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“Shaping Futures” in Cambodia


Basic hairdressing skills for young people

Six Japanese volunteers from Schwarzkopf Professional of Henkel Japan have played an instrumental role in the “Shaping Futures” initiative, which took place in Cambodia during summer 2013. A total of 31 youngsters profited from the basic hairdressing training delivered by the professional hairstylists.

The training took place at the “House for Youth” in Batdambang, in Cambodia. The first lesson and challenge for the students to overcome in this training program was how to handle scissors like hairstylists do. Holding scissors correctly during a haircut is tricky because it is completely different than cutting paper. The second lesson was to cut a wig of hair off a dummy’s head to uniform length. Trainers were amazed how quickly passionate young people could learn when they are truly committed.

On the last day, trainees had real practice sessions thanks to a nearby public elementary school whose students became haircut models. When an “open air salon” was prepared under the shade of the trees in the schoolyard, classes were suspended and dozens of interested students gathered to receive haircuts. Practice continued until lunch ended, and each trainee finished giving about seven or eight children haircuts. Trainees were confidently holding scissors as they had learned during their training. They looked just like professional hairstylists.

Trainers also learned a lot from the program. “Of course, I feel that young people in Cambodia need money and supplies, but it may be that the most important thing we can do for them is to fill their hearts with hope for the future,” said Kana Ueda, one of the trainers and a professional hairstylist. “After joining this project, I’ve started to think about what I can do for other people,” said Chika Yamashita, another trainer.

In 2008, Henkel Japan started its “Shaping Futures” initiative in cooperation with NPO KnK Japan (Children without Borders), which supports underprivileged young people in Cambodia. The goal is to train young people in the basic skills of hairdressing and encourage their independence in life. Since the project started, a total of 147 young Cambodians have received training from 19 professional trainers who volunteered from all over Japan.


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