Ajloun, a small town in Jordan an hour’s drive from Amman, hosts many Syrian refugees. It is also home to a project led by the Jordan National Red Crescent Society teaching new skills to refugees, and members of the host community, to become hairdressers and beauticians.
Four years ago, Hannan Zoubi, 32, and her five children fled the conflict in Syria. They crossed into Jordan, spent two days in Zaatari refugee camp, and decided to settle in Ajloun.
“It was very difficult at the beginning,” she said. “I sold my valuables to buy a house and furniture. I also received support from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but it was not enough.”
When Hannan learned about the skills-building opportunity, she enrolled in the three-month hair and makeup course delivered by professional teachers. This included support with buying equipment and lessons on marketing, bookkeeping and customer relations.
Today is a special day. The Red Crescent staff and volunteers are working with 12 women to put their new skills into practice and create a business. Each woman receives a big, blue bag containing basic equipment – brushes, hair dryers, straighteners, curlers, makeup kits, scissors – to launch their own beauty salon.
Hannan, like many Syrian refugees, is the sole income earner for her family. She volunteered in the Red Crescent Ajloun branch for over a year before enrolling in the makeup and hair course.
“I desperately needed to earn money and provide for my children. Learning how to cut hair and do makeup was a way to make a living. The training was a very good experience,” she said.
Her big idea is to open a beauty salon in her home and expand the business by training and hiring more staff as her salon grows.
Skills for growth
“In the first week, I will provide hair and beauty services for free so that I can get some clients,” she said. “If I can get more training and collaborate with other beauticians, I can turn this into a successful project. I will make it happen step by step.”
The skills-building course is part of a pilot livelihoods programme offered by the Jordan National Red Crescent Society with support from the IFRC and the British Red Cross.
The courses offer Syrian refugees and Jordanian women training in hair and beauty services, sewing, crafts and pastry making. After completing the skills training, participants are provided a starter kit, which helps them to expand their business and gives opportunities to make a living in Jordan.