Bonika Shears was proud to sponsor the Village of Hope Cosmetology class in Guatemala in April of 2014. They, along with Basic Hair Care, Bric McMann and other beauty industry companies worked with First Baptist Church Snellville and cosmetology instructor, Andrea Crenshaw from a local Atlanta cosmetology college to provide education for Guatemalan women in cosmetology. bonnie Megowan, CEO of Bonika Shears said, "The hope is these will women will be able to provide for their families with income from providing beautiful hair care in their country. We were delighted to sponsor this first time educational class at the Village of Hope Orphanage in Guatemala."
Thanks again to Basic Hair Care and BridMcMann companies for their gifts to these new professional stylists as well as Andrea Crenshaw who gave of her time, money and expertise. We were all happy that the name of Jesus Christ was lifted up as we provided this mission to the Guatemalan people. Bonika Shears was blessed with this opportunity to give back!
Read the letter from Andrea Crenshaw about the week
May 7, 2014
I just wanted to take a moment to give you some feedback on the trip to Guatemala and the Cosmetology class that we conducted at The Village of Hope Orphanage. First, I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all who contributed your time, prayers, products, and equipment to make this a wildly successful event. I can’t find the words to express my overwhelming gratitude for all of the help that you provided to make this mission happen. Lives were changed by your caring, generosity and contributions. When we all work together great things happen.
Our team was met at the airport by one of the orphanage directors, and transported to the orphanage where we lodged for our week long stay in Guatemala. Once we arrived at the orphanage, we were able to meet the house parents and their children, along with the orphans in their families. The orphanage is also home to some displaced women and their children. We learned many of the life stories of the women and orphans, and how they ended up at The Village of Hope. Many of the stories were heartbreaking and disturbing, including intense poverty, parental abandonment, abuse, prostitution, and rape, among other things. As a result several of the young girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are already mothers of small babies.
Before the trip, the estimate was six students to be educated with hopes of entering the workplace. We went prepared with six fabulous kits complete with combs, brushes, cutting shears, clippers, capes, blow dryers, shampoo, conditioners, styling products, disinfectant, and much more. Everything one would need to be prepared for a week of intense training in Haircutting, Styling, and Infection Control, and readiness for employment afterwards. To my surprise, on the first day of class, there were at least 8 students. That increased to as many as 10 or 11 during the course of the class, as word got around about what they were learning. The ladies were very excited and they were catching on extremely fast. There was a lot of information to pack into one week, but my past experience proved true for this class as well; the student’s desire and enthusiasm to learn affect the learning speed and retention. Several of the students were young teenage girls, as you can probably see in the pictures. This was a great opportunity for them to learn a skill that could help them obtain employment, since, as I mentioned before, many of them already have children of their own to care for. We ran into a small snag in the plan, since several of the young ladies were students in a school close to the city, and had to leave around 11:30am to prepare and be transported to school. They returned from school around 6:30 or 7:00pm. I was not aware that the Cosmetology students would be young school aged girls, so I prepared lessons that would last throughout the day. As you can imagine, this took a large chunk out of our instruction time. But, the young ladies were so eager to learn that they decided they would, upon arrival from school, have their dinner and come back down to have more instruction time with me until around 9:30 (when l they were too tired to continue). I was moved by their amazing enthusiasm and dedication.
I spoke to them about starting businesses for themselves and working with clients to build relationships and foster growth in their businesses. As we talked, I saw many eyes begin to light up. At first thought, I questioned what caused their reaction, but then I realized that teaching them this trade meant a lot more than just learning something to use for work. See, almost everything that they live on is donated to the orphanage and distributed to the families, and that’s wonderful because donations are much needed and very helpful. But what I realized is that learning Cosmetology and having the option to go into business for oneself gave them the ability to EARN a living for themselves and their children. It EMPOWERED them and gave them the opportunity to create some direction for their future and the lives of their children. The saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” rang in my mind when I thought back to how I saw those eyes light up. They caught the vision.
At the end of classes, I gave some promised haircuts. Several of the students said some very beautiful and kind words to me, thanking me for teaching them. One young lady stood out the most, tears flowed as she told me that she knew it was of God that I had come there to teach them and she assured me that she would not let the training be in vain; she said that she would practice very hard. The next morning, as I prepared to leave I happened to look up the hill and saw her and another student watching from a window. I waved goodbye to them before going to the front to get in the van. A few minutes later, I saw them running around the building toward me to say goodbye once more. I felt so much love as they hugged me and held me tightly. I felt like I was leaving my own daughters. Who would have thought that a few days could be so powerful?
The trip was and overwhelming success, and despite the small setbacks, the ladies learned the basics of Infection Control, Styling and Haircutting. We could use some more practice time, though. With that in mind, the orphanage directors and I talked about me making another trip to continue training with the ladies. They have and extended break from school during the fall. Maybe we can arrange more training while they are out of school. Romans 8:31 “…If God be for us, who can be against us?”