Hopetoun hairdresser shares talents on international Hair Aid trip
A Hopetoun salon owner recently returned from an international humanitarian trip to teach hairdressing skills to people living in poverty.
Holly Wood traveled to the Philipines in January to join 21 international volunteers in the Hair Aid project team.
The organisation sends volunteer hairdressers to Manila, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand to provide free hair cutting training.
Volunteer hairdressers teach a five day basic hair cutting course, teaching skills that can help participants to start micro-businesses and generate an income.
Ms Wood is no stranger to volunteering, having served with St John Ambulance for six years, the volunteer Fire and Emergency Service for three and many other local community organisations, all while working full time in her own salon.
Ms Wood said the trip was a 'once in a lifetime' experience, including being awoken on her first day by the Taal Volcanic eruption.
"Throughout the week 30 trainees participated at my location - not one of them had ever held a pair of hairdressing scissors before," she said.
"The determination, resilience and commitment to master what in Australia is a three year apprenticeship in four and a half days was mind blowing."
Ms Wood said she wasn't prepared for the emotion she felt watching her trainees graduate on the fifth day of the program.
"It was absolute chaos, controlled chaos. I cried on more than one occasion, I put everything I had into these most amazing inspiring trainees," she said.
"I had the absolute pleasure of awarding 14 of the trainees with the Hair Aid Qualification."
Ms Wood said she was overwhelmed by the experience and would return to teach again.
"Every hairdresser should experience a Hair Aid International Project at least once in your career," she said.
"This was by far the most enriching, rewarding and humbling experience of my life and I can't wait to go back."
She encouraged any hairdressers to get involved with Australia Hair Aid Community Cuts or to join the international Hair Aid Project.
Hair Aid will host a global cut-a-thon on March 29.