The name Hagar comes from the biblical story of Hagar found in Genesis 16 & 21. This is a story that is found in the Christian, Jewish and Islam faiths and is about Hagar, the first recorded slave in written history.
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, trafficked, disabled, and rejected women and children. But, like Hagar in the Bible, God hears their cries.
Hagar lived at around 2000 BC, working in a foreign land as a domestic servant for a rich man called Abraham and his wife, Sarah. As Sarah was unable to have children, they followed a common practice of the time: Sarah offered her servant to Abraham. When Hagar became pregnant, however, Sarah grew jealous and cast her out of their home.
An angel of God found her hopeless, alone and crying in the desert. The angel spoke to her, promising a blessing on her child and naming him Ishmael, which means “God hears.”
In response to how God sought her out in her hopelessness, Hagar declared, “You are the God who sees me.”
Hagar returned to Abraham’s household, but 14 years later, Sarah bore her own son and again, due to jealousy, forced Hagar and Ishmael to leave.
Hagar returned to the desert and wandered there without hope. Finally, when their water ran out, she placed her son under a bush and walked away to weep at a distance, as she could not bear to watch him die.
God again heard their cries. An angel of God called to Hagar and said, “Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying.”
The angel of God reminded Hagar of God’s blessing and provided a spring of water for them. They survived and prospered, and Ishmael became a great nation as God had promised.
Hagar International is committed to being part of God’s blessing to the Hagars and Ishmaels of this world — passionately providing a place of refuge, a message of hope and a journey of restoration for each individual.