You’ve all heard about our outreach project at Kasisi Girls Secondary School, haven’t you? If not, you can read more about how we embarked on this journey here. Not click happy? I’ll give you a quick background.
In January of this year ZedHair decided that it would be a good idea to share our knowledge of natural hair care with the younger generation. We realised it wouldn’t be enough to simply tell young girls what to do; we had to give them the right kind of products too. We all know that when you are in school you hardly have the time or resources to take adequate care of your hair. Walk into any salon on a Sunday before schools open and you will have to withstand the rancid smell of burning hair as it is straightened in order to make it more manageable for hairdressers to plait into tight hairstyles that need to stay neat for a whole term and will have your child wincing with pain. OK. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic but you get the idea. Is it any wonder that as soon as they are left to their own devices girls reach for the relaxer? We knew that there had to be a less traumatic, cost effective means of caring for young girls’ hair.
We came up with a simple regimen that required a few easily accessible products and decided to approach Kasisi Girls Secondary School, a boarding school that does not allow its girls to have relaxed hair, with our idea. They agreed to our proposal and we set to work. We reached out to you and you were gracious enough to give us donations and offer your time to this endeavour. We chose 30 girls to take part in the project that would last the whole year. We visited last term and this is all about our recent visit before the school holidays began.
We’ve had a busy year at ZedHair running workshops and launching new products. We also have a lot in the pipeline and it can sometimes feel as though we are running around like headless chickens. The Kasisi Girls Project gives us pause for reflection. It is so heart warming to see the level of support and encouragement all of you offer us. This term was even more special as we received donations of products from two Zambian companies, Ubuchi Honey and Kalahari BioCare, who donated Sweet Almond Oil. It was nice for us to receive the donations but they also had an unexpected impact; when the girls saw the products they expressed surprise that Zambian companies could produce such quality merchandise. It was a moment of pride for them.
Each time we visit the girls we make it a point to sit with them and let each one of them tell us about their experiences. The girls have gone from simply stating facts about how their hair looks and feels to being able to explain, unprompted, why they think their hair is behaving in a certain manner. This was our aim for this program. To empower the girls with the knowledge of how to take care of their hair so that at the end of the year they would be self sufficient.
This project has proved to be beneficial in ways that we could not have imagined. We knew the hair regimen would make a difference, we use the same methods ourselves and many of you have testified to noticing how much softer your hair is after following the techniques taught at workshops. We were not surprised when so many of the girls said that they now no longer suffered with dandruff or that their mothers had noticed a difference and started to compliment their hair instead of remarking on how stubborn it was. We were pleased, but not surprised. What has been profoundly touching and somewhat unexpected is the impact the process has had on those around the girls. They have been teaching friends how to take care of their hair and a number of them ran out of products because they decided to share. This term a young girl who is not part of the project asked to sit in on the meeting so that she could tell her mother how to take care of her 2 year old sister’s hair.
In term 1 we travelled to Kasisi with a number of ladies from different walks of life who spoke to the girls about personal growth and career development. It’s one thing to speak to them and another to show them what is possible. In the time since we embarked on the project, we have launched our own shea butter so instead of giving them the shea butter in some generic plastic container we were able to hand over a ZedHair branded product. The girls have been following our progress on our Facebook page (hello if you’re reading this) and asked about our African Black Soap. They are constantly asking for updates about what we are doing and have taken a very keen interest in our progress. Some of them have even asked about working for us after school! We are not in a position to hire them yet but it has been a source of immense satisfaction that we have been able to show the girls the opportunities available to them after they leave school.
Next term will be our final one with this particular group of girls. We will choose a new group of 30 next year. We will be returning with more products in October and the Grade 12 girls have requested a special session on hair styling before they venture out into the world. We do not know how many of the girls will keep their hair natural after completing school but it is reassuring to know that they now realise that they have a choice.
If you would like to donate to the project or support us in any other way please send an email to email@example.com . Keep visiting our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @ZedHairDotCom for more updates. We currently take the girls a pack of a carrier oil, tea tree essential oil, shea butter, apple cider vinegar, honey and TRESemme Naturals. Here’s a challenge, lets see how many more Zambian companies we can introduce to the girls through this project, a worthy way to commemorate our 50 years of Independence, don’t you think? Kutowa Designs have very graciously offered to donate 25% of the cost of each accessory that will be sold at our workshop on November 1st.
Thank you for your continued support.