Haircut with heart

Contributed by Natalie Hazelden

As a devoted hairdresser, I’ve always had a passion for using my skills to make a difference.
That’s why I’ve been volunteering with Hairaid Australia, an incredible organisation dedicated to providing haircuts and support to homeless individuals and victims of domestic violence. With their mission of helping those in need, both in Australia and abroad, Hairaid has become a beacon of hope for countless people.
Last week marked my third overseas project with Hairaid, and this time, I had the privilege of journeying to Indonesia. The goal was to donate my time and expertise to assist local individuals in gaining valuable experience and skills, helping them establish micro-businesses and rebuild their lives after the devastating impact of COVID-19.
Hairaid, a remarkable Australian not-for-profit organisation, aims to empower homeless and economically disadvantaged individuals, offering them a hand-up towards self-sufficiency. They send dedicated teams of hairdressers to various countries, teaching people the art of hair cutting so they can earn a living and provide for themselves and their children.
Each hairdresser on the team, including myself, had to find the means to cover the costs of flights and accommodation. But knowing the impact we would have on the lives of others, it was a small sacrifice to make. This year our destination was Denpasar, where we were welcomed by the Annika Linden Centre.
This centre stands as a testament to love and resilience, established by Mark Weingard in memory of his beloved fiancée, Annika Linden, who tragically lost her life in the Bali bombings. The centre’s aim is to create lasting social change and uplift the lives of those affected.
During our time at the Annika Linden Centre, we had the opportunity to work with individuals facing various challenges. We met people with hearing impairments, those who relied on wheelchairs, and others with different physical disabilities. Together, we embarked on a five-day course that not only taught hair cutting skills, but also instilled a sense of accomplishment and self-belief.
Witnessing the smiles on the students’ faces as we called out their names during the certificate ceremony was the highlight of my project. It was a moment filled with gratitude, knowing that we had made a lasting impact on their lives. To help them on their hairdressing journey, each student received a donated Haircutting kit, complete with scissors, combs, clips, and capes. It was a symbol of hope, a toolkit to kick-start their dreams.
My heart is filled with a deep sense of purpose and gratitude for the incredible experience I had in Indonesia. The connections I made with the students from my previous visits have shown me that our work is creating lasting change. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing one of them successfully running their own salon now, which brings immeasurable joy to my heart.
Looking ahead, I am determined to continue making a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Fundraising for my next project has already become a personal mission. My hope is to travel to places like Thailand, the Philippines, or Cambodia, where I can contribute to the well-being of children and women exploited by the sex trade or facing homelessness.
I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt appreciation for any donations to Hairaid. Your support fuels their essential work and allows us to touch the lives of those who deserve love, care, and a chance to rebuild their futures.
Together, we can make a profound impact, one haircut at a time.