Mehreen Syed’s vocational training centre is teaching Trans community to become makeup and hair artists

Benefitting the Society

Mehreen Syed years ago, set in motion the International Fashion Academy Pakistan (IFAP), a vocational training centre that aims to empower individuals struggling to find financial empowerment and works in conjunction with ICARE, an NGO focused on helping the underprivileged. According to Syed, to date the institute has jumpstarted the careers of 5,026 trainees, making them proficient in hair and makeup skills and grooming them so that they get hired at salons, offices or as beauty advisors that help market beauty products. These trainees have included members of the transgender community in the past but this time, in collaboration with the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) and Akhuwat, IFAP has sought to specifically train 35 Trans people. In her capacity as an ambassador of the transgender community designated by the PSDF, Syed and her team visited Lahore’s transgender communities and gathered a group of people interested in learning hair and makeup skills. “We have trained them but just as significantly, we have worked on building their self-confidence,” explains Syed. “They have a very strong sense for aesthetics and I feel that they work with greater focus than their female counterparts.” The financial empowerment of the transgender community is a step in the right direction.