Image: A team of Hair Aid volunteers on an overseas project
In today’s blog post we chat to Selina Tomasich, founder of hairaid.org.au. We find out about the origins of the charity and how using a .org.au domain name has enhanced Hair Aid’s message and online presence on a global scale.
The Hair Aid journey
The Hair Aid journey all started when founder, Selina Tomasich was in the Philippines and she went to a pub to watch an AFL game, where she got talking to two nuns, also from Australia.
Selina is the first to admit that this all sounds like a bad joke, but hearing the full story allows us to appreciate just how far Hair Aid has come.
“I asked the Sisters what they did for work and they told me about how they helped children on the streets of Manila whose parents had left them. Their job was to take the children to a safe location, and try to get in contact with their parents to find out why they had left them in the first place. Most parents responded with the same reasoning - they had left their children on the streets because they had no income and couldn’t afford to feed them.”
The Sisters told Selina that their mission was to teach the parents a skill they could turn into a job. This whole concept instantly resonated with Selina and when she found out their dream was to open a sewing centre to help these families, she got thinking.
Selina returned to Australia where she was an Academic at the University of the Sunshine Coast, gathered a few students, two seamstresses and some donated machines and went back to Manila, ready to teach people to sew.
But it was on her second trip that Selina found out that a skill the locals would really benefit from was learning how to cut hair, as a lot of the time parents would spend their money on schooling, and things like hair cuts (and sometimes food) would have to wait. Learning to cut hair would be a skill they could use to create a business of their own and earn a living.
So Selina established Hair Aid, whose core focus is outlined on their website and below:
“Hair Aid works globally to make a difference and create change by teaching people living in poverty the skill of hair cutting.“
The power of an online presence
Selina registered the domain name “hairaid.org.au” with .au registrar Crazy Domains, when her charity was founded in 2013. She chose a .org.au domain name as it was the best fit for the Australian-based not-for-profit organisation. Selina says that without a website, their message wouldn’t have been able to spread on such a large scale and Hair Aid may not be as successful as it is today.
Since 2013, Hair Aid has grown significantly and now has seven international projects a year, where more than 20 hairdressers are invited to help out in disadvantaged countries. Hair Aid also runs Hair Aid Community Cuts (HACCs), which are held in 70 communities around Australia and across various communities in the UK, the USA and Sweden too.
Hair Aid is a powerful example of what a great idea combined with an informative .org.au website can achieve. By recognising the need for a specific skill to be taught in communities where this knowledge is life-changing, Selina, along with an army of dedicated volunteers, has changed the lives of many people.
We would like to thank Selina for sharing her story and for being a true inspiration to us all. For more information, including details on how to get involved visit hairaid.org.au
Have a question, some feedback or an idea for a future blog post? Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below image: Selina Tomasich, Founder of Hair Aid