One day, years ago in a different country, #LocalHoodofficial volunteer Shobhana's older one came back home from school one day and told her that one of her teachers had chopped off her long hair. A few weeks back, her daughters wanted to do donate her tresses in Hong Kong. Being in a new city, Shobhana went researching and in this article tells us about the whats and hows of donating hair in Hong Kong.
A few years ago, my older one came back home from school and told me that one of her teachers had chopped off her long hair! "She's donated it all to cancer patients, mamma!" She reported excitedly.
Then came her next query, "Can we also do that?"
I promised her then that I'd research and find out what exactly this entails. I think then her hair wasn't long enough, so she decided to grow her hair out a bit more with the intention of donating it one day.
In Pic: My daughters lovely tresses, ready to be chopped
Then corona happened, we moved cities and countries and landed in Hong Kong. And this was put on the back burner. A few weeks ago, she brought it up again, and this time she had her sister chime in with her. So I again started my research on salons that cut hair for donation here in HK. Facebook groups turned out to be a savior and following several recommendations, I booked an appointment at Glow, Hong Kong.
I have to admit, I was quite impressed from the outset on how warm and friendly the entire team was. My girls felt so special and happy with the entire experience! And I was totally tension free! I didn't have to worry about cutting the hair in the correct way for donation, or styling the remainder afterwards. In fact, their awesome team even took charge of sending the donations to the UK based charity, The Little Princess Trust. (You can read more about them here)
I realized that there are a few more places in Hong Kong Island where hair donations can be done, other than Glow. Of course, different charities are involved. Sozo, also at Central, works in tandem with Japan based JDH&C, which was started in 2009 as Japan’s only NPO dedicated to hair donations. Hair Quest Beauty Salon, another place in Central also sends hair to their partner salon in Japan for making wigs.
You can also send the cut strands to charities of your own choice. The hair is tied into ponytails or braids and snipped off for donation. They can be washed and styled afterwards. If you are sending the hair yourself, make sure that the hair is completely dry and clean before putting it in a Ziploc bag which can be mailed to charities anywhere in the world. Some of these are Hair with Heart, an Australia based charity, Hair for Hope India , a zero profit organization that was started in 2013 using Facebook and PR to create awareness about hair donation and donate wigs to chemotherapy patients. Hair cut for this charity can be sent to the department of Psycho Oncology at the Chennai Cancer Institute. There are many more such NGOs working all over the world to create a movement to empower cancer survivors and bolster their confidence by making wigs. But this is indeed a rather costly affair, and donations, be in in the form of hair, financial help, volunteer services are always welcome!
I was under the impression that only those with virgin untreated hair can donate. However, the team at Glow assured me that all hair that's donated gets washed, treated and colored before they are made into wigs. So even those who've colored/straightened/ permed their hair in the past can donate. Different places request different minimum lengths to cut, this can vary from 10 inches to 15 inches. It's best to check before you visit the salon.
My daughters were very happy after they chopped off their mid-thigh length tresses which they had been growing for the past few years for this particular cause. Who are we to stop children from being gracious, generous and empathetic? As a mother, this was definitely one of the highlights of my life, which my children wanted to do this good deed on their own accord and without any push or prodding from us. That they feel they are trendier now is an added bonus!
But their joy at giving has indeed made me happier than I've ever been.