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WELLA-UNICEF Making Waves: Empowering young people and creating change through life skills education in Cambodia

© Wella UNICEF Charles Fox 2017

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, 8 NOVEMBER 2017: WELLA-UNICEF announced the launch of the Making Waves initiative in Cambodia, which expands the successful programme already established in Vietnam, Romania and Brazil, where over 44,800 young people have been empowered through training and education since 2011. Hairdressers, their clients, Wella Professionals and UNICEF are united in one vision: to provide vulnerable young people with education, hairdressing training and mentoring and life skills they need to set themselves up for success and brighter futures.


About Making Waves

WELLA-UNICEF Making Waves is an innovative partnership that brings together UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, with Wella Professionals, the world’s leading hair experts. It builds upon UNICEF’s life skills and education programmes by adding a component dedicated to training young people on vocational hairdressing skills. The combined approach leverages the Wella Professional and UNICEF partnership’s commitment to empowering young people living in poverty.

WELLA–UNICEF Making Waves aims to nurture the potential of young people. It encourages them to transform their lives by equipping them with life skills and vocational training. Hairdressing training and mentoring is a key part of this partnership, with Wella Professionals hairdressers from around the world volunteering their time in order to help deliver the programme and share Wella Professional’s passion for hairdressing education. So far, more than 60 top stylists from Australia, Europe and New Zealand have delivered training, and Wella Professionals customers from 17 countries have participated in raising funds for the programme over the last six years.



Every young person has the right to learn new skills in a safe, supportive environment, and education is one of the most wide-reaching and beneficial investments in children’s futures. It delivers the opportunity to gain essential work and life skills, lifts people out of poverty and contributes to empowerment and better health.


Over the course of a year, WELLA-UNICEF Making Waves will provide at least 800 young people throughout Cambodia with vocational training, including hairdressing and life skills education, working with NGO partners Friends International, Mith Samlanh in Phnom Penh, Kaliyan Mith in Siem Reap and M’Lop Tapang in Preah Sihanouk.  The programme supports young people from the poorest and most vulnerable communities; 500 vulnerable children and adolescents will be reached with child protection services, and at least 2,200 children and adolescents with life skills, to help reduce vulnerability.


In August 2017, 10 Wella Professionals stylists from across the world travelled to Cambodia to take part in this year’s WELLA-UNICEF Making Waves programme, excited to share their skills and passion for hairdressing. Students were trained in a series of essential skills to help equip them with the expertise needed to become a hairdresser – from cutting techniques to highlights. By sharing their own experiences, the team of stylists hoped to inspire their mentees to take ownership of their futures and begin their own careers in hairdressing.   


In a supportive and safe environment, 19 hairdressing students received intensive hairdressing mentoring and a taster training was delivered to an additional 11 hairdressing beginners.  This year also saw the mentors deliver the initiative’s ‘training for trainers’ session for seven vocational trainers, building their capacity so they are able to continue delivering high quality training to the students enabling them to have better opportunities in the future.


“We are incredibly proud to be working with Wella to empower young people with life-changing vocational training and skills,” said Ms. Debora Comini, Representative to UNICEF Cambodia. “We have seen the impact of this partnership firsthand through the enthusiasm of the young hairdressing trainees themselves and their eagerness to learn. We believe that this initiative will improve the young people’s employment prospects and their ability to transform their own and their families’ lives.”

Katherine Duke, mentor from William Guy Hairdressing in the UK, commented, “What impressed me the most was the students’ dedication to their learning. The minute we taught them a new technique they couldn’t wait to get the brush out of our hands. They’re so eager to learn. They really want to change their own lives.”


UNICEF and Wella Professionals hope to follow the success Making Waves has already achieved in Vietnam, Brazil and Romania, encouraging and enabling young people to transform their lives and build brighter futures.


For more information, please contact:

UNICEF Cambodia:
• Iman Morooka, Email:; Mobile: (+855) 92 555 294
• Bunly Meas, Email:, Mobile: (+855) 12 733 909

• Claire Blackburn, Media and Communications Manager -

Global COTY Professional Beauty:
•  Samantha Caron, Digital Influencer Marketing Manager, Email:, Mobile: +41 795652591

Notes to Editors:

From 25th August until 9th September, 10 hairdressers travelled to the training centre in Cambodia to be part of the Wella-UNICEF Making Waves mentoring program:

•  Paul Corbett – Salon Owner from Francesco Group Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom
•  Katherine Duke – Hair Stylist from William Guy Hairdressing, Ringwood, United Kingdom
•  Marco Long – Hair Stylist from Meisterschule, Munich, Germany
•  Lee Cohen – Salon Director from Reds, Cairns, Australia
•  Mikaela Edwards – Salon Owner from Runway, Gore, New Zealand
•  Dani Zuniga – Salon Manager from Cortacabeza, Barcelona, Spain
•  avin Sandi – Hair Stylist from Nikita Hair, Karkstad, Sweden
•  aria Lyseberg – Salon Owner from Salon Lysebjerg, Naestved, Denmark
•  vette Nijhof – Hair Stylist from Salon B, Amsterdam, Netherlands
•  Luca Fontana – Hair Stylist from Hair Fontana, Manduria, Italy


About UNICEF –

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. 

For more information about UNICEF Cambodia and its work for children, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Medium and at       


Download the PDF press release in Khmer and English.




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