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Fled the Taliban, now owner of 69-year old Hamilton hairdressing school

Fled the Taliban, now owner of 69-year old Hamilton hairdressing school

Sima Sakha was barely a teenager and living in northern Afghanistan in 1995. Originally born in Kabul, as part of the Hazara community, which is a subsect of the Shia religion of Islam. The thing with most Hazara is that they appear Asian and in Afghanistan, they experience discrimination.

This made for a difficult childhood for Sima. At the age of 10, she and her family moved to northern Afghanistan in the mid-nineties where many of the Hazara people reside. After living in relative peace for 3 years, the Taliban came intending to force the conversion of the Shias to Suni.

When they found out, they only had minutes to escape and had to leave their possessions behind and head for the mountains. So they, along with nearly a million others fled to the mountains to avoid the Taliban.

After only two weeks, they realized that it was no longer safe for them. With no food or possessions, they borrowed money from some relatives to take a bus to Pakistan where they lived for almost five years. During this time, Sima and her family were forced to work for very low wages and could not see a future living in Pakistan.

They found out about an organization also helps relocate displaced persons and offered to relocate her to a region in the world that has a large Ismaili community, Canada.

In 2003, Sima, along with her parents, a brother, and a sister finally arrived in her new home, Hamilton, Ontario Canada. With the help of the local Ismaili community, Sima received her first job, working at Kentucky Fried Chicken (Limeridge mall) which is where she slowly learned to speak English.

Up to this point, Sima only had a grade eight education, so in 2005 she decided to attend St. Charles continuing education in downtown Hamilton where she received her high school equivalency in 2007.

One of the members of her community owned a hair salon and asked Sima if she would like to volunteer to learn some additional career skills. Sima immediately fell in love with the profession and decided to become a hairdresser.

She landed at Bruno’s Schools of Hair design which offered evening courses, allowing Sima to continue to work. Sima would work at Jimmy the Greek at MapleView Mall from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm and then walk over to Total Image salon (also in the mall) and work from 2:00 pm until 9:00 pm. She did this six days per week while also attending Bruno’s for two evenings per week for classes (while also learning English on the fly). Upon graduating, she was hired for full-time work at Total Image.

Then, at the end of 2012, Sima enrolled in Mohawk College, choosing to take business accounting, a two-year course. Her initial one year off, turned into four when she opted to take further courses in payroll, and taxation management, followed by a coop placement.

She started working as a manager for Great Clips on Nebo and Rymal roads in Hamilton while now teaching at her alma mater, Brunos.

When Mr. Morrison, the owner of Bruno’s was ready to retire in 2018 he suggested Sima buy the company from him. Sima eventually bought the facility in 2021.

Today, Sima and her sister Shaima (a silent partner) have made a life for themselves as Canadians and Hamiltonians, while employing nearly a dozen staff and providing exceptional career skills to those looking for careers in beauty.

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