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Hairdresser shares skills with women in Nepal

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A hairdresser from Birmingham has flown to a remote part of Asia to share her skills with vulnerable women.

Helen Davies says she was left humbled after training 20 aspiring stylists in the deprived village of Surkhet, nestled between the Himalayan mountains in Nepal.

Armed with new skills on how to cut and style hair, the training has helped the women earn a livelihood.

She teamed up with the Hairdressers Without Borders group for the project.

"When I arrived in Nepal, it was the first place I had travelled to where I thought 'wow, this is extreme poverty'," Ms Davies told BBC WM.

She added: "One of the girls, was learning [a skill], not for money but for food - that was really heart-breaking.

"She was learning to cut hair so she could offer something within her village in exchange for food and water."

Another student, a widower mum-of-two, told Ms Davies she was now able to raise her prices from 100 rupees to 500 rupees (£3.10) which would provide money for her to feed her family.

The free course was delivered by the non-profit organisation in the village's only school, an eco-friendly property which was built 20 years ago, Ms Davies said.

Many of the pupils would travel for hours from their homes in the mountains in order to learn how to attend the classes.

"It was the first chance that anyone had of receiving any education," the hairdresser, who runs Pickles and Co, in the Jewellery Quarter said.

While having to live for two weeks with limited access to hot water and electricity, she described the encounter as unforgettable and "humbling" and was looking forward to her return trip.

"No one can have that experience and not realise that certain things in life just don't matter - it makes you a better person," she said.

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