Justice and Soul Foundation opens first cosmetology school in Cambodia

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The reception area of the new salon

Phnom Penh- The Justice and Soul Foundation has opened its first cosmetology school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Kate Korpi Salon has been built to teach sustainable cosmetology skills to survivors of the sex trafficking industry.

What started as an idea discussed over a cup of coffee five years ago blossomed into a full day of salon “practice” appointments on July 28, marking the salon’s opening day. The students will receive cosmetology and professional workplace skills to serve a wide variety of clients as the first class to go through the program at the teaching salon.

Waiting area

The Kate Korpi Salon has been developed and is managed by the non-profit Justice and Soul Foundation. The salon has been built thanks to several fundraising efforts, including a successful Fashion SOULstice event held in April that raised just over $47,000. (See previous article). The teaching salon was established to provide its students with the fundamentals of cosmetology (hair, skin, nails, and makeup).

Students attending the school include survivors of sex trafficking and those at risk for sexual exploitation. They do not pay tuition, but are instead awarded scholarships. The program also includes a compensation plan for the students so that they can begin experiencing sustainable financial independence while learning this valuable trade.

Matthew Fairfax (left) teaches in English
and Cheng Smile translates into Khmer 

The Justice and Soul Foundation has hired qualified therapists to address the trauma experienced by the victims while providing problem-solving and life skills necessary for independence and a full transition. The cosmetology curriculum has been created by US-based cosmetology schools with special consideration given to the education levels expected in Cambodia. Founders have partnered with Cambodian educators to translate the curriculum into Khmer.

“Our team had an amazing first day. The salon was alive with clients, employees and students on opening day and the energy was electric. It is still hard to believe that this dream, embraced by so many, has become a reality. After spending some time becoming grounded, learning about values and expectations and having a little fun with hair, the students were so professional on opening day! It is such a proud moment for me and my team” explained Justice and Soul Foundation Co-Founder Matthew Fairfax.

Work station

The Justice and Soul Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on eliminating the sexual exploitation of young women and children globally as well as the restoration of the survivors. Through the Founders’ shared connections to the salon and fashion industry, and, after several years of research, planning and interviews, they are enlisting the support of the beauty industry to create a sustainable, systemic solution that addresses the ongoing effects of sex trafficking.

Matthew Fairfax is the owner of the James Alan Salon and Spa on Aurora in Shoreline.


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