Disadvantaged Cambodian kids get hands-on training as beauticians

by Hikaru Hayashi

Kyodo

Two Japanese entities are offering training to homeless girls and victims of human-trafficking in Cambodia so they can one day become beauticians, bringing hope for the future to girls who have mostly known misery.

Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (Children Without Borders) and Henkel Japan Ltd., the Japanese unit of German chemical and hair-care products maker Henkel AG & Co., started the program in 2008.

About 70 Cambodians have since participated in the training provided in the northwestern province of Battambang, where the organization, also known as KnK, has a child protection facility.

Among past participants in the program, 16 have opened their own salons, 12 have found jobs in salons, and two have become beautician trainers themselves, according to KnK.

To provide training this year, this summer six beauticians flew from Japan to teach 15 girls basic haircut and styling techniques.

One of the Japanese beauticians, Yuji Hashimoto, 34, said the girls carefully followed the movements of his fingers when he was cutting the hair on a mannequin, and quickly asked questions whenever they did not completely understand what he told them.

Among the trainees was a 15-year-old girl who by the age of 3 had lost both her parents to AIDS and was put into an institution after moving from home to home in her neighborhood, according to KnK.

The organization quoted her as saying she had never thought about her future until she took part in the training program, and now hopes to make a living as a beautician.

The girl is currently burnishing her skills at a local salon, according to KnK.