Free haircuts welcome Afghan refugees to their new life in Calgary
As dozens of Afghan refugees begin to settle in Calgary, after a chaotic and heartbreaking exit from their homes, some have begun to feel the need for a new look to accompany their new life.
“Because they weren’t prepared when they left Kabul, it sort of happened at the last minute, so some of them felt pretty neglected,” said Bindu Narula, director of services. establishment and integration of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society.
The refugees also spent two weeks in quarantine in Toronto before heading west.
The company contacted Goat Salon in southwest Calgary to see if they could provide their services for free to a few people.
It became 78 and it continues.
“We feel very honored,” said Amanda Weightman, Director of Goat Salon.
“A lot of us are from an immigrant background, so I think it’s also an issue that is close to our hearts,” Weightman added.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on this industry, Weightman says 20 stylists from several Calgary salons – including Notorious Hair Group, Ca Va Bien Hair Studio, Johnny’s Barber + Shop, Social Cut & Shave and HedKandi Salon – have come forward. to provide their free services on their days off.
In order to provide a culturally safe service, men and women were groomed separately, with a team of female stylists for clients.
Each group of clients was accompanied by an interpreter, and clients had photos of their desired hairstyles on their phones.
Richard De Los Reyes, the owner of Goat Salon, notes that everyone knows someone who has lost their job, home, or been uprooted as in the case of a refugee, so he says it’s important to give back when you can.
“We could do more to make sure we all take care of each other. We could do so much more.
It is something that we have done. We have to make sure it is not the last, ”he said.
Ajmal Rasikh remembers the painful experience at Kabul airport before boarding a plane to Canada with his wife and two children aged seven and five. He left his parents behind but hopes to bring them to Calgary soon.
“Let’s see what we can do for our families back there [while] their case is being processed, if I hope they come here… it will be a very good situation, like a happy situation for us to start living again, ”said Rasikh.
Rasikh says getting a haircut in Kabul is no different than getting a haircut in Calgary.
But he says he’s been cutting his hair lately, so he appreciates having a professional clean it.
De Los Reyes says he doesn’t expect to see Raskih or other refugees in his chair again.
But he hopes the show will remind them of the feelings they had when they arrived in Calgary.
“If they ended up staying in town and driving around this neighborhood, walking around this neighborhood, and they realize that ‘this is the place where I got my first haircut here. in the city and this place welcomed us, they made this experience a place to live here so much bigger ‘- so we did our job, “said De Los Reyes.