Taking hair cutting skills to Manila

HAVING groomed her hairdressing skills for more than 20 years, Sheree Bruce has taken to sharing them with poverty-stricken communities in the Philippines.

Together with her niece, school-based apprentice hairdresser Emalee Bruce, Ms Bruce will head to Manila with charity Hair Aid in June.

It will be Ms Bruce’s second trip with the organisation.

Among the people she taught basic hair cutting skills to last year was a 60-year-old woman who was the sole carer of her grandchild.

Another woman helped by the charity said the skills meant that her 12-year-old daughter no longer had to work as a prostitute.

“Some of the people we taught learned the skills to save the money they would spend on hair cuts; others to earn a living,” she said.

“Hair Aid works to provide skills for people rather than just handing them money.

“It’s a generational change, a tool they can pass on to their children to give them the ability to earn money for themselves.”

Ms Bruce said few of the trainees spoke English, but all showed such a desire to learn.

“They are very desperate to change their circumstances. They are mothers and grandmothers who want more opportunities for their children.”

Ms Bruce said it changed her outlook and helped her recognise what she took for granted.

“It gives you a different perspective on what’s important and what’s not so important.”

About 35 hairdressers will head to Manila for a week-long training from June 24 to 30.

Ms Bruce said they would work in different communities, training up to 60 people a week from 8.30am to 5pm with a break for lunch, every day.

Anyone in Manila who shows promise as a hairdresser is given an apprenticeship through the Hair Aid initiative.

The Capalaba hairdressers are fundraising for their trip to the Philippines and to provide scissors, clippers and combs for the trainees.

They are crowdfunding through gofundme.com/hairaidmanila and hosting events at Ms Bruce’s salon Pink Ginger Hairdressing at Kos Village in Finucane Road, Capalaba.