A boutique salon owner from Hopetoun has embarked on an overseas humanitarian trip to teach new skills to people in poverty.
With an extensive volunteering portfolio including six years St John Ambulance, three years volunteer Fire and Emergency Service, countless years with the Winter Sports Association and numerous local community organisations — all while working full-time in the salon, Holly Wood said she still had room in her heart for one more gig.
Ms Wood flew to Manila in the Philippines in January to meet the 27th Hair Aid International Projects team, which comprised 21 volunteer hairdressers from all around the globe, including Hair Aid founder Selina Tomasich, to teach hairdressing skills in poverty-stricken regions.
“The determination, resilience and commitment to master what in Australia is a three-year apprenticeship in 41/2 days was mind blowing,” Ms Wood said.
“There were numerous hurdles — students who could not speak the English language, our models were children as young as one year old from the nursery, not enough water sprays, not enough models — but none of these stopped us from achieving what we had flown half way across the world to do.”
Ms Wood described the trip as “chaos” but said it had been a rewarding experience.
“I put everything I had into these most amazing inspiring trainees and I had the absolute pleasure of awarding fourteen of the trainees with the Hair Aid qualification, the scissor kit which comprised of hairdressing cape, pair of scissors, four sectioning clips and a cutting comb,” she said.
“These children can only be saved by love. They are victims of the most awful things. It was at that exact moment I realized I have to come back.”
Ms Wood said she would recommend the trip to other hairdressers in the region.
“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.”