Ex-drug offenders graduate from beauty school

The month-long course at the School of Make-up in Orchard Road helps women who were drug offenders gain entry-level jobs in the industry.
The month-long course at the School of Make-up in Orchard Road helps women who were drug offenders gain entry-level jobs in the industry. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Struggling with her divorce, Lena (not her real name) turned to drugs to find relief.

Instead, the 25-year-old mother of three was arrested in a raid for taking crystal methamphetamine, or "Ice", at a nightclub last year.

After spending six months in rehabilitation and another six in home detention, Lena is ready to start a new chapter of her life - as a budding make-up artist. She is one of six former drug offenders who graduated last month from a beautician training course supported by the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (Sana) and beauty product and fashion brand distributor Luxasia.

The month-long course at the School of Make-up in Orchard Road was tailored for the six women, aged between 18 and 31, to help them gain entry-level jobs in the industry.

A total of 20 women have graduated from the programme since 2013, said Sana executive director Abdul Karim, 53.

Many have found work as beauticians, said Sana senior counsellor Shakila Kresinin, 43, who coordinates the initiative. "One became a freelance make-up artist and even did her own runway show in Orchard Road," she said. While most opt to become freelance beauticians, two of the 20 have full-time jobs.

Lena said completing the course was a great accomplishment for her.

"I have always loved make-up and would have loved to sign up for a course like this. But course fees are high and I have three children to raise, so I would never have been able to afford it," she said. She added that she is now looking for a job where she can use her new skills.

Other programmes by Sana and its community partners include a construction sector apprenticeship scheme, and one that employs former drug offenders to pave roads.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-drug offenders graduate from beauty school'. Print Edition | Subscribe