The post-conflict beauty schools

via the New York Times

Recently, I have noticed a curious trend: the proliferation of post-conflict beauty schools.

I first heard about it from my boss, who described how the UNDP ran a program that trained hundreds and hundreds of Kosovar Albanian women –that is, way too many– to be hairdressers in the early and mid 2000’s.

And then I heard about the IRC  training beauticians in Chechnya.

And then the Kabul Beauty School (pictured above).

And just today, reading ‘Child Soldiers: Think Again,’ I stopped on this line and chuckled:

In Liberia, for example, too many ex-combatants were educated as carpenters and hairdressers.

How many post-conflict beauty schools are there? And why is hairdressing/cosmetology picked as a profession to train vulnerable populations in? I wonder how the decision-making works here, be it with the UN or NGOs, and how much local input there is.


One thought on “The post-conflict beauty schools

  1. Economies of post conflict countries are poor employment generators and vulnerable populations will usually have a lower level of literacy or skill sets. Even if they have good skill sets, post-conflict economy may not be capable of generating the kind of employment that would allow them to support themselves.

    I’m thinking that its cheap and easy to train women in post conflict economies to become hairdressers because its one of the few things they are already familiar with, doesn’t require much education or even literacy and is a safe and acceptable vocation in countries that are more conservative and less hospitable for women.

    Hairdressing for women is also the kind of service that even the very poor are willing to patronize.

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