Thursday, January 20

Londoner’s pampering day for homeless women



A London businesswoman has organised a pampering day for homeless  in a bid to empower them” and “boost their self-worth.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, 34, said she organised the day with the Whitechapel Mission homeless charity in east London to help vulnerable women believe in themselves.

Ms Mohammadian-Molina, who used to run a beauty business, said her team of beauticians would transform a room at the charity’s headquarters in east London into a professional-style salon offering free hair, makeup and nail treatments.

The pampering afternoon, which expects to host around 30 women on Friday, coincides with the Whitechapel Mission’s weekly women-only sessions where homeless women, victims of domestic abuse and prostitutes can come to talk about their unique problems.

Ms Mohammadian-Molina told the Standard personal experience had convinced her of the power of makeup and looking good.

She said: I grew up in Iran in the eighties and nineties when women could not wear a hint of makeup.

Then I moved to Britain and started working for an investment bank which was a very male-dominated environment.

I quickly realised I felt empowered and capable when I looked good. Makeup made me feel like I could get up and achieve.

She said the idea for the pampering day came to her while volunteering at Whitechapel Mission with investment bank Morgan Stanley.

She said: I noticed that most of the people were men and very few women came so I decided I wanted to do something tailored specifically to women.

There are so many men at the centre that it can often be a bit much for women, a bit intimidating.

I hope for these women feeling good about their appearance could be the first step towards believing in themselves and their ability to change their lives, to get back into society.

If you’ve been the victim of domestic violence for years I can imagine it makes you feel worthless.

It’s about giving them back their dignity and showing them we are all worth as much as we believe we are.

Tony Miller, director of Whitechapel Mission, welcomed the initiative and said he hoped it could become a regular event.

He told the Standard: We need to raise these women’s self-esteem to try and get them to understand their true value.

We want to say ‘girls you’re worth more than this and we want you to understand that.

Something as daft as sitting and talking while someone does someone’s nails can make the biggest difference to somebody who has never had that experience before. It’s an intimate thing.

As a charity we’re often asked about positive results but sometimes it’s just about acknowledging that someone is a person and has value.