Rwanda, arguably one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, has one of the fastest growing economies in the so-called “developing world.” Everywhere you look things are improving, buildings are going up, businesses are starting, and school enrollment is increasing. But as in most countries, Rwanda has a portion of the population who are stuck in poverty and being left behind by the tremendous growth in Rwanda. There are an estimated 10,000 Survival Sex Workers in Rwanda. These are women, young ladies and sometimes even children who, for various reasons, are not able to provide basic needs for themselves or their families and ultimately end up trading sex for rent, school fees, safety or food.
The name Hagari comes from the story of Hagar (Hagari in ikinyarwanda) in Genesis 16. God heard the cries of Hagar and her son when they were chased from their home and wandering in the wilderness and He rescued them. We believe that God still hears the cries of women and children all over the world and He still rescues them.
At Hagari, our hope is multidimensional. For the children of vulnerable families we hope to interrupt the cycle of poverty enough that they can break free. We do this by helping families send their children to school and supplementing their education with a focus on reading, sports, dance, trauma care, discipleship and a supportive community. For the parents or caregivers, we hope that those who are vulnerable to engaging in Survival Sex Work can find acceptance and dignity in their knowledge of God’s love for them, and that we can assist them in finding or creating alternative means of providing for their families, so that ultimately they can be released from the grip of poverty. Our approach varies from family to family, but we focus primarily on health, education, discipleship and financial empowerment. Ultimately, whether it be regarding their faith, their finances or any other area of their lives, our goal for every person we work with is KWIGIRA. Kwigira is a ikinyarwanda word that is used to describe someone who has been elevated to a point of being self-reliant, capable, empowered, even willing and able to help others on their journey. Hagari wants to see a change in families and communities that will long outlive the ministry itself. We believe that Kwigira is the key to change that will ripple through generations!