The Cambodia Induction Trip is not the same as an international project. This three-night, four-day trip, will immerse you in the culture and let you experience life as a Cambodian would.
This trip occurs in February every year, three days prior to the Cambodia international project. The trip begins in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Here you will stay in luxury hotel accommodation, for three nights. On day one our group will visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Killing fields before lunching at a local restaurant that has ethical and sustainable goals listed as their values. After lunch, we will travel to an organisation that houses and educate young children.
I’ll tour the local slum community and see how the locals live. We will be providing free haircuts for the children in care in this location, and we will be handing out gifts. That evening will be a cultural explosion of taste and dance while we enjoy dinner that has been prepared by a world-renowned chef.
The next day we will be visiting Handicraft rooms and speaking with the workers who have been rescued from the sex slave gangs or drug runners. You’ll have an opportunity to buy the goods they have personally made.
We will also be visiting a jewellery factory and hearing the story of how their work supports those that have been rescued from a life, less desired. From there we will be attending our location and receiving a Mock blessing, from a practicing Monk.
We will partake in a water ceremony and a flower ceremony, before being individually blessed. After our blessing, we move on to lunch at a local restaurant that once again supports people that are learning a trade in hospitality. We will then be attending a local dance school and learning traditional dance. Traditional musical instruments will be played, and artwork by displaced individuals can be viewed, while they are creating these masterpieces. We have a special dining in the dark experience that night, which is unique to Cambodia, with very special waiters and hospitality staff.
The next morning, the final day of the induction trip, we fly to Siem Reap. Our final day of the trip includes visiting the local markets, partaking in a spa session, and lunch at a rooftop restaurant. For those that are joining our Hair Aid project immediately after the induction trip, they will join the rest of the team in Siem Reap.
For those that are not continuing on with the Hair Aid project, the Cambodia induction trip is finished, and private travel commences.
We work with a number of community groups in Siem Reap.
Our main training area is in the women’s jail. Hair Aid has an official Memorandum of Understanding to do this training. This jail has a training salon set up inside. We train women that have been arrested and convicted of prostitution, drug selling, robbery, or stealing, usually because this is the only way that they can earn money. We teach these women basic haircutting skills, which they will continue to hone during their time in prison. Once they are released, they receive the haircutting resource kit and can create a micro-business, using their skills to earn honest money.
We work with organisations that have rescued women from prostitution gangs. These women are house in a safe house. This is an identified safe location, and we have a memorandum of understanding to enter these premises and train the women. In five days we teach them basic haircutting skills, and with the skill, they can move from the safe house be relocated and have an opportunity to create a micro-business to support themselves.
We also work with older orphans here. Many of these have been street children, they have been taken in by charities, and they need to learn a skill before they are released to live on their own at 16 years of age. Those that do not learn a skill before they are released, become street people, with little hope of a positive future. We work with them while they are still in the orphanage, teaching them basic haircutting and barbering skills, which allows them to have the skill to earn money when they are released from the orphanage.
What To Pack
Here is a suggested list of what to pack. Try to stick to 10 kilos baggage, because the rest of your luggage is usually for Hair Aid resources!
What to pack
- Casual unbranded Tshirts
- 3 x long sorts/ long skirts/harem pants
- Medicines *Letter from Doctor needed*
- Sunscreen (or buy there)
- Mossie repellent bands (or buy lotion there)
- Rubber flip flops
- Mobile phonePassport ********
- Travel documents in print ***** Socks
- Powerboard (to recharge phones)
- Chargers for mobiles / computers
- Drink bottle (or buy there)
- Rain PonchoUnbranded,
- old sandshoes
- Hat (you will get a Hair Aid hat too!)
- Casual clothes for dinner
- Baby wipes (or buy there)
- Toiletries (minimal)
Tools to pack:
We are always needing second-hand hairdressing tools.
We ask all volunteers coming on a project to ask their Hairdressing friends if they have any old scissors they would like to donate. We will then get these sharpened on-site, and use these in the training. In addition to this, we are always needing hairdressing capes. If everybody could pack 10 old capes, once again asking your networks to donate their old ones.
If anybody has old dolly heads, please bring these. These are great tools to use, and it doesn’t matter what length of hair is still left on them. We can always use dolly heads.
Water spray bottles are always needed, if you have any old ones that are no longer using your salon, please bring these. This also goes for any hair clips and combs that are no longer being used.
Other items to pack:
You will be surrounded by children at the location. The children love colouring books and pencils crayons and any drawing tools. They love balloons, they love bubble blowing toys, and they love little bracelets. If you have any young children reading books, these can be donated to the local school.
On graduation day, it is sometimes nice to give a little gift from yourself to your trainees. Do not have to do this, as they receive their scissor kit and another graduation gift from Hair Aid. However, many volunteers do like to give a small gift, and sometimes it is easier to bring these from home. This does not need to be much, a cotton bracelet, a card, a pen, a keyring, a hair clip, combs, playing cards, small mirrors, a makeup purse, lipstick or nail polish. On average you will have between 20 and 25 trainees at your location.
Project costs cover seven nights’ accommodation and all other associated costs of the project (team uniforms, airport collection and drop off, security fees, on the ground transport during the project, team project insurance, administration, community fees, translator costs, local/in-country staff expenses (transportation/uniform expenses), location inspections, government paperwork requirements, graduation celebration costs, resource purchases, COVID packs, team medical kit, tips and incidentals).
What is not included
You’ll need to book and pay for your own flights to/from airports at home town and pay for your own private medical insurance (mandatory). Medical insurance will need to include COVID plus cover.
You are responsible for paying for your individual food and drink during the project. Food/drink is usually $30 a day max.
Payment timeline: We have ‘Lay-buy’ on our web page – you can pay in full, or spread payments out over a few months. Deposits of $500 are due on sign up and are non-refundable. Final payments are due one month before the project start date.
Once you have flown into Phnom Penh, you will be greeted by local members of our team, who will help you with your baggage into the transportation. You will then be transported to the hotel accommodation.
There will be some members of the group there, as well as the project leader, and the rest of this day is free time to allow you to recover from your flight.
We begin Thursday with breakfast situated in the grounds of the hotel accommodation. Enjoy the gentle atmosphere beside the pool and feel the calming breezes you listen to the birds. Our tour guide collects us at 9 am for an air-conditioned ride through the countryside. Our tour guide will be providing local historic knowledge along the way.
Our first stop is to Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Killing fields. This is a very emotional place to visit and you will be hearing the stories of what occurred and the impact that it has on past, present and emerging Cambodians. This is an important part of the tour because it sets us up for what we are going to experience over the next three days.
Lunch today will be at a local restaurant that has been created to provide hospitality and catering training for people that have either been rescued from unsafe practices such as prostitution, drug gangs, or the mafia. We lunch here to celebrate and support the mission this organisation has created. Within travel to an organisation which is located deep in the heart of the slums.
There is a wonderful organisation here that supports orphans who have no family to support them. The children are here are educated, housed, fed, and receive medical treatment to enable them to live a positive life. They are supported in education in several ways. When we go here, we take our haircutting tools, and we provide haircuts to all the children. We then provide gifts that we have brought with us, to the children. We then spent some time looking at the schoolwork before having a walk through the community, seeing how the houses are built in the slums.
You will have an eye-opening experience seeing how people eat out of existence in these very critical conditions. We then journey back to the hotel for some free time, showers and get ready for dinner. Our eating experience tonight is at a restaurant that specialises in Cambodian food. The atmosphere and décor are spectacular and our hosts delightful. We are transported back to our hotel for the evening end.
Breakfast at the hotel. The tour guide will collect the group for a visit to the ISF organisation at 9 am. Here you will experience how one organisation makes change with an entire community vision from food for nursing mothers, providing rice for school children to building a preschool, middle school and high school as well as a full university for all children to strive towards.
You’ll see trade school training and the medical facility that is fully functioning. After this empowering tour, we will visit the Peace Handicrafts Sewing rooms. The Peace Handicrafts Sewing rooms where people with polio, club feet and those that have missing limbs work making clothes, bags, purses, and many other sewn articles.
This workshop is ethically managed and Hair Aid orders items from this workshop. A quick visit to the food markets before heading to the Monk Blessing. The Monk Blessing is one of the traditional Buddhist ceremonies. It is customary for the Cambodian people to visit a local pagoda to cleanse themselves of bad karma and to seek help from the Buddha. The blessing renews their karma, creating happiness, prosperity and good luck.
The Monk blesses a person by chanting holy water whilst reciting Paley (early Buddhist scriptures). At the end of the blessing, the Monk offers a Red String as a part of the ceremony. It is worn for and symbolizes blessings to the wearer. They will then attend a local restaurant for lunch, once again enjoy the hospitality and being catered to buy those are in training for hospitality and restaurant positions.
After lunch, we attend the Academy of Arts where we get to partake on stage in traditional dance moves after attending our own training sessions. Viewing the creation of hand-drawn masterpieces in ink and charcoal can be viewed while they are being formed here. We will also have a session will be a train to play musical.
A short journey back to the hotel for a swim or relax before dressing for our Dining in the Dark experience this evening. The waiters here are unique and the time you spend here will make for everlasting memories. The group returns to the hotel accommodation for their final night.
Today is an early start and we leave for the airport at 7:30 am. We will have breakfast kits packed and placed in the transportation, to be eaten on the way to the airport. Our flights leave early to allow us to land in Siem Reap at 9:55 am.
Upon arrival in Siem Reap we will be taken to a hotel accommodation where we can store our bags. From there we will visit the local markets, savouring the sights and sounds of the colourful noisy atmosphere. A bit of relaxation time then as a group heads to a local spa, where we will be treated to facials massages and foot rubs.
Fully relaxed we will celebrate the end of the Cambodia induction trip with a celebratory lunch at a rooftop restaurant
FAQs International Project
What does the week on the project look like?
For those that fly in on the Saturday before the project you can either do; some private travel and sightseeing or come straight to the accommodation, meet the Project Leader and any others already there, or do some sightseeing in and around the city. Sunday morning we do some food shopping for breakfasts and lunches, and then find lunch. After lunch we wait at the accommodation for everyone that is still flying in. Sunday afternoon, once everyone is together, the project leader will do induction/cultural training, hand out team uniforms, go over the training manual, and answer any questions you might have. Teams are formed, and resources are packed. (Volunteers are placed in teams of 2-4 and will travel to locations daily as a group). Monday morning, we eat breakfast at the accommodation and then teams travel to the training location and begin the five day training program. Every day a driver will take Hair Aid teams to and from the locations. Monday morning we teach how to use hair cutting tools, head shapes, how to section hair and how to do a straight cut. We work on live models. We usually gain models from the local community, friends or family, and even workers in local businesses. By the end of the first day, the trainees should have cut 2 – 3 straight cuts. We finish training at 4pm each day. We take a break for lunch when it suits the trainees. On day 2, Tuesday, we teach how to diagonal forward and backward and layers. Again, we train on live models, so that the trainees are learning on real live people. By Tuesday afternoon the trainees should have cut 2-3 more hair cuts. On Wednesday we teach graduation/bob cut. Thursday is when we teach men’s cuts. This is a wonderful day as many people have gained great skills by now and they can confidently do 2 – 3 men’s cuts in a day! On Friday we demonstrate a few different styles, encouraging the learners to see what they can achieve with more practice. Then we hold a celebration party, and everyone that has completed the training, and can do the haircuts gets a personal certificate from Hair Aid. They then also get a scissor kit, with scissors, clips, comb and a cape all in a closed bag so that they have the tools to begin earning money from hair cutting
Where is the training held?
Training locations can be anything from a church hall, a park, inside a slum community, under a tarp strung out between trees, on the side of a road, or in an air conditioned room. Locations are located within a taxi drive of 30 - 40mins from our accommodation. Volunteers will be in teams of 2-4 and will travel to locations daily as a group.
Are the communities safe where we train?
We do not train in unsafe locations. We work with local government and management before partnering with organisations to maximum the safety of the entire team. Local community managers will be at the locations providing support and translation help. The Project Leader will visit your site during the project as well.
What type of accommodation does the team stay at?
The entire team stays together at one location. Accommodation is not 5 star, and varies from country to country. All accommodations are safe and secure, have their own bathroom and have security. Rooms are shared. If you want your own room an additional charge will need to be paid by you.
Who comes along to projects?
Volunteer hairdressers/ barbers and beauticians and supporters, all come together to teach people living in critical poverty how to cut hair and do manicure/pedicures.
I’m not a qualified hairdresser yet, can I come?
YES! Everyone is welcome, emerging stylists will be paired with qualified hair stylists and you will be well looked after .
Can non-hairdressers come along?
Yes! They will be allocated to a team, your team if you like, and they will have lots of jobs to do! We need lots of hands on deck to make the projects work.
$AUD1,800 (USD $1,300 approx) plus flights. Cambodia Induction is $2500
What does the cost cover?
The $AUD1,800 ($USD1,300) cost covers seven nights accommodation (Saturday night before the project so you are there for the Sunday start date), tool/resource purchases, freight to get tools to the country we are working in, the entire week’s ground transport, project insurance, your team tshirt & cap/hat, administration and logistics costs (project facilitation and management, project transportation, translators, hall hire, graduation certificates, celebration cakes, location costs, etc).Volunteers pay their own flights, and personal medical insurance. Food and drink are also the responsibility of the individual volunteer
What is included:
Seven nights accommodation (starting Sunday night before the project, resource purchases, ground transport, project insurance, team tshirt & cap/hat, administration and logistics costs (project facilitation and management, project transportation, translators, graduation certificates, celebration cakes, location costs, hall hire, etc).
What is not covered:
Flights, personal medical insurance (must have), food, drink/s, personal items, travel to/from airports at home town.
Payment timeline: We have ‘Laybuy’ on our webpage – you can pay in full, or spread payments out over a few months. Deposits of $500 are due on sign up, and are non-refundable. Final payments are due one month before the project start date
Can I Fundraise to cover the costs?
Yes! Hair Aid Inc. is a registered charity with tax deductible status. Fundraising activities can be conducted to raise the costs of the project. All types of fundraising can occur from crowdfunding, to wine and cheese nights, to raffles/Tricky Trays.
What do we wear on the projects?
We wear our team tshirts and long cotton harem style pants during training. We wear out Hair Aid cats or hats. It is culturally unacceptable to show shoulders, midriffs, cleavage, or too much booty so no low cut clothes, or leggings allowed. It’s also a makeup and jewellery free week for volunteers. Excess jewels and bling can make volunteers a victim of crime and also full makeup, nails, etc can be intimidating to learners. For these reasons you are asked to remove jewellery (plain wedding bands are fine) and makeup for the week. At night, after the training is completed, normal casual wear is acceptable but please remember that showing shoulders, midriffs, cleavage, or too much booty highlights you to the immediate community and can cause problems for the team in general, particularly if the team heads out as a group at night. Your Project Leader has a big job keeping everyone safe, so we ask volunteers to be considerate with their dress and help lessen any likelihood of danger to yourself or the team by following this requirement.
Why no makeup?
You are asked to wear no makeup during the project. We ask that you only wear very, very soft tone/colour pink natural or nude nail polish. There’s a couple of reasons ask this. Firstly it’s not needed, secondly we'd rather trainees focusing on the training as we have limited time to achieve what we need to achieve. Also it’s incredibly intimidating for them to have someone come in made up with eyeshadow, lashes, mascara, lipstick, blush etc etc. The feedback that we have is that they feel that they can’t approach trainers when they look like that, so it’s a week free of make up! You are more than welcome of course to wear tinted moisturiser with sunscreen in it.
Do I need immunisations?
Only your Doctor can give you medical advice. Please consult your Doctor regarding immunisation advice. We travel to areas where many tourists visit every year, so there is much information available regarding immunisation requirements.
I’ve not travelled much before. Will someone pick me up from the airport?
Yes, airport collections can be arranged.
When I land do I need to take a cab to the hotel or will I be picked up?
You will be picked up from the airport and driven to the accommodation. Once we know everyone’s flight details we will book the airport collection.
Is there any extra precautions I need to take?
During the day you’ll need to ensure you’ve got both sunscreen and mosquito insect repellent on. Some location you’ll be walking through communities that may not be much shade, and while you do have your Hair Aid cap/hat, it’s best to have sunscreen on as well for added protection. Insect and mosquito repellent is your perfume of choice for the week! You apply in the morning, at lunch, after you’ve had a shower at night, before you go out to dinner. You’ll also be issued with mosquito coils to place in your bathroom at night to ensure no 🦟 get into your room.
Is the water safe to drink?
We always drink bottled water when we are on a project, no matter what country we are in. We suggest you purchase a 5 L bottle of filtered water and decant that into a smaller drinking bottle for the week. Your use this water for coffee, tea, cleaning your teeth and taking with you to drink on project locations.
Can I extend my flights and do some personal travel before or after the project?
How much spending money do I need?
Tricky question! You will need food money for lunch and dinner. On average dinner is $6 - $10, with beer. You will need money to buy drinks, bottled water and snacks. Internet, SIM cards are all available at the airport and are your own responsibility. If you buy ‘extras’, such as clothes, makeup at the Mall, only you will know what you’d spend there!
Is it best to take ATM cards over there or cash?
I have used ATM machines when I travel since 2010 and I’ve personally never had a problem. In all the projects that we’ve had I can count on one hand the number of volunteers that have had trouble with drawing on their cards. That’s not to say someone will have trouble from time to time. What we suggest is that you take over $100 worth of your own currency, converted into peso so you’ve got that on you as you fly in. As soon as you land at the airport, withdraw some money from the ATM. If there is an issue with someone’s card, and you absolutely can’t get cash out the project leader will loan some money for what you need for the week and It will be sorted out later.
Internet and local SIM cards, are these available?
Internet, SIM cards are all available at the airport and it is recommended you get your phone changed over when you land so you have immediate internet connection as you are traveling with the driver to the accommodation. Costs for this are your own responsibility.
Is it ok to take prescription medicines with me?
If you are travelling with prescription medicines you will need to do one of two things. Either get a letter from your doctor saying that you need the prescription medicines and you keep that with you and your other travel documents. Or, actually take your prescription that your doctor has provided, as proof of the medicines belonging to you for health reasons. It is generally a rule when you travel to any country in the world that you carry authorisation for prescription medicines.
Do we take our own scissors/tools?
No. We use the tools we gift the trainees - that way you get to check all the kits and make sure all tools are good to use - ALSO your tools are safe at home and not at risk of theft.