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Hairdressers Without Borders spend 7 inspiring days in Lombok, Indonesia in cooperation with the non-profit association Environment Without Boundaries.

Environment Without Boundaries runs programs in the village of Orong on Lombok where it is teaching villagers effective waste management in order to reduce their ecological footprint and improve their quality of life. Els Houttave (founder of Environment Without Boundaries) convinced Hairdressers Without Borders of the importance of providing education to locals as a way to get out of the poverty trap and invited us to roll out Hairdressers Without Borders’ first Indonesian program in Orong.

Orong is a small local village, nestled between Lombok’s capital Mataram and the tourist resort town of Senggigi, where people live on less than US$2 a day. Not working means no money. Work is intermittent and poorly paid. Carrying big buckets of water on their head or shoulders up the mountain will fetch a villager a mere Rp1,000 a turn.(US$0.07)

For our first program in Lombok we divided the class into two groups – morning and afternoon – since it was not possible for all of the students to join a full-day class due to family commitments. The 15 motivated students started as absolute beginners. Training covered the basics of how to hold a pair of scissors and comb, how to give a proper head massage during the washing process and a step-by-step guide on how to cut long hairstyles. Every lesson took four hours with all working materials provided to the trainees for free. Students were required to bring along only one thing: a willing model.

“In most of the cases our students are young and married with kids. They’re busy being a mother and wife, so there’s not a lot of space for them to create their own future and live their own dreams. When they start the course they are shy and don’t know what to expect. Our goal is to give them the opportunity to learn a new profession, to motivate and inspire them, and unlock their own energy and creativity.

“I see the trainees grow every day, they start to bloom, feel more confident and get more self-esteem. For the first time they can feel that they’re more than a mother or wife, they can see a future and a way to earn their own money.


Country: Indonesia
Location: Lombok
Period: 8 April 2014
Time schedule: 7 days
Number of students: 9
Hairdressers involved: 3
Partner: Environment without boundaries

We are very grateful for the generosity of all our sponsors. Thank you!