2. Deb Rodriguez – The Beautician

burqaDEBORAH RODRIGUEZ was a hairdresser with a desire to help. She travelled to Afghanistan with a group of doctors shortly after the fall of the Taliban. But what would a beautician have to offer in a society where women are forbidden to show their faces in public? Fix their hair before they put on their burqas? Rodriguez made a surprising discovery. Not only is a beauty salon one of the few chances for an Afghan woman to make money, but men are strictly forbidden from entering a salon at risk of torture or death if they see the hair of another man’s wife. Where women still endure chastity checks, forced confinement, and domestic abuse ignored and even encouraged by law, a beauty salon is a woman’s haven.

deb_rodriguez_kabul-beauty-schoolRodriguez tells the story of how she formed a beauty school as a sanctuary for downtrodden post-Taliban Afghan women in the book Kabul Beauty School. Many of the women who first attended the school had been so badly mistreated they suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. While providing them with the opportunity to literally let their hair down, Rodriguez teaches them techniques of the trade and helps them start their own salons. This allows women who formerly had no higher place in society than a dog to bond with one another, start businesses, and even become a source of income for their households.

You do not need to be a doctor or nurse to help out. No matter what your skill set someone out there needs your help.  


Kabul Beauty School

An interesting timeline of the rise and fall of the Taliban: http://www.worldpress.org/specials/pp/brief_taliban_timeline.htm 

Information on the Taliban treatment of women: