistan

Anna has been living and working in Afghanistan for the past 5 years. Anna is deeply passionate about supporting children, developing foster care systems, and empowering women and families for a better and sustainable future in Afghanistan. Anna holds a Master’s Degree in Economics (Faculty of Foreign Trade), and has completed postgraduate studies in Protective-Educational Pedagogics, as well as various courses on working with children, such as Social Therapy for Children of Alcoholics and Child Protection Policy in NGOs.

Anna Kryszyłowicz

Executive Director, Hagar Afghanistan
Anna has been living and working in Afghanistan for the past 5 years. Anna is deeply passionate about supporting children, developing foster care systems, and empowering women and families for a better and sustainable future in Afghanistan. Anna holds a Master’s Degree in Economics (Faculty of Foreign Trade), and has completed postgraduate studies in Protective-Educational Pedagogics, as well as various courses on working with children, such as Social Therapy for Children of Alcoholics and Child Protection Policy in NGOs.

Michael Chiam

Executive Director, Hagar Singapore

Michael joined Hagar Singapore as Executive Director in 2013, after spending more than 14 years serving in the international humanitarian sector. No stranger to global poverty issues and social injustice in the developing world, Michael brings extensive programme and executive experience having provided direct oversight to numerous global development projects in about 25 countries worldwide.

Michael Chiam

Executive Director, Hagar Singapore
Michael joined Hagar Singapore as Executive Director in 2013, after spending more than 14 years serving in the international humanitarian sector. No stranger to global poverty issues and social injustice in the developing world, Michael brings extensive programme and executive experience having provided direct oversight to numerous global development projects in about 25 countries worldwide.

Don Lord

Executive Director, Hagar New Zealand

Don has invested 23 years in humanitarian work and is deeply driven by the fact that he can help change the future for exploited and marginalised survivors of severe abuse. After a teaching career, Don became Territory Manager for the South Island for nearly 12 years with World Vision New Zealand. After this, Don took up a three-year appointment as Director of Children in Crisis with World Vision International Mongolia. Don established Hagar New Zealand in 2008 and has been Executive Director since then.

Don Lord

Executive Director, Hagar New Zealand
Don has invested 23 years in humanitarian work and is deeply driven by the fact that he can help change the future for exploited and marginalised survivors of severe abuse. After a teaching career, Don became Territory Manager for the South Island for nearly 12 years with World Vision New Zealand. After this, Don took up a three-year appointment as Director of Children in Crisis with World Vision International Mongolia. Don established Hagar New Zealand in 2008 and has been Executive Director since then.

Mike Nowlin

Executive Director, Hagar USA

Mike brings 20 years’ social work experience in child and family protection, and mental health service provision to his role as Hagar USA’s Executive Director. He previously work for three years in the Hagar Cambodia program office, where he most recently served as the Executive Director. He and his family repatriated to the USA in mid-2017 to lead the Hagar USA office. Prior to moving to Cambodia in 2013, Mike served as an Associate Director of Performance Improvement in Ohio’s largest public child protection system from 2008-2013. He is very passionate about Hagar’s core work of ensuring human rights abuse survivors have access to high quality trauma recovery services.

Mike Nowlin

Executive Director, Hagar USA
Mike brings 20 years’ social work experience in child and family protection, and mental health service provision to his role as Hagar USA’s Executive Director. He previously worked for three years in the Hagar Cambodia program office, where he most recently served as the Executive Director. He and his family repatriated to the USA in mid-2017 to lead the Hagar USA office. Prior to moving to Cambodia in 2013, Mike served as an Associate Director of Performance Improvement in Ohio’s largest public child protection system from 2008-2013. He is very passionate about Hagar’s core work of ensuring human rights abuse survivors have access to high quality trauma recovery services.

Melissa Petros

Executive Director, Hagar Hong Kong

Melissa has worked in public service and international development over the past 15 years, including more than ten years in Asia. Melissa established Hagar Hong Kong in 2013 and has been the Executive Director since then. Previously, Melissa was the Industry and Corporate Relations Manager for the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, and also spent three years working in Bangkok at the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree in International Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Melissa Petros

Executive Director, Hagar Hong Kong
Melissa has worked in public service and international development over the past 15 years, including more than ten years in Asia. Melissa established Hagar Hong Kong in 2013 and has been the Executive Director since then. Previously, Melissa was the Industry and Corporate Relations Manager for the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, and also spent three years working in Bangkok at the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree in International Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Jo Pride

Executive Director, Hagar Australia

Jo is a member of the Australian Government’s Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery, and also sits on the Board of AMES Australia, an organisation which helps newly arrived migrants and refugees settle in Australia. These leadership roles build on more than a decade working in international development and human rights, including as Head of Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam Australia. Past roles have given Jo opportunities to work with some inspirational public figures, including as an adviser to former Senator Natasha Stott Despoja in the Australian Parliament, and as an Associate to the Honourable Justice Margaret Nyland in the Supreme Court of South Australia. A former lawyer, Jo has received academic awards for constitutional law and her Honours thesis.

Jo Pride

Executive Director, Hagar Australia
Jo is a member of the Australian Government’s Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery, and also sits on the Board of AMES Australia, an organisation which helps newly arrived migrants and refugees settle in Australia. These leadership roles build on more than a decade working in international development and human rights, including as Head of Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam Australia. Past roles have given Jo opportunities to work with some inspirational public figures, including as an adviser to former Senator Natasha Stott Despoja in the Australian Parliament, and as an Associate to the Honourable Justice Margaret Nyland in the Supreme Court of South Australia. A former lawyer, Jo has received academic awards for constitutional law and her Honours thesis.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. Help us transform lives.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. Help us transform lives.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. Help us transform lives.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you answer the cries of human suffering. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you. Help us transform lives.

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