Ethiopia: Refugee women launch beauty salon
03 December 2010

Women at the recently launched beauty salon in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Mulugeta W/Eyesus/JRS)
This salon is a model not only for generating income and improving the livelihood of refugees, it also boosts the confidence and self-esteem of their fellow refugees.
Addis Ababa, 3 December 2010 – Refugee women launched a beauty salon that will help them become self-reliant on the premises of the JRS Refugee Community Center (RCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The salon that was constructed and fully furnished by JRS and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) opened its doors on November 19, 2010. Together with a small restaurant run by a Sudanese refugee, it is the second income generating activity on the project grounds.

JRS had sponsored training in beauty care and hair dressing for three refugee women from Djibouti, Eritrea and two Ethiopian women who are married to refugees. They then formed an association to run the beauty salon. The selection process was transparent based on equal opportunities taking in to account nationality, gender and experience.

All five are women because the initiative forms part of an affirmative action programme that aims to empower women and help them earn their own income.

Before the salon was handed over, an agreement between the RCC and the women’s association was signed to ensure the new business is run responsibly and successfully.
To improve the women’s knowledge of customer handling, basic accounting and entrepreneurship, the JRS Coordinator for community services and vocational training, Tekeste G/Kidan, gave the women a two day training in business skills.

“This salon is a model not only for generating income and improving the livelihood of refugees, it also boosts the confidence and self-esteem of their fellow refugees to develop different skills and to explore new opportunities to generate income,” said Mulugeta W/Eyesus, JRS RCC Project Director. “Moreover, their hard work will be a good example to refugees who are in desperate situations. It will help them be more optimistic as they face their every day challenges,” he added.

The RCC will continue to support the women by covering monthly electricity and water expenses which is of paramount significance for building their capital and expanding the business. It also enables them to offer their services at an affordable price. “Refugees at the RCC are delighted about the opening of the salon and the comparatively affordable prices,” said Mr. W/Eyesus.

A month after its opening the salon has already seen a number of high level visitors, among them top officials from the UN and the Ethiopian government, two researchers from Johns Hopkins University and officials from the Addis Ababa Arada sub-city women’s and children’s affairs office. JRS EA Regional Director Frido Pflueger SJ, JRS EA Human Resources Officer, Andre Atsu Agbogan and JRS country directors from Uganda, Sudan and Kenya also visited the new business. Refugee representatives also visited the salon and appreciated JRS’ initiative to enable women be self-reliant.  

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