Trainees are taught how to cut hair in the Deaf Development Program (DDP) job training project Barber Shop which is located next to the head office of DDP in Phnom Penh

The trainees practice on each other and the general public can also walk in for a discounted hair cut.

Most students in DDP spend two years learning Khmer sign language, literacy, numeracy and life skills then spend a year on a job training course such as sewing, cooking, barbering, wood carving, metal crafts, electrical fan repairing, beauty and hair dressing. The aim is to give deaf people a path to an independent future.

Rattanak (28) is deaf and caught polio aged five, which has affected his mobility. He had an isolated childhood, unable to communicate with his family or community until being introduced to the Deaf Development Program (DDP), a Caritas Australia partner, based in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Rattanak attended the DDP in 2009 and graduated as a barber in 2012. He set up his barbershop outside his family home, which has since proven to be highly successful.

Rattanak lives with his father Chheng, his mother Ki and his wife Phirom in Kandal province, about an hours drive from Phnom Penh.

He married his wife Phirom in 2016 after an introduction and talking through social media. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/CARITAS AUSTRALIA

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