By Anna Ingwafa WINDHOEK A group of enterprising salon owners, managers and hairdressers are working hard to form an association for the industry. The members of the newly formed Preparatory Committee are saying they intend naming the new organization the Hairdressing and Beauty Employers Association in Namibia. The committee would like to help salons to aim for professionalism, ethics, value products and service as core elements of their business. They are also concerned that this sector is not well informed about safety procedures in protecting themselves and their clients from HIV/Aids when providing service. A few members from the Preparatory Committee that New Era spoke to say that they would like their people to receive proper training. “We would like our people to use the right chemicals on our customers and we are urging all hair salons to unite and come together for the benefit of our sector,” said Taimi Amaambo who owns a hairdressing and beauty salon. Amaambo pointed out that most of the employees in the hair and beauty industry are not having benefits, let alone not belonging to any trade union to air their grievances. “We want the employees to have benefits, contracts, rights to bargain …” she explains. Merino Kandjii, owner of Merino Hairdressing and Beauty Salon, said that there are a lot of precautions to be taken when it comes to hairdressing and beauty – for instance having contact with people who have wounds runs the risk of HIV/AIDS. Merino shared his concern about some fellow hairdressers who only care for money and forget or rather are not aware of the hazards some chemicals pose to some clients. “We are not allowed to apply relaxer on pregnant women and children under the age of twelve. It is dangerous to these people,” cautioned Kandjii who holds a Diploma in Hairdressing and Beauty from a South African education institution. He also expressed dismay over people who come to shoot movies in the country and instead of using Namibian hairdressers come in with their own people. “Because we are not recognized as a formal organization we have been deprived of these benefits. I should point out that even with our own ‘Where Others Wavered’ movie foreign hairdressers were called in. We know how our 60s and 70s hairstyle of our people looked like – rather than give a job to someone who is imagining,” said Kandjii. Kandjii called on everyone in the industry to participate and become members of the planned association. “This industry is fragmented, we need to come together and form an association that might help us be recognized and benefit from donations as SMEs,” he said. This dynamic group is working towards mobilizing other interested individuals in the industry to join them in forming a legal body. The prime aim is to develop and raise the standard of hairdressing and the beauty industry towards a more profitable, productive, respectable and desirable sector. The Preparatory Committee has more than nine members. The group has made some steps in communicating its wishes and needs to potential sponsors and partners and is consulting with similar forums in the southern African Region.
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