Elakshi and Samaira, students of grades 6 and 3 respectively are sporting a brand new look. The sisters have snipped off quite a swathe of their lengthy locks. While this is something that many girls do every day, what these little ones have done is different.
“We saw an online video about a girl who was gifted a wig before she went back to school. The girl in the video had lost her hair while she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. We saw how excited the girl was with the wig. I will never forget that smile,” shares Elakshi.
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Losing hair due to chemotherapy can have a severe psychological and emotional impact. And the sisters were deeply moved with the video. The girls told their mother, Cynthia, their decision to contribute hair for the same cause.
I had eight inches of my hair cut off, and I did think about whether I would look funny after the haircut. My mother was the one who helped me through it, and she supported me a lot, smiles little Samaira.
Elakshi, on the other hand, grappled with various emotions as she sat on the chair at the salon. “On the one hand, I knew I wanted to make someone happy by giving them hair for a wig, but at the same time, I felt scared. I kept thinking of my friends’ reaction. My mother kept telling me about all the blessings I would get for this, and I think that is what helped me.”
The girls kept the hair safe and then sent them to Mumbai.
“We will also be writing a letter to the person who uses this hair as a wig,” say the girls.
For Elakshi and Samaira, the motivation was simple – bringing smiles to someone’s face. The girls understood how important this would be and decided to go ahead with their selfless act.
If you have been thinking about donating your hair but are not sure how and where to do this, do read on!
Places in India where you can donate your hair:
1. Hair Crown
Established in 2014, Hair Crown is an NGO based in Theni, Tamil Nadu. This organisation accepts all kinds and types of hair; whether treated or coloured. They do insist on the length of the hair to be between 12 to 15 inches. Over the last five years, they have been able to collect hair donations from over 300 people. Arshith from Hair Grown says, “While the number of donations we get is much higher but the hair sent is not useable because they do not follow the right way of sending it in.”
Explaining the process to follow while donating, he explains, “One must shampoo, and condition the hair. Do not use any styling products or hairspray. Once done, gather your hair at the nape and make a ponytail. Ensure that the ponytail is tight enough and keeps all your hair strands together. Measure the length you wish to donate before cutting. The cut hair should be collected, placed in a zip-lock bag and then into a padded envelope and mailed.”
If you wish to reach out to this organisation, you can check their website or call on +91-94861 21062.
2. Cope With Cancer
This Mumbai-based organisation accepts a minimum of 12 inches of cut hair. When asked why, Pooja from Cope with Cancer explains, “Our wig makers find it very difficult to work with anything less than that. While the thickness of the hair is of no concern, the length is very important.”
Pooja also says that a wig is made of the donated hair from at least 6 to 7 women.
“While donating, the donor must mention their name, e-mail address and mobile number so that once we receive the packet, an acknowledgement can be sent across,” informs Pooja.
You can reach out to this organisation via their website or call them at 022-49701285.
3. Sargakshetra Cultural Centre
Based in Kottayam, Kerala, Fr Praikalam tells me that for the last six years they have been collecting donated hair to make wigs, and since then they have made more than 1,000. “We do this without any monetary exchange of any kind. We have been getting donations from people all over the world,” he shares. He says that a minimum of 38 cms (14 inches) of hair is needed to work on a wig and the donation from 3 to 4 women makes one single wig.
They have so far received donations from over 4,000 people. An interesting point that Fr Praikalam mentions is that men can also donate.
This organisation can be reached via their website, or you could e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. For You Trust
Based in Kannur, Kerala this organisation accepts hair donations of between 10 to 15 inches of length. While most of the instructions remain the same, one must remember not to send the hair swept from the ground. Jyosni from For You Trust says, “It would be of no use to send us hair that fall on the ground since our wig makers will not use them. Do follow all the instructions and mention your name and details when you send us the courier.”
She also says that hair donation can be sent via any courier service you prefer. You can get more details about this from their website or contact them at +91-9072423704.
The right hairstyle adds to your looks. And the best part is that it’s yours to take care of. Cut hair can grow back. Take forward Elakshi and Samaira’s dream of making people smile by donating hair. Shampoo, Condition, Snip and Donate those locks!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)