One of HOOP’s goals is to empower the community so they plan and organise their own projects. We’re pleased to say we recently had our first ever community-led project thanks to the initiative and hard work of Syneida. Syneida is training to be a hair stylist and organised a salon day at school, ‘Cyntya Nueva Imagen’, where her fellow trainees offered free haircuts for the community. Our Program Assistant intern, Jessica, interviewed Syneida about it in our latest blog.
Where are you from and how long have you been living in Flora Tristan?
I am originally from Chivay, but my husband’s work brought me here to Flora Tristan. This is my first year living here. I have been involved with HOOP since the beginning of this year. Currently, my son Christopher is in Koala class, and I hope my youngest son, who is now 2 years old, will start coming to HOOP when he is old enough.
What is your favorite part about working with HOOP?
What I like most about HOOP is how HOOP’s psychology program was able to help me deal with a personal trauma I experienced. What I hope to do is help HOOP in any way I can.
Why did you want to organize the salon day event?
One day I was riding in the combi and I saw a sign advertising cosmetology classes, and in that moment I decided I wanted to enroll. I told the other moms about the classes, but because many of them cannot count on their husbands for financial support, enrolling in classes was unaffordable. I asked the moms if they would go to a Salon if they could afford it and they said yes. That’s when I decided I needed to do something to help and I began organizing the salon day.
What was your role within this campaign?
I began by contacting the HOOP’s Program Coordinator, Cindy, to tell her about my ideas for the campaign. I then helped coordinate between HOOP and the director of the salon. I got my friends together and we began identifying the stylists’ strengths. This campaign not only offered an opportunity for the moms to receive free haircuts, but it also presented an opportunity for the girls at the salon to gain confidence, lose their insecurities, and put into practice all of that we have learned.
Why is it important for you to work with the HOOP moms?
It is important for me to work with the HOOP moms because I feel that they need to understand that we don’t have to depend so much on our husbands. I think these small service industries, like cosmetology, can help us a lot. Starting our own small businesses and beginning to generate our own salary allows us to not be so dependent on our husbands. It is important for me that we learn to love ourselves as women.
What was your favorite part of the salon campaign?
I feel very happy in how the campaign turned out. There are people who have not been able to pay for their kids to get a haircut, and these people were especially happy with the campaign.
What do you want to do in the future? Would you be interested in becoming a professional hair stylist?
My dad once told me that women were only good for taking care of their husbands and that woman shouldn’t study. I left home when I was 14 years old because I did not like that kind of thinking. I went to school, even while I was pregnant. I showed my dad that I could do it. Now looking back, he wants to apologize to me, he realizes that he should have supported my decision to study.
I have to continue studying for my kids. My kids have to understand that nowadays it is important to have a career. I am studying cosmetology because I want to be able to make a living for myself. I want to open up my own spa, and I need to finish my career. What myself and HOOP moms need to understand is how to feel useful and valued. HOOP has taught us that we can do it. My grandmother once told me that women are like the cement to a house, we need to be strong.
Interview by Jessica Franco-Morales (Syneida’s answers translated into English). Photos by Tom Hornbrook.