If you were to visit my hometown, you would find a small fishing community. You would find an island connected to the mainland by a causeway. You would find small shops and family restaurants, and even a few small, family-owned beauty salons. If you were to walk inside one of those salons, you would find older ladies having their perms done, children having their first haircuts, and most of all, you would find young women chatting among each other while their hair is being styled. I remember having my hair done many times by the same salon. In a small community, everyone seems to know each other, and it is normal to discuss Aunt Matilda’s third cousin’s daughter, or Susie’s daughter going off to university and being homesick for her Momma’s food. More than that, it’s often normal to discuss the community churches and their special events, or what the pastors have preached that past Sunday – sometimes even bringing about a faith conversation.
Ladies around the world are not very different, really. In beauty salons around the world, women gather to talk about their families and communities, and unintentionally learn about Jesus through discussion with their sisters. My community is not very different than that of the women in South Asia. In South Asia, a woman’s beauty is highly regarded. Unfortunately, many women are abused by their families or others, and oftentimes, the abuse experienced goes beyond a strike or a bruise. Many women have experienced acid burns on their bodies which permanently scar their skin; a horrific penalty for participating in practices deemed shameful by the majority culture. In such a society, women who are marred are seen as bringing dishonor to their families, and sadly, they often are unable to find employment due to this.
The story does not stop there, however. Shama Women is dedicated to helping women with abusive pasts find new confidence in their appearance, as well as teaching them how valuable their inward beauty is. One sister in South Asia who found Jesus through the ministries of Shama Women now teaches cosmetology to others, focusing on equipping these women to create incomes for their families by henna work, makeup application, facials, manicures & pedicures, and hair styling.
Like every program Shama Women has to offer, each woman training in cosmetology will have the opportunity to be taught about God and His love for them. They will gather along with their sisters to learn how to to apply makeup, but more than this, they will learn how to apply the Word of God in their lives. They will learn how to put on a facial, but will also learn how to put on the “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3) and worship their Father in Heaven. They will learn what it means to truly be a woman of God, beautiful outwardly as well as inwardly.
In order for the cosmetology program to effectively reach and teach women in South Asia, we need your help and support. By supporting Shama Women, you are helping to bring freedom to women overseas, and helping to provide them with a trade to support their families. Women going through the cosmetology program will have the ability to not only support their families with extra income, but will be taught how to find their identity and purpose in Christ.
Supporting Shama Women’s cosmetology programs is a wonderful way to show the love of Christ to our sisters over in South Asia. Through supporting these women, you are helping to live out Isaiah 61:1-3, which says:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Today, it is my prayer that you would think of your sisters in South Asia, and consider giving to help support the training programs Shama Women has to offer. For as little as $10 a month, you can provide cosmetology training for a woman. Upon completion of her training, she will be able to secure employment providing her with a safe work environment, and an income to help support her family. I pray that you will know just how valuable your gift is to Shama Women and to these women in South Asia. Thank you for giving and helping to support them.
Alannah Pang is a blogger, newlywed, and a child of God who writes about finding the goodness in the simplicity of life, and finding joy in the ordinary. Find her at RoseandBliss.com.