The founder of a Steenberg non-profit has been helping women start careers and organising pamper sessions for fellow community workers.
Karen Maarman’s Bethel Projects for Women runs feeding programmes and skills workshops at schools. The focus, she says, is on empowering women to “give women a sense of selfworth.”
She runs hair-care training from her home salon in Military Road.
“We give them a certificate after a month’s course in hair and beauty. I would call up the upmarket salons and we would show them what we have.”
Two of her former students are now studying hair-care at Cape Town College after she applied for bursaries for them.
Rowena Fisher, who is originally from Steenberg but now lives in Gordon’s Bay, is one of them.
“It’s a three-year course, and I am going for a trade test soon,” she said.
“I wanted to apply to work on a cruise ship, but I will be getting married soon, so I changed my mind.”
Samantha Marky, of Lotus River, started the hair-care course at the same time as Ms Fisher. She met Ms Maarman a few years ago.
“I met her through someone who I used to work with in Retreat. I needed to work in a salon, and I went to Karen where she helped to apply for my bursary. Karen is a very goodhearted person. My goal is to open my own business when I’m done studying.”
Meanwhile, Ms Maarman has also arranged pamper sessions for four women in the community. Two of them are widows and the other two help to feed the needy.
Lucinda Titus, of Hillview, said she had found it hard to find time for herself in between running a soup kitchen and looking after her family.
“I have two small kids and a husband. So I have no time for myself. Since the lockdown, I have been telling my husband how I wish for a pampering day and just where I am taken care of for a change. One morning I was sleeping and I got a phone call from Karen. She wanted to give me a make-over and with a photo-shoot, and, wow, I was just amazed.
“Karen is a godsend for me because I really needed it. I feel so much better about myself.”