A class five student of Doksum Primary School in Trashiyangtse, Sherub Lakshey Wangchuk, dreaded whenever his teachers asked him to get a haircut.

It was his elder brother and sister, who cut his hair and he says it were never up to his satisfaction. “It was a nightmare, as they never made me look presentable at school.”

The 12-year-old student got a decent haircut on September 16 when he was selected as one of the volunteers for a hairdressing programme at the Tshenkharla Central School in Trashiyangtse.

He is expected to give a haircut to his friends and siblings since he attended the daylong awareness programme on basic hairdressing, occupational health risks involved in haircutting and the economic opportunities in the hairdressing profession.

Barber Ugyen Deepak of Trashigang volunteered to conduct the programme. About 85 participants including principals from 28 schools in the dzongkhag and 10 out of school youth took part in the programme.

He said that he volunteered to conduct the program, as he wanted to encourage students to take the training as an opportunity to perfect their skill. “Hair may be dead cells but it speaks volume of living for an individual’s personality lies in their hair.”

Participants were taught how to use a hair clipper, a fairly new technology for most of them. Safety measures during handling of blades were also taught during the programme.

A teacher of Bayling Central School, Sonam Dorji, said that the school started a hairdressing club last year to cater to the haircutting needs of the students.

He said that without a saloon in the dzongkhag, students who are required to keep their hair well groomed, faced several challenges. “For now, the club is catering to all the haircut needs of the school including of some staff members.”

Initiated as a part of youth programme, the chief dzongkhag education officer, Kinzang Dendup, said that the training was aimed to provide hands-on experience to students to encourage them to develop hairdressing skills.

He said that not many schools in the dzongkhag have a hairdressing club and those with one are operated by interested groups of students without much technical knowledge. “We wanted to provide the interested students with the required skills and knowledge to help them start a barber club in schools.”

Kinzang Dendup said that the dropout youth were also given an opportunity to learn basic knowledge on hairdressing and to take it to the communities.

Meanwhile, as the scissors ran through some of the heads, Sherub Lakshey Wangchuk described it as music to his ears. “I never heard the scissors like this when I got haircuts,” he said. “I think I can cut better hair than my siblings. I would like to try some of the techniques on my friends soon.”

At the end of the daylong programme, the participating schools were given a hair clipper, a pair of scissors, an apron and razor among others to come up with a barber club in their schools.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashiyangtse