IFRC


Paraguayan Red Cross and ‘Scissor hands’ volunteers work together to support those affected by floods

Published: 23 July 2014 19:34 CET

 

By: Marcelo Bater, Paraguayan Red Cross

Helping those affected by the floods is not just about providing food and shelter. Its also about helping them look good and feel that they are cared for.

This is the spirit that propelled the initiative undertaken by a group of hair stylists lead by Samuel Romero, as a way of helping those affected by the floods, by offering his services.

Samuel has been a Red Cross volunteer for many years and he holds unforgettable memories of the time he spent with the Paraguayan Red Cross. This is why he offered to put together a team of to bring some style and panache to communities which are hosting evacuated families.

He brought his friends together, Miguel and Julian Santacruz, Carlos Samudio and Ruben Romero, professional stylists who work in the most exclusive establishments in Paraguay.

Taking into account the number of people and in order to be as efficient as possible in the available time, the group chose to work in Barrio Jara, where 40 families from the Barrio San Agustin, in Asuncion are currently living.

“I think we can support people by helping them look good. It’s a way of elevating their self-esteem,” Carlos Samudio said. “In an emergency situation no one thinks about getting their hair cut, given that they barely have access to water to bathe every day. So it occurred to us to put our skills at the service of the Red Cross to help out the best we can.”

Once they arrived in the area, Paraguayan Red Cross proceeded to re-evaluate the needs and survey the families, while the community leaders brought the youngsters together, helping them sit in chairs, placed one over the other in order to have the required height, and the hairstylist got to work.

A spot was chosen in the communities central square, cables were connected to electrical razors, supplies were unveiled, scissors came out and a line began to form. Although the original idea was to cut children’s hair,  disabled adults and adults with limited mobility were quickly included.

“This is the first help that we are receiving. We have received some help from the government which supplied plywood , but this is the first time that we are being seen as people,” said Margarita Ovelar, a resident of San Agustin. “We thank you on behalf of all the families of our small community.”

Before leaving, volunteers distributed candies to the children as a treat following their haircuts and they promised to return. The experience was excellent and Samuel, enthused by the work and its effect on the community, will now organize a group of 15 hairstylists to to go in and improve the lives, and hair, of more people in coming weeks.

 




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