We are always trying to think of new ways to train the children in the care of India Direct so that they will be able to support their families when they leave the homes after school, so when Katy, Karen Armstrong’s hairdresser said she would like to go to India to teach some of the children hairdressing, we leapt at the chance. Early in 2014, Katy and her friend Santha, spent two and a half weeks in India, including a week at Joy running hairdressing classes for the children in the evenings after school.
Classes were held on cutting, thinning, straightening, curling, barbering and wedding hair. The children were quickly experts at wedding hair, since its easier with small hands! At the end of the week they had a competition, and Katy and Santha were really impressed at the styles they came up with. Out of all of the children who were taught, five of them picked it up really quickly and would be able to go on to further training. We need to consider how we manage this going forward, whether we could set up mobile barbers or see if its possible to get the girls to shadow local hairdressers.
Katy and Santha were expecting nine children and young people in the class, but 29 turned up and returned every evening that week to learn more. The classes included how to behave in the salon and how to greet customers. One of the boys learnt this very well and insisted all week “I am Mr Salon!”
Katy and Santha were able to visit some of the villages where the children come from in the daytime while the children were at school. They were particularly moved by the old age feeding program which is supported by Love and Care Charitable Trust where lots of abandoned elderly people are given one hot meal a day. They also saw some of the new homes which India Direct has built for families of children at Joy and the land for the new Bethel in Chennai.
They had a few days rest after all the teaching at Joy sightseeing and relaxing in Pondicherry and Mamallapuram. A big thanks to Omega for driving Katy and Santha around while they were there and helping them arrange their stay. And a massive thanks to Katy and Santha for supporting India Direct and giving some of the children a new idea about how to make a living and support their families once they leave Joy.