10 young women from underprivileged backgrounds are now certified hairdressers after six months of training under the Beauty for a Better Life programme by L’Oréal Malaysia through a partnership between National Council of Women’s Organization (NCWO) and the Vocational Training Opportunity Center by YWCA.
With the belief that there is power in education, the L’Oréal Foundation initiated the programme in 2015 and has since helped disadvantaged girls all over the world, including in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
In Malaysia, L’Oréal seeks to educate young women who have little access to education to get a recognised certification in hairdressing.
“This is how L’Oréal Malaysia gives back to society – by helping to break the cycle of poverty through beauty,” said Jean Loh, Corporate Communications Director, L’Oréal Malaysia. “The hair dressing business is worth RM10 billion with abundant opportunities for employment, and good hairdressing skills are extremely valued. We want to help disadvantaged girls to leverage these opportunities and earn a comfortable living through skilled work. When they have a better life, they can provide the same for their children, and the benefit continues through generations.”
The hairdressing course, sponsored by L’Oréal Malaysia in partnership with the National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO), was conducted by qualified professionals in the field under the YWCA Vocational Training Opportunity Center (VTOC).
A leading advocate of women’s human right, NCWO unites women’s organisations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, promote the development and advancement of women at all levels, advocate and monitor the full participation, inclusion and representation of women in decision-making and ensuring women have equitable access to and are equal agents and beneficiaries of development.
VTOC, a project of YWCA Kuala Lumpur, provides vocational training for employment to young women and girls from economically disadvantaged segments of Malaysian society. A total of 1,332 young women have completed their courses since its inception in 1998.
A ceremony was held today to celebrate the success of the first cohort of graduate, during which L’Oréal presented certificates to the 10 new hairdressers. Not only that, the one who performed the best throughout the training was rewarded with a professional hairdresser trolley, hairdressing tools and L’Oréal Malaysia products worth RM2,000.
Jean Loh, points out that L’Oréal will actively help the young women secure jobs in the industry by providing them an opportunity to interview with L’Oréal’s wide network of salon partners.
“We are extremely proud of our first batch of graduates! They have seized this opportunity for a better life and made the best of it. We look forward to helping more underprivileged young women to learn hairdressing skills – next year, our target is to 20 students into the programme. We will also be including the makeup and beauty therapy curriculum in order to provide our beneficiaries with a holistic training program.” she added.
Senia Anak Engkamat from Sibu who was named as the best performer of her batch, is elated to join the hairdressing industry.
“I’ve always been interested in beauty courses, but my family could not afford it. My mother is a single mother and works very hard to make ends meet and cannot afford to send me for further education after completing high school. But L’Oréal Malaysia has changed my life! I have learnt valuable skills from the Beauty for a Better Life course, and now, I am a professional! A hairdresser! It’s amazing to know that I have a whole new future ahead. I can work in a field I’m passionate in, continue to improve myself and, one day, even start my own hair salon!” said Senia.
Jennifer Lahung Lian from Sarikei, is also excited to dive into her hairdressing career immediately.
“I’d love to return to my hometown and provide hairdressing service to the people there. I have so many ideas on what type of hair would make some of them look younger and more beautiful! That way, not only will I make my town folks happy, the children who are poor like I was will also be inspired to get out of poverty by learning a new skill,” she explained.
Education provides the freedom to choose, and L’Oréal is keen to offer this freedom to more young women. According to Jean Loh, the beauty brand plans to support girls to be trained in make-up courses, on top of the hairdressing course.
“Everyone has their place in society – a place where they can live confidently, creatively and bravely. We want to help these girls find their place, and we are glad that they found it in the hairdressing and beauty industry,” she said.