As an organization working with children and youth suffering from cancer since 2003, we have experienced various problems and challenges regarding the loss of hair and procurement of medical wigs (orthopaedic aids) for our little patients.
The Health Insurance Institute of the Federation of BiH does not cover the costs of this type of medical aid regardless of one’s age, gender or medical diagnosis, while the local and international insurers treat such aids differently, depending on the case.
Another challenge we have faced is the general lack of wigmakers as wig making in Bosnia and Herzegovina is dying out since such practice and curriculum is thrown out of the secondary school training for hairdressers and young people are ignorant about this type of training or work.
The first segment of the project aims to improve emotional and physical health of haematology-oncology patients and a reintegration of vulnerable groups into the family, school or broader community with the provision of medical wigs. Wigs from the Association’s workshop are available free of charge to every child with temporary or permanent hair loss so they can restore their self-esteem and successfully integrate in their community.
The goal of the second segment of the project is to establish a wig making workshop and training for certified wig makers to educate the next generation of wig makers and revive wig making in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is dying out. The wig making workshop was opened on 30 November 2017 and a ten-month training for wig makers began on 1 December 2017. The training is conducted by Jasmina Hadžić Ajanović, the chief wig maker of the Chamber Theatre 55. A total of 12 candidates were selected to learn wig making skills during the ten-month training and acquire the title of a certified wig maker in the final assignment. The space and the specialised equipment in the workshop are adjusted for the preparation and making of wigs from natural, human hair.
The goal of the third segment of the project is self-sustainability of the wig making workshop and expansion of services to all persons who have suffered or are suffering hair loss, and the wider public in BiH, the region and within our umbrella organisation Childhood Cancer International at the level of the European Union.
So far, we have made and delivered 38 wigs. The youngest beneficiary is 3 years old and the eldest is 18.
The first public campaign of donating hair for children’s wigs took place at the Sarajevo City Centre on 15 February 2017 on the International Childhood Cancer Day. During 2018, campaigns were held in Tuzla, Bihać, Vitez, Tešanj, Zenica, Banja Luka, Mostar and Sarajevo.
We are using this opportunity to thank everyone, adults and children, from all areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the world for donating their hair.
ONCE YOU DONATE HAIR…
… Your hair is registered and sorted, and then disinfected, treated with shampoo and conditioner and rinsed with lukewarm water. It is then left to air dry.
Finally, the hair is classified, brushed and sorted by length, colour and quality. Every ponytail is tied with a ribbon at the top. The hair prepared like this is used for making wigs.
A children’s medical wig usually takes between 50 and 60 hours to make and around 500 grams of prepared natural, chemically untreated human hair from six different donors is used in the process. The colour and length are chosen by our beneficiaries on the basis of their photographs taken before hair loss.