WELLA-UNICEF’s Making Waves initiative has already enjoyed successful stints in Romania and Brazil, empowering over 31000 young people in these regions through the power of hairdressing education since 2010. Now the program has expanded into South East Asia, where Wella volunteers launched the program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Belinda Jeffrey of La Boutique Hair, Sydney and and Sara Allsop of Dharma, Auckland were two of seven hairdressers establishing this new base. The team travelled to the training centre in Ho Chi Minh City to take part in the region’s inaugural mentoring session, which educated 25 local students. Essential hairdressing skills, such as cutting techniques, highlighting and more, as well as personal stories from each mentor, made up the agenda.
“Being involved in the WELLA-UNICEF Making Waves mentoring program was a bonding and life changing experience that I know will help with starting our student’s careers hairdressing in Vietnam,” Belinda shared. “The lifelong friends I have made with the other mentors is truly invaluable and I can’t wait to meet and share our experiences with fellow global Wella hairdressers moving forward. My heart has opened and this experience has definitely changed my prospect on life working with these beautiful people.”
The curriculum has been specifically tailored to the needs of these Vietnamese communities, incorporating vocational hairdressing, mentoring and life skills training. This is particularly significant in Vietnam, where 26 million people, or one third of the population, are under the age of 18, and it is estimated 3.3 million children in Vietnam are in need of help. The program aims to start these young people on a promising path, and pave the way for their futures.
“My two weeks in Ho Chi Minh was such a humbling experience,” Sara said. “Teaching the vulnerable teenagers hair skills was so rewarding, each day they were so excited to see us and so enthusiastic to learn any new skills we had to show them. The work that UNICEF and Wella are doing there, not only with this program, but with assisting other agencies that help disadvantaged children in Vietnam is phenomenal. I hope to return one day with my family and show them the kids and the people of Vietnam who are helping them.”
The program is aiming to train 100 young people in the course in its first year in Vietnam, with most of the students being selected from vulnerable groups. This includes working adolescents, orphans, children from very poor families and those who are victims of or at risk of abuse, neglect, violence or in contact with the law. The students were introduced by authorities, shelters or centres across the city, and will now receive this invaluable training. In addition to these education programs, Wella will also fund capacity building projects for local NGO’s in Ho Chi Minh City.
Our hats are off.
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