In January 2016, Nhi’s husband sexually abused their two young children. After years of physical abuse towards the family, Nhi decided to run away with her son and daughter, seeking refuge at Hagar’s Recovery Centre. All three were experiencing high levels of trauma. Nhi was quick to anger, isolating herself when she felt depressed. Her children were hyperactive and struggled concentrating. They wouldn’t follow the rules of the centre, creating a challenge for Hagar staff. Nhi was faced with two options. She wanted justice to be established by bringing her husband to court but she was concerned about her children’s mental and emotional health. After careful consideration and advice from Hagar’s psychologists, she decided to focus on helping her children heal and recover first.
Today, Nhi and her children are on the road to recovery. She is learning how to help her children. Nhi was taught to recognize that children mirror emotions, so she now tries be calmer around her children so they feel safer and calm. She also is focusing on building a warm, happy and safe relationship with her son and daughter, allowing them time to heal. At times, she has difficulties to calm herself because of the trauma she herself has experienced, but she is trying to change and she witnesses change in her children as well.
Hagar staff worked with Nhi and her children to develop a list of expected behaviors with consequences called “The way to success” for her children. They have shown positive improvements: The daughter has started to say “I’m sorry” after making mistakes, brushes her teeth before going to sleep every evening and gets along with her older brother. The brother concentrates more in school and is less hyperactive. The children are now learning how to behave well based on a sense of ownership and pride instead of a reward system.
Nhi is very happy to see the positive changes in her children. They are less aggressive, more willing to listen to adults and they connect with each other better. Nhi is also becoming more active, taking initiatives and important decisions for her life. She started making toys for her children and organised an event for Hagar staff and other clients.
Nhi is very engaged in learning English and makes impressive progress after each class because she understands how English will help her in a future career. The volunteer who is now teaching Nhi English shared: “I’m worried Nhi’s English learning capability will at some point outgrow my teaching capacity. She has something new every week, she is so engaged, and she did so well just because she wants to.”
Hagar is very proud of Nhi. She is tenacious, resilient, and she does her very best to pursue a brighter future for herself and her children. Her desire to care for her children and focus on their wellbeing has led to her fast recovery from personal trauma.
*Hagar pursues the highest degree of care and protection for its clients; names have been changed and images do not necessarily reflect the individual profiled.