Our First Salon Is Now in Business!
by Lauren Schafer
Destiny Salon manager, Tina Cairo, couldn’t speak highly enough of the five girls who now work in the Salon and the many girls who are going through the hair school program. The school was started by Cosmetologist Brittany Callahan in October of 2010. Cairo, who left her position as a Senior Stylist at a Paul Mitchell focus salon in America, then stepped in to propel our program.
The Salon, which is also a Paul Mitchell focus salon, had all of their color, shampoo, and tools donated by Paul Mitchell. “These girls deserve the best. Why skimp on products when we can show them that they’re worth the best?” Cairo explained. “When you teach these girls how to do hair, you’re not just teaching them that. You’re educating a community, a mother, an aunt, a sibling…you’re breaking the cycle of poverty and showing them that they are worth this.”
When Tina first came to work for Destiny Rescue, she was expecting to change girls’ lives and teach them all that they need to know. What she didn’t expect was to have her life completely changed by the girls she was teaching and building up. She explains that many girls have never been told they are smart or worth anything, and that people believe that of them, too. But she can’t express enough about how smart these girls are. Her goal is to have 30 girls halfway through the program by December 2013.
By being trained in our hair school first, once they enroll in the official local school, they are ahead of their class. The instructors wonder how they are so good at each skill. Oftentimes, the girls graduate and become certified in half the time of the rest of the class. For a hill tribe girl who has always been told that she is not smart and is not worth anything, imagine the confidence she would gain from this accomplishment!
The pride in the five girls who now work in the Salon beams out of Tina. And the pride that exudes from the girls is awe inspiring. Tina tells the story of one of the girls who is now Assistant Salon Manager. She explains that when this girl first entered the program, she was very angry and would put fear in the other girls. She would show up late to class, and she and Tina lived in great tension with each other. Eventually, she started to find her worth in doing hair, her attitude improving. She then began going to counseling, working through this anger, and finding her worth in Christ. Now Tina describes her as having an amazing work ethic, taking ownership in the salon, and as a positive leader. She has been cutting hair for only two years and is already better than many American hair stylists. When she leaves Destiny Rescue, she wants to open her own salon. “And she WILL do it!” exclaims Cairo.
I had the incredible privilege to have my hair cut by this girl this weekend at the grand opening. Based on her character and skill, I would have never known that she was once an angry young woman who has only been cutting hair for two years. Her smile is contagious, her spirit is kind and gentle, the pride she has in her work is inspiring, and the connection she allowed me to share with her – despite the language barrier – left me in awe of where she has come from.
These girls have such a strong will if they’re given an education, prayed for, and loved, despite the trauma that they have come from. Tina boasts, “These girls are going to be successful – they’re going to be okay. They’re amazing. At the end of the day, it’s about loving them and believing they can do anything. These girls have never been told that. Sometimes this may be the first time they’re told that they’re worth something. When you invest in something like this, you’re investing in their worth, in loving them, in changing a nation, and in breaking the cycle of poverty.”