Job training for at-risk young women in Sri Lanka

by Asha Trust (Sri Lanka)

Job training for at-risk young women in Sri Lanka (11891).

Report Jan – March 2013


Another 11 young women completed the Hair and Beauty Training in March 13. This course is a 4 month specialist vocational programme that provides the trainees a wide range of knowledge and skills on hair and beauty treatments and techniques. Trainees develop knowledge and skills in the professional approach to shampoo, cut, dress and colour hair. As well as to apply makeup and provide manicure and pedicure. Trainees also learn how to comply with health and safety skills within the saloon. In addition customer care skills are taught and demonstrated within a working environment, plus y team building skills are developed.


The young women come from challenging backgrounds many have not worked previously and have few qualifications. This programme not only provides vocational skills but also increases they confidence and sense of self-worth.


Stephen Bynon from Asha Trust visited the trainees in February, he took time to speak to the trainees and learn more about how the course is making a difference to them. Stephen says ‘’ What struck me most was the hunger to learn, to grab this opportunity and soak in as much knowledge and information as possible. I was also impressed by the leaders of the Salon; they clearly have an added passion to work with these young women, to give them the skills to build ladders out of poverty. ‘’


The 11 young women who completed the course had a celebration in the Asha centre where the trainees were given their certificates.  As usual, this was a lovely occasion and again it was quite clear what a difference this training made to those who participated.  Many at the beginning of the course were planning to work from home once they had completed the course but over half now have decided that they want to work in salons so Cheryl and Maleena, the course leaders are busy supporting them with finding jobs! To date 5 have had interviews and have been accepted and one has decided to start a small enterprise from home.


In the next three months we will continue to research and scope out a training programme to provide ‘’enterprise skills’’. We envisage that the programme would include mentoring and an opportunity to pitch for a micro –loan to be used as seed money.

If you have ideas and models to share we would love to hear from you.

And finally.

A special thanks to those that have supported this programme … you really are making a difference!

Employment training for Young Women – progress report – February 2013

We are now in the last month of the present trainees program and have learnt a lot of lessons in the process. By the end of March, 29 young women would have been trained in Hair and Beauty. The trainees completed the first month of the course at the centre in Athidiya prior to Christmas break. They came to the training salon in Colombo for the first time in December where a Christmas party was held for them by Cheryl, the proprietor of the training academy. The trainees started attending training sessions in the academy from January. The course leaders were very impressed with the dedication and effort of the trainees who learnt quickly and showed real interest in what they were doing. They are enthusiastic and keen to learn and have developed good relationships amongst themselves and with the trainers.


A success Story

Nishanthi has now set up a salon in her home. She has signs up the local area which look very professional and has dressed several people for weddings. She even buys in extra help employing a fellow trainee when necessary. Her dream is to build a proper salon on land near her house once she gets approval from the local government. Prior to the course she was a housewife and had never worked.


Learning Lessons and Assessing Impact

We continue to monitor the progress of trainees and offer support where we can, although a high number of students have been offered jobs a number have not continued with the work. For many regular work is a new phenomenon and rather a culture shock. Travelling into the city, the long hours are just some of the aspects which have taken some of the trainees by surprise. In addition they come for families and a community where ‘day labour’ is the norm. Most get paid daily and live a hand to month lifestyle – using each day’s money for food and not a lot else, having to wait to the end of the month to receive a salary is proving difficult for many.

However it is clear from having monitored the progress of the trainees that although some are not in full-time work or working in other industries not directly related to the course they took, the training has had multiple benefits to those involved. The training is of course not a ‘magic solution’ to finding permanent work but has given them all a new found confidence and pride that they were able to develop a skill. In addition it has opened their eyes to a world outside their immediate community and helped them develop their own aspirations and hope for the future. This is highlighted by one of the young women who took part in the course who gave an impromptu thank you speech. Not only would she never have dreamed of being able to speak in front of a room full of people but she was able to articulate well about how the course had opened her eyes to a life beyond what she had been living up to them. She had also felt supported by the trainers and this has clearly done wonders for her self esteem and confidence.

We continue to monitor those who have taken part in the training course to look at the long-term impact of the training and how we can learn lessons for the future and adapt the program accordingly. As such we are presently working with our business partners to develop an ‘’enterprise module’’ which will provide basic enterprise skills to young people to enable them to start their own small enterprises providing new services meeting the needs in their communities. More on this next time!!!


To All Our Supporters.

Lastly, Thanks to you for your donations and support. Without ordinary people like you joining in, none of this would have been possible. You really did make a difference!!


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Organization Information

Asha Trust (Sri Lanka)

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​
Asha Trust (Sri Lanka)
Project Leader:
Shyla Bynon
London, Outside US & Canada United Kingdom

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