Bringing a smile through a haircut

Vizag based hairdresser G Charan Kumar has been offering a unique service of giving free haircuts to orphan and differently-abled children in the city

February 16, 2018 04:47 pm | Updated 04:47 pm IST

Champions of change Hairdresser Charan Kumar after giving a makeover to differently-abled children

Champions of change Hairdresser Charan Kumar after giving a makeover to differently-abled children

Hari Krishna can never forget the day when he got his first proper haircut 12 years ago. “It was a Ram Charan haircut,” the visually challenged boy smiles gleefully. He could imagine how stylish he looked with the hairstyle of his favourite actor then. A haircut for him had always been something else till then – where he would be made to sit and sometimes stand with his head bent; the barber would go snip, snip, snip and be done in less than a minute with a few cuts here and there that Krishna would be left to nurse later. Then one day his Charan Anna came to his school. “He simply came to me and said he would give me a haircut. It was so much fun. My hair felt lighter and I think I looked good,” says Krishna, now a teenager.

That day also changed the life of G Charan Kumar, a Visakhapatnam based hairdresser, lovingly known as Charan Anna by many kids in the city. “I visited this school for the visually challenged children and came across this little boy Hari Krishna with a bleeding ear. The wound had occurred when he was given a haircut. I was deeply moved by the sight and told the boy I would return to give him a haircut,” he says. A few days later, Charan was invited by the school to give a haircut to the children. The unbridled joy in the faces of the kids after the haircut left a lasting impact on him. Thus began his journey to offer a unique service of giving haircuts free of cost to orphan children in the city.

A teamwork

Today, Charan dedicates one day of the week (Tuesdays) to visit orphanages, schools and homes for destitute and differently-abled children to give them a makeover and change the way the world sees them. A school drop-out at the age of seven due to family circumstances, Charan used to work at his uncle’s salon in the initial years. Later, he worked at various salons, did a professional course in Hyderabad and set up his own hair studio in the city. But it was the visit to the visually challenged school that changed the way he perceived the beauty industry. Over the years, Charan founded a group called New Trendz, named after his salon, with a team of 15 hairdressers from other salons in the city who give a free makeover to these special children in the city. His group has even spread to Hyderabad and Mumbai where similar initiatives are being carried out by hairdresser teams.

Come Tuesday and the kids eagerly wait for their Charan Anna. “This is a happiness that money cannot buy!” says Charan. He and his team have given hundreds of haircuts to children, once completing 150 haircuts in four hours at a school for the visually challenged, an experience that Charan says wouldn’t have been possible without the “fantastic” teamwork. From fun spikes, short-crops to layered bouncy cuts, they give a complete makeover to the children and also explain to them about personal hygiene. “I have seen even a severely disabled child respond joyfully with her eyes and touch after a haircut. We make videos capturing such priceless moments and upload them in social media for the public to see and be more sensitive towards these kids,” he says.

Unique fashion show

Charan now is gearing up to host a unique fashion show with the orphan and differently-abled children of Icha Foundation, Prajwal Vani, Netra Vidyalaya and Papa Home at VUDA Children’s Arena on February 20. Around 60 children will be given a complete makeover by Charan, his team and make-up artist Samaira Wallani from Mumbai. “This is a dream come true for me and a culmination of five months of hardwork!” says Charan.

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