By Sara Abadi
One hair and beauty salon has brought their community together to provide essential food and goods for Doha residents hit by the economic impact of COVID-19.
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis,1.6 billion workers in the informal economy — that’s nearly half the global workforce — stand in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed, according to the International Labour Organisation. In Qatar, one salon has decided to help out at a local level.
Carolyn Collins is general manager of Roots Hair and Beauty Salon, which is based in Duhail. A woman who was collecting food for people with no salaries reached out to Carolyn and asked her to share the appeal on Roots’ Instagram.
Carolyn and her friends soon joined in. From a small delivery to three groups of people who had lost their jobs, the Roots team now helps over 70 groups and families, with food going out daily. They also collect and deliver other necessities including clothes, shoes, baby items, sanitary products and more. The salon itself is now acting as an informal headquarters for donations to come in to and deliveries to go out from.
Carolyn says she has been taken aback by the willingness of the community to come together and help those who have been laid off or put on leave without pay. “The generosity of the community has been absolutely phenomenal,” she told Doha News. “These are people who have always wanted to help but didn’t know how, and now they have an avenue.”
Women, in particular, have been significantly involved in the operation. “As soon as some of the women who are mothers heard about a lady who was feeding her baby by boiling water and rice, they wanted to do something to change that,” says Carolyn.
“We’re not a charity, we’re just a few women, using our savings and trying to help people in a crisis,” she adds.
Despite all the goodwill, Carolyn told Doha News that she has had to prioritise people’s needs. “Sometimes you have to be blunt with the people who have things, like an allowance, so the food gets to those who really need it,” she says.
Since she started doing her food runs, Carolyn has got countless messages from those she’s helped, thanking her and the others involved. “The most rewarding part is seeing the happiness on their faces,” Carolyn says.