Carthika Sujith will travel to her hometown in Kerala to donate her flowing locks to a cancer patient thanks to Hair for Hope India.
Dubai – As nine-year-old Carthika Sujith heads back to India for a summer vacation later this month, it’s not just her UAE friends she’ll be bidding adieu to. She’ll be waving goodbye to her hair too — all 15 inches of it.
For the Our Own English High School (OOEHS) Sharjah student, the school summer holidays is not just about having fun with friends and family, it’s about helping strangers too.
In a few weeks, Carthika will travel to her hometown in Kerala to donate her flowing locks to a cancer patient thanks to Hair for Hope India, an initiative born from the UAE-based Protect Your Mom (PYM) Campaign.
“When I told my friends I was cutting my hair they didn’t quite believe me, but I’ll show them,” she told Khaleej Times.
During the selfless trip, Carthika plans to cut her hair in front of a packed school assembly before giving a speech on cancer awareness and the importance of helping those in need.
“I am so happy to be doing this as it is for such a good cause. My aim is to show other children that cutting your hair to help others is not such a big deal.”
Last year, 45 of Carthika’s fellow OOEHS Sharjah students donated their hair to adult and children cancer patients in India, but as her own hair was too short at the time, she could not donate.
But that didn’t stop the inspirational youngster from continuing to spread awareness on cancer.
“I performed as part of a Flash Mob at a mall in Ajman for the PYM campaign. That’s when I first heard of the Hair For Hope India initiative and I knew I wanted to do it when my hair was long enough,” she said.
Hair for hope India and Hair for Hope UAE were born on the Protect Your Mom Facebook page.
Founded by Dubai-based Indian expatriate, Premi Mathew, the initiative has seen more than 4,000 residents donate hair to more than 400 chemotherapy patients in India. “Since its inception, over 400 people have been given a free wig in India,” Mathew said.
The first major campaign which has held events in five states in India, Hair for Hope has made hair donation a very common practice in the country.
Students from Dubai have played a key role in the initiative’s success and Mathew said they will continue to play a key part in organising events this year too.
“So many of the students, like Carthika, want to use their summer holiday as a way to spread awareness. I use Facebook as my global office and run the campaign from it.”
For Carthika’s mother, her daughter’s willingness to help others at such a young age is inspiring. Though they are yet to confirm which school in Kerala will hold the event, she said cutting the hair in front of other students will be a great way of encouraging others her age to do so.
“Hair is hair, it will grow back before the school term starts again, but for these cancer patients it will have a huge impact on their lives.