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Hair Aid

Some of Australia’s most renowned stylists stepped out of their comfort zone last January, travelling to the Philippines for a very, very worthy cause. Hair Aid is an organisation through which these stylists teach the basics of hairdressing to impoverished students so they can work and earn a living – and the opportunity is growing for other stylists to take part.

Hair Aid has been conducted each year since 2011, with a one week training program in Quezon City, Manila run in order to help the residents earn a skill, gain employment and provide for their families. However, as there are now over 300,000 families in the community where Hair Aid provides the training, the vision of Hair Aid is to increase this program to a minimum of two trips in 2015, and four to six trips in 2016.

This year’s trip was comprised of Emiliano Vitale from é SALON, Benni Tognini from Tognini’s, Caterina Di Biase from Heading Out and Hair Aid Coordinator Bernie Craven from Aussie Hair Guru, as well as other volunteers led by Project Coordinator Selina Tomasich.

Manila - Benni & emiliano

Emiliano Vitale and Benni Tognini with students

Sponsors included Excellent Edges Scissors, Aussie Hair Guru, Wahl, Ezy Dry, EverEscents Organic Hair Care, Orb distribution, The Australian Hairdressing Council, Scissor Empire, Zen scissors, Norris Hair Supplies, Sharon Blain and more.

The program places an emphasis on basic cutting skills, with the focus being on sectioning and consistency throughout, as well as more complex layering and blunt perimeter cutting. Other more specific workshops teach everything men’s haircutting to clipper cutting and developing the students into trainers themselves.

For example, on the third and fourth day of the program, Caterina had the opportunity to go to the Rubbish dump slum area with Hair Aid support team members to teach a group of students who had training last year. The aim of this was to create a more long term training system and get an indication of the student’s skills a year on.

The program ended with a graduation ceremony, an emotional experience that saw both the students and the stylists filled with overwhelming gratitude for the program and all it had achieved.

“To teach poverty stricken families and women predominantly from the high density areas of Manila, commonly referred to as ‘slums’, hairdressing skills to essentially allow them to earn money to feed their families is truly humbling and a life-changing experience,” Emiliano shared. “However it’s not just hair cutting skills Hair Aid provides, they also include English classes, and sewing classes to ensure a variety of ways in which these beautiful people can provide for their families.”

Manila - Emiliano teaching

Emiliano teaching for Hair Aid

Teaching hairdressing skills to students who have never held a pair of scissors is no easy task, but by all accounts the experience is a rewarding one to undertake.

Well done to all involved.

To make a donation to Hair Aid visit http://www.gofundme.com/h4zfp8

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