Moms are your mane advocates
Although a college graduate, Joan Mararac thought she was fated to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Mararac’s life was also upended when she had to leave Bicol and live in Marikina City.
But the move, she said, “turned out to be a blessing in disguise.” Almost overcome with emotion, Mararac, in her valedictory speech, said she “had started to lose confidence.” L’Oreal’s Beauty for a Better Life (BFBL), she said, gave her hope and she “learned to dream again” and “see a new future.”
Mararac graduated valedictorian and received the Initiative Award at the close of L’Oreal’s sixth BFBL free hair care training in Marikina City. BFBL is a philanthropy program of the L’Oreal Foundation implemented in more than 30 countries, including the Philippines. It offers women in vulnerable situations a chance to be trained for careers in the beauty sector.
In partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), L’Oreal launched the three-month, 300-hour training program on hair care, a major L’Oreal product line, in Barangay Santo Niño, Marikina.
Carmel Valencia, corporate communication officer of L’Oreal Philippines, said PBSP chose the barangay, which, in turn, suggested who should participate in the training. The barangay also provided the training venue. Valencia said the openness of the barangay to the program was important. It had to commit for one year.
In Barangay Jesus de la Peña, for instance, where the training program was conducted after a year in Santo Niño, chair Ariel Lazaro said they were actually renting out the multipurpose hall where training was conducted. “We had to choose between making money or letting it (hall) be used for free. But the benefits are lifetime for the families.”
He said many families were counting on the changes that the training of their wives, mothers or sisters would bring.
Jeffrey John Sajot, commercial head of the Professional Products Division of L’Oreal Philippines, said the training program had another purpose: they wanted to help professionalize the hair salon industry in the country.
Education was a key component in achieving this goal, he said. The training taught participants how to use tools properly and updated them on the latest products and technologies.
Ponchie Santos of the office of Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said the city supported L’Oreal’s initiative because of its potential to change the lives of people, as was beginning to be seen in Santo Niño.
PBSP’s Elvin Uy noted graduates of the program “have gained confidence.” He said the women used to think of themselves as “nanay lang” (just mothers). But he said being a parent was sacred and “one of the most important roles you can have.”
Uy said the graduates would serve as inspiration for other women and Marikina residents, and even other Filipinos.
Power to improve
Jennifer Tan from the Office of the Vice President (OVP) pointed out that women were beginning to realize “they have power to help improve the lives of their families.” Declaring that the OVP supported women who wanted to improve their lives and those of their families, Tan said giving women a livelihood was a way of empowering them.
Valencia said L’Oreal had partnered with top hair salons for the apprenticeship of the trainees. Some of the hair salons eventually hired their apprentices. Other graduates opted to provide home service while others thought of pooling their resources to open their own parlor.
Valencia said graduates were given L’Oreal starter kits to launch their own hair care service. Now, the company is thinking of providing hair care products at costs more affordable to the graduates so they could sustain the quality of their service.
After two years in Marikina, L’Oreal is bringing BFBL to Bagong Nayon, Antipolo City; Santo Rosario Kanluran, Pateros; and Western Bicutan, Taguig City. —CONTRIBUTED
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.