A high-end men’s salon in Dubai is offering free haircuts and beard trims worth up to Dh220 ($59) to jobseekers this Ramadan.
CG Barbershop in Dubai Media City will accept those who are out of work and have interviews lined up.
Co-owner Francesca Gamal said she wanted to extend a helping hand to men looking for work by making them feel confident "while selling themselves to their potential new employer".
“We’re a small business and we opened in September 2019. Less than six months later we had to temporarily shut because of the lockdown,” she said.
“Like many small businesses worldwide, we were impacted by the pandemic. We’ve recognised that if we can help ease the burden for some people, then we will.
“A haircut is a luxury spend for most so we want to help in any way we can.”
The barbershop has joined forces with Stop and Help, a Facebook group set up to help families struggling during the pandemic.
With five barbers on staff, the team has so far given fresh cuts to seven residents in a week and will continue to offer designated slots throughout the month of Ramadan.
A typical haircut at CG Barbershop costs Dh150, while a haircut and beard trim is Dh220.
Imthiyaz Haroon, 44, visited on Monday. Born in Sri Lanka, he has lived in the UAE for 14 years. He was made redundant from his job at a travel agency in February.
“Globally, the travel industry is bleeding because of the pandemic and lots of jobs have been lost.”
“The UAE community has kept me going since I was made jobless and people have helped supply groceries to me, my wife and my 11-year-old son," Mr Haroon said.
“I was doing fine before I was made redundant, so this is a new feeling for me and I just want to work again. I am looking for a salary between Dh8,000 to Dh10,000 a month.
"I have 24 years of experience in the travel industry but I can work as an admin co-ordinator, a business support worker, in sales – really anything."
Mr Haroon’s residency visa runs out on May 3 so he is hoping to find a new job before then. He also has a loan of Dh1,800 a month to pay off, as well as rent of Dh4,870, due next month.
A boost to morale
For father-of-two Adrian Carpio, 40, a free haircut was the boost he needed to continue his job search.
“The UAE people always have a way of helping others in the community in their time of need,” he said.
“I have been getting support from Stop and Help for a few months now. I lost my job as an engineer in April last year because of the pandemic.
"The new haircut has given me a morale boost and I feel like I could walk into a job interview tomorrow with bucketloads of confidence."
Mr Carpio, from the Philippines, enrolled in an electrical maintenance course after he was made redundant so he could “upskill and have a better chance at finding a job”.
Now, he is looking for a role as an electrical maintenance engineer, a facilities engineer or handyman.
First opened in September 2019, CG Barbershop has also extended its help to sponsor a family during Ramadan.
Each week, the owners send a Dh500 grocery voucher to the family in Sharjah to buy food essentials and baby supplies.
Individuals looking to get a free haircut as part of the kindness initiative need to contact the Stop and Help team on Facebook and provide a few personal details. The group will also help tweak and refresh CVs.
Once vetted, the CG barbershop team will get in touch to arrange a suitable time and date for the trim.
To help accommodate the growing number of requests, the shop has extended its working day by two hours, so customers can visit the shop after iftar.
Jhet Borillo, 33, was one of three people at the barbers for a free haircut on Monday.
“I’ve been out of work since March last year and have had no luck finding a suitable job,” he said.
“I cannot go back to the Philippines as the UAE has become my home and it is a better life for me here.
“I can do a variety of jobs, including decorating, sales and e-commerce," said Mr Borillo.
“I’m feeling so good after getting my hair cut – it’s been months since I was able to afford it. It’s a luxury spend and tough to do when you’re out of work.”