ACTED Thailand is supporting refugee women to a future in Myanmar through beauty and hard work.
Hundreds of bamboo houses roofed with leaves, dusty roads and big green rice fields greet you as you arrive in Ban Mai Nai Soi and Ban Mae Surin refugee camps in northern Thailand.
The camps have been here for more than 30 years and are currently home to over 12,000 refugees who fled conflict in Myanmar. ACTED has been working with the support of the European Union to provide vocational training to the camp residents since 2015. The idea is to increase their skills in preparation for their voluntary return to Myanmar.
The outskirts of Ban Mae Nai Soi Refugee Camp – home to 12,000 refugees.
One of the many small street markets run by camp residents.
The Youth Learning Center where young women can sign-up to participate in the hairdressing course supported by L’Oréal.
The students are learning about hair care including how to wash, cut and set hair.
The students practice their new skills on each other to ensure a high level of professionalism before graduating the course. This increases the students’ chances of employment both within the camp and after a potential return to Myanmar.
Once the students are more confident in their skills, they get the opportunity to practice on women from the camp. This both increased the students skills as well as supports the women to gain more self-esteem while providing a safe space and a small break from the struggles they have been through.
L’Oréal support the course with hair care products which they use in their trainings.
During the course the students also learn interpersonal skills such as how to manage time, make decisions, communicate, work in a team this will both increase the skills of the students as well as the costumer experience.
Khin Boe is one of the graduates from the hairdressing course. Khin is optimistic about her future and hope to return to Myanmar and open a small business through her new skills.
This is Kay Wai another of the graduates from the hairdressing course. She was born in the camp and signed up for the course to gain skills on how to cut, wash and set hair to support women in feeling more confident with themselves. Kay is dreaming of going to Australia to work as a hairdresser, if she can save enough money.