Nur Azmina and other volunteers who cut hair for the poor, standing in front of the newly launched pop-up salon. Photo: Yasmin Lane.

The charity PERTIWI is well known for its work in feeding the homeless. Every few days, they distribute food around Kuala Lumpur, forming a makeshift soup kitchen with volunteers. But aside from food, their service has become known for another reason. One of the PERTIWI volunteers, Nur Azmina binti Ahmad Burhan, has been offering free haircuts to the poor and homeless.

Nur Azmina, who is a trained hairdresser, has been featured in the media for her voluntary work. Many nights, she will stand for hours to cut hair. While many of us might think of providing the homeless with absolute necessities for survival, like food and water, Nur Azmina goes further. By giving a haircut to those who cannot afford to go to a salon, she gives them a sense of dignity and belonging.

Now, London-based architecture company Studio Soufflé has teamed up with PERTIWI to create a pop-up salon for the poor. Nur Azmina had noticed that fewer women than men approached her for a haircut. Together with a family friend, she came up with the idea of a pop-up hair salon that could give the women more privacy during their haircut.

Studio Soufflé rose to the challenge by creating an inflatable pod that can be easily assembled and dismantled in different locations. Sponsored by a group of architects, the pop-up hair salon was launched earlier this week. Judging by the long queue of customers on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, it was a great success. Here’s to people like Nur Azmina and her fellow volunteers – you really make the world a better place.

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