Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

― Mahatma Gandhi

World Refugee Day is observed June 20, honoring the perseverance and strength of refugees around the globe. United Nations worldwide statistics estimate over 65 million forcibly displaced people, 86% of whom are hosted by developing countries.  

Schools, businesses, and everyday citizens across the world are taking steps to change the world for the better. Therefore, as a small business owner, you’re empowered to effect change at a community level. Most importantly, your contribution just might resonate for generations!  

How Did a Starlet Transform Nail Care?

According to statistics in the industry magazine Nails45% of US manicurists are Vietnamese. In fact, in California, over 80% of the nail industry is of Vietnamese descent. What do those figures have to do with the actress Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock’s films The Birds? As it turns out, everything.  

The Unlikely ‘Godmother’ of the Nail Industry

Following the 1975 fall of Saigon, Hedren volunteered as international relief coordinator at Hope Village. Seeing the refugee’s reaction to her nails, Hedren had an “A-ha!” moment. After that, she realized vocational training was the key to creating an economically stable foundation for their new life in the US. First, Hedren brought in her personal manicurist. Next, she coordinated efforts with a local cosmetology school to teach the nail trade to the Vietnamese refugees. Then, she was instrumental in helping them become licensed and secure employment. Subsequently, because of Hedren’s idea, 40 years later, the $8 billion-dollar nail industry is transformed. This is the “butterfly effect” no one could have anticipated. Due to this legacy, the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation awards the Tippi Hedren Nail Scholarship.

Vocational Training for a Better World 

Around the world, charitable groups and relief agencies provide vocational training for refugees. This is because trade skills are portable and provide economic self-sufficiency. Consequently, reports indicate 84% of refugees participating in vocational training programs say their lives are better because of their new skills. With that in mind, statistics show a 42% increase in their ability to secure employment. In Lebanon and India, the L’Oreal Foundation’s Beauty for a Better Life Program provides cosmetology courses to refugees. In Florida, Miami-Dade Technical College launched the SAVES Program (Skills for Academics, Vocational and English Studies.) These programs empower graduates with a trade, language skills, and economic stability. In other words, these programs build better futures for refugees, and a better workforce for communities that invest in vocational training.

Be the Change

You don’t have to be a Hollywood star to impact change in your community. Right now, your knowledge could be an invaluable resource for refugees living in your community. For instance, a donation of your time, experience, or know-how is the keystone to better tomorrows. Here are ways that you can make a difference in someone else’s life. Above all, remember that the “butterfly effect” of your generosity might pave the way for brighter futures!  

Bright Ideas
  • Use our linked resources to decide how you can help! Don’t forget to explore the organizations operating in your area  

  • Reach out to local vocational schools, community colleges, or area operations who work with refugees. See what vocational training is available to refugees where you live. This is especially helpful if you have a specialized skill you can help new tradespeople learn!  

  • Donate your time to trade schools who may need instructors to help provide technical training  

  • Offer internships, apprenticeships, or mentorships assisting enrolled students with valuable on-site training  

  • Participate in local events, charity runs, or donation drives to support refugees in your community 


Want to know more about how you can make small changes to your business to help? We’ve got resources to get you started on your journey.  

If you’re using your business to make a better world, we want to know! Tell us the ways that you’re #WithRefugees on any of our social channels, especially if you’re feeling inspired! In the resources linked below, don’t forget to check out Fashion SOULstice, an event that Vagaro is proud to be part of to effect change in our community.  

Image: Trường thẩm mỹ Ana Anabeautyacademy via Unsplash 

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