Indonesia Expat

Getting the chop for children’s cancer charity YKAKI

On 15 February 2015—International Childhood Cancer Day—over 1,000 altruistic individuals descended on Lotte Shopping Avenue, Central Jakarta, to undergo a makeover that just might make over a cancer sufferer’s life.

Statistics show that one in 600 children will suffer from cancer before they reach 16 years of age; and that every year, 4,100 new cases of childhood cancer are expected in Indonesia. Cancer is hard for anyone, at any time, but possibly most of all for children from disadvantaged backgrounds whose families cannot always afford the care needed. This is something local charity Yayasan Kasih Anak Kanker Indonesia (YKAKI) works to address. But one hardship YKAKI cannot always solve is the frequent loss of one of society’s signifiers of beauty—our hair—due to chemotherapy.

This was the inspiration for Engeline Tjia, Marketing Director of Lotte Mart Indonesia, to initiate the event, entitled Hair for Love. “I had a friend who had a mastectomy and lost her hair. I felt it was a double whammy,” Tjia explains, also pointing out that Indonesians have beautiful, lustrous hair that is perfect for making into wigs (if the cut piece is over 15-20cm) or eyelashes.

Over 1,200 donors signed up online before the event. The organisers expect to raise something in the region of Rp.2 billion in profits after expert wigmakers D’Eyeko have worked their magic, all of which will go to YKAKI. The event featured celebrity stylists, presenters, and make-up artists, as well as speeches from survivors to inspire those waiting for the chop.

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