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Looking back at Professor Helen Storey’s beauty co-op, in Za’atari Refugee Camp for #WorldRefugeeDay


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Published date
20 June 2017

Today is World Refugee Day – a day to honour the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees across the world. Professor Helen Storey’s work at Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan grows and evolves and as Helen prepares for another trip to Jordan we wanted to share the news about LCF’s beauty initiative, that was launched in the camp in May.

If you attended the first of this year’s Better Lives lectures, you may remember that as part of the ongoing projects taking place with UNHCR & Za’atari Refugee Camp, we asked the audience to support this by being part of a make-up amnesty and donations were given in abundance – over £35,000 worth of makeup was donated by brands, publications and members of the public. These donations were taken to Za’atari in May, when Professor Helen Storey was joined by renowned make-up artist Lucy Wearing and Liz McLafferty from the International Partnerships and Development Team at LCF, to deliver a certified beauty course to the women in the camp.

Left to right: Lucy Wearing, Liz Mclafferty, a graduate beauty student and resident of Za’atari Camp, and Professor Helen Storey

Talking about the workshop Helen said:

The world needs beauty and the women of Za’atari Refugee camp know of its power. Following our visits to work with the refugees last year, we know that their well-being and wishes to experience themselves as positive entrepreneurial forces, is greatly increased, by sharing our ability to help skill them up and pass on our knowledge and materials to them.

The idea of the beauty co-op, a global first for a refugee camp, was born out of these new friendships and our wish to help and allow these brave women to flourish, and in turn, train up others to fulfil their potential and spread their beauty and endeavouring spirit into the lives of others.

Helen recently spoke to NRS – International – a family-run company that manufactures and develops products for the humanitarian, public health and development sectors. Helen is working with NRS on the forthcoming Love Coats project. Commenting on the beauty co – op she mentioned that it “is a new opportunity to connect accredited UAL training courses to the real prospect of new female led enterprises in Za’atari. Beauty, in its widest definition, will allow us to explore with the women everything, from the power of poetry, to the skills to create and make new perfumes and soaps, and again, explore how small businesses can be set up to both secure an income, but also support mentoring and the flourishing of other young women, creating a bridge between education and earning a living.”

The Love Coats project takes place at Za’atari Refugee Camp this summer. About the project Helen said:

All the coats will be made by the Tiger Girls themselves. This project came out of an afternoon of conversation with the Tiger Girls last September when they were talking about their hopes and fears for the future. Three themes emerged ­- a love of fashion and making, ( a wish to be skilled in making therefore), the wish to be able to gift to others, and a fear of the cold of winter. We feel that a project which is inspired by and co created with the Tiger Girls, will show them that we are listening to their wishes & the nature of their lives and in return, we are sharing how fashion can play its part in realising some of their hopes and dreams. Our best chance of peace in the world is to utilise and place a higher value on female energy, at an unprecedented scale ­ Young women are key to bringing the balance our world needs back into alignment with nature once again ­ every second I spend with the Tiger Girls ( whether they aware of this, or not) I know I am in the presence of this, in the epicentre, the very crucible of this possibility.

Stay tuned to LCF News for more on the project over the summer.