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Teaching hairstyling skills
to help Kenyan women become independent

It was a cool day and 12 ladies in the impoverished village of Gachie in suburban Nairobi, Kenya were getting ready to come to the Theosophical Society in the Parklands Estate to learn hairdressing.  Wanjiku was going to train them in simple styles.  We were to start the day at 10.00 a.m. but as usual the ladies arrived in groups of two and three according to Kenyan time – by 10.30 a.m. They were welcomed with a cup of tea and biscuits.

Prayers were recited.  The TOS Convenor in Nairobi, Usha, explained what the TS and TOS do.  Then she talked about how women need to be financially independent in order to lead a stress-free life.  Having their own money, it was suggested, assures them of dignity, self-respect and assistance with the material needs of their family.  Hairstyling is work that can be done in their own home, enabling them to be present for their children.


Then everyone trooped to the hall where Wanjiku talked about African hair and how one has to treat and style it.  She demonstrated ways of attaching hair extensions to natural hair and how to braid and style it in different ways. The ladies who volunteered as guinea pigs were transformed into beauties! Time flew by.  At lunchtime, everyone enjoyed a typically African meal together.

The ladies were then presented with a starter pack that contained enough items for them to start their work from home. 

The ladies thanked the TS and TOS heartily and prepared to leave. No! No! We were not finished yet!

We all trooped back to the class for additional styles which involved sewing pieces of wigs and long strands of false hair to make buns and braids, etc. The torture women go through to look nice is amazing!  This time round, there was no lack of volunteers and the next hour was used by the ladies to practise on one another.  Everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly and felt confident to go home and give their clients their very best efforts.  We all gave thanks to the TS for use of its premises, to Wanjiku and David from the Professional  Hairdressing School, to TOS member helpers Induben, Rekhaben, Jayshreeben and Manjuben, to Kiyo, our TS care taker, and to Stanley.

The ladies have requested professional training in manicure, pedicure and facials. This suggestion is being looked into and God willing we will be sending you another report by the next e-newsletter.

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