Nail salon gives back to people with disabilities

Aina Kiiyala

Local business Infinity Nails has announced a free nail training course for 10 wheelchair users.

The founder of the business and senior nail technician, Aina Kiiyala, says the gel nail course is at beginners’ level, covering how to do a gel manicure and pedicure, product knowledge, foot spas and business skills.

Kiiyala will host the training, which will enable the successful applicants to start their own businesses.

The aim of the initiative is to make an impact in the lives of wheelchair users, and to impart a skill that would empower them to earn an income, Kiiyala says.

“The training is specifically for people with disabilities, but the concept or theory that we are going to teach is exactly the same as what we already offer in our mainstream training courses.

“It’s going to be a one-day workshop, however, the successful students will be undergoing mentorship for a period of one month to ensure they are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to start off their journey,” she says.

Kiiyala says she wanted to do things differently and encourage the disadvantaged not to feel left out.

“Many are unable to access this industry due to a lack of funds, or the inability of trainers and training courses to accommodate their special needs,” she says.

For now, the business only targets wheelchair users, but Kiiyala says there are future plans to establish partnerships with experts who have experience in working with people with special needs to enable them to participate in additional courses, such as on make-up, lashes, and more.

“We encourage those with special needs who are able to use their hands to apply,” she says.

Infinity Nails was started in 2017, and began offering training courses in 2018, says Kiiyala, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology.

She says she started the business with her own savings.

“At that time, my sister encouraged me to just buy what I could to start practising on her. I began to think of a name for my business, whereby I wanted something with meaning. That is how I came up with ‘Infinity’, meaning till eternity.

“I immediately began doing my own nails and the nails of those around me. I have always strongly believed God has called me to this industry for a reason.

“With the little skills and knowledge I had, people started asking me to train them, and so the demand grew.”

Kiiyala says she started the business from a room in her parents’ house, and today the beauty studio in Windhoek North offers various services, including nail care, nail training, lash installation and waxing, she says.

She says many people may look down on the profession, but beauty services have become a necessity.

“This means there is now a higher demand for it. I would like to encourage those with a dream to remain focused on what they are doing.

“The business world is not a glamorous one. It is full of challenges, however, choose to do what you love most regardless. Working in this industry, you always have to remember what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, so be creative and innovative as this is how you stay relevant.”

So far, Infinity Nails has hosted training courses in Windhoek and at Ongwediva, Oshakati, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

The deadline for applications is 15 March.

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