Haircut Day

The Haircut Day Project serves 2 communities - the students of Assumption Pathway School who take hairstyling courses, as well as injured migrant workers from Healthserve. Haircutting services that migrant workers usually go for can range from $5 to $11, which to them can be rather costly. However, personal grooming is important and spending money on this service is necessary. Several migrant workers have set up “pop up” barbers to address this need by offering cheap, basic haircuts to their fellow workers in dormitories. However, they have been prosecuted as they are not allowed to engage in other money-making activities while in Singapore. Thus, there is a need for the foreign workers to get cheap and basic haircuts which will not strain them financially. This is especially so for the injured migrant workers who only receive a meagre allowance. On the other hand, students from APS require a constant flow of customers to practice their skills on and build their confidence. Therefore, our project aims to bridge the gap between the two needs of the communities, and to allow for a mutually beneficial and sustainable CIP model.

However, we hope that beyond the fulfilment of tangible needs, these two parties are able to gain much more. We envision that this project can allow injured migrant workers to feel appreciated by Singapore society, through the intimate offering of a service that involves close human contact. For the students, we feel that act of using hairdressing skills learnt in school to give back to the community, and to have them realise the powerful impact of the contribution that they can bring to those around them.

The dedication and courage of the APS students, the patience and grace of the migrants really touched me. It was beautiful seeing two communities come together in humble service of one another, and we were merely facilitators of this process. I witnessed the beauty of social innovation, whereby communities and resources are connected in meeting each other’s needs. The smiles on the faces of the migrant workers really showed how much they enjoyed the service, for not only did they get a haircut, but also a wash and a head massage. We also saw the students going out of their comfort zone, especially some of the younger students who were washing a real human being’s hair for the first time. This was definitely a great learning experience for them. We are greatly humbled at the strength and potential that lies within each and every community, awaiting to be tapped on.

This is projected to be a long-running partnership, where this haircutting service will be conducted for the injured migrant workers four times a year. In the next few runs, we plan to also conduct some debrief and reflection with the APS students, to facilitate their learning and growth, so that they are aware of the value that they are bringing to these migrant workers.

Written By Elizabeth Wong