We are proud be partners in Mumbai Hair Inspiring others to create change

The aim of the MumBA1hair Project (in partnership with Oasis India) is to offer vocational hairdressing training to victims of human trafficking and forced labor within some of the most disadvantaged communities in Mumbai. With the backing and expertise of the Oasis India staff, the program’s objective is to provide women and girls a pathway to full time employment and rehabilitation into society.

The project is a non-profit organisation and is run under the management and control of Oasis India and is advised by Zac Fennell, Rachel Robbins and Giles Robbins. Oasis India is focused on supporting and rehabilitating trafficked people and eliminating, over time, the act of trafficking. It is involved in a diverse range of projects designed to recognise and aid the whole person and the community at every level from education to spiritual needs. The goal is to create wellness and facilitate strong working communities.

It all started with a hair cut

Rachel Robbins was sat in my chair having her hair cut. After a bit of conversation I asked her what she did for a living and Rachel started to tell me all about her work in Mumbai.
She told me about the reality for women and girls in Mumbai. How they had to deal with the risk of trafficking, their dire living conditions and lack of any way out. Having two young girls of my own this really stuck with me and with my obvious interest Rachel asked if I could help.

By February 2017, I was touring the areas and teaching the women hair techniques. I realised very quickly we could help these girls make a huge leap to change their lives. Their stories were so shocking, and yet they remained positive, believing that one day their dreams of a normal life will come true. I spent every night reflecting on the things I had seen and heard and it broke me! These people had been dealt the worst hand in life and all they want is a chance. – Zac Fennell

Where are we now?

Zac has now planned the hair academy’s curriculum and with help from Rachel Robbins and Giles Robbins they have arranged for equipment to be sent to the two Oasis centres in Mumbai where classes will take place. He is also creating education videos so the students can learn online and become accredited.

I am so lucky to have a career that I love. Some people aren’t as lucky and we sometimes forget that others don’t have such opportunities. So, if I can help by sharing my craft, then that is something I am more than happy to do. – Zac Fennell

To date, Zac, Rachel and Giles have been back out to India (January 2018) to check up on how things have developed and see the progress after the course had been going for 6 months. In this time the results have been far better than expected!

Six out of the seven girls have been given apprenticeships in salons. The remaining one girl is continuing to progress with the cutting programme.
The next batch of 15 girls starts in March. They will follow the same Styling programme and then continue onto cutting. Aveda have amazingly allowed MumBA1hair to use their online training programme, which will be invaluable.
By Easter, one of the rooms at Oasis’ Drop-in-Centre in the red-light district will be transformed into a training room, so that the trainees can open it up once a week for others to come for haircuts costing 20 rupees (25 pence). This will mean they can practice on real people whilst starting to build up some personal savings”

How can you help?

We would love any help you can give us!

Our most urgent requirement in Mumbai is cheap dummy heads, so that the girls can initially start learning to cut hair on these. We estimate that one head will give 4 different cuts, and therefore last about a week. In total, we estimate we will need 30-40 heads for each 6-month course, with each head costing approximately £6.

We would like to thank those of you who financially support MumBA1hair as this is what your money is currently going towards.

Lastly a massive thank you to Aveda, GHD, Pivot Point and Akito scissors, this project has only been able to move forward with your invaluable help and contributions.

MumBA1hair has started slowly but purposefully and, with small steps, is looking forward to a bright future.

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