HAUS SALON + THE AMERICAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE IN THAILAND
Empowering Hairstylists Across the World in the Fight Against Domestic Violence
HAUS SALON GOES TO THAILAND
Friday, April 29, 2016
DAY FOUR OF TRAINING - SAYING GOODBYE
Today was our final day of training with our hairdressers in Nu Po camp. Bittersweet. It's been a life-changing experience for us all to say the least.
Today the stylists cut hair and colorists styled the hair. We did ten hairstyle transformations then had a photo shoot of before and after looks, a favorite thing we like to do at HAUS in Minneapolis. It was so much fun to watch everyone light up because they felt so beautiful and cared for. Everyone deserves that feeling.
The HAUS Salon crew wore our traditional Karen shirts and were presented with sarongs to our last day of class. These were a generous gift from our participants. We needed a little help getting the sarongs on just right! Then came the hugging and the tears! Charlie said to the group, "Thank you. These are so beautiful and now they are some of the most precious things we all have, so thank you."
This is Kay Thi, our translator. We are so grateful for all of her help translating, she did an awesome job. Translating the language of hair is not an easy thing to do! We found out Kay Thi's husband and 5 year old daughter were resettled to St. Paul, Minnesota three years ago. She has not seen them since and in her words, she is yearning for her resettlement to Minnesota so she can be reunited with them. Her story is heartbreaking to us coming from the stability of the US, but unfortunately common in refugee communities. She has no say or control of if or when she will be resettled. She now knows, if and when it happens, she has friends waiting for her with open hearts and open arms.
This is Juju, and she is 23 years old. She had to flee to the Nu Po camp from Burma when her village was attacked and destroyed. She now works as an administrative assistant in the office that creates livelihood training for other refugees. Charlie considered it a privilege to cut her hair today. Natalie added the beautiful waves.
We finished the 4-day Cut it Out Hairdressing and Hair Cutting Training workshop in Nu Po refugee camp in Thailand with a "graduation" ceremony of sorts. Each participant got a certificate of completion from HAUS Salon and our heartfelt congratulations. What a valuable experience for us all!
"This is Ma Mo, I am going to miss her! She was a medic working in the hospital and started cutting hair for the patients who were sick and couldn't make it to the hair salon. She believes people should feel beautiful even when they are sick. This is why she became a hairstylist! I think I found my soul sister!"
"It's opportunities like this that make you put your own life into perspective. It makes you reevaluate who you are as a person and the things you're capable of...the things you can do to help others."
"The best part has been connecting with the students. They are so dedicated. They are soaking up everything we say and watching everything we do. I'm so inspired by their motivation to learn."
The HAUS Salon team wishes these incredible hairdressers from Nu Po camp in Thailand the very best as they build successful salons in their community and continue the fight against gender-based domestic violence in their community. We went to Thailand to teach, but we are the ones who learned the most. Natalie Hansen of HAUS Salon South Minneapolis summed up our experience by saying, "We have learned so much from them. There is no difference. We're the same."