By Felicity Evans, BBC
A woman launching an innovative new comb for afro hair wants to use her experience to get other young black women into engineering.
“I would have loved a young me to have been taught by a black woman,” said Swansea-based Youmna Mouhamad. She received an enterprise fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering to help her develop the product. Fewer than 2% of engineers are women from ethnic minorities.
“I want to be part of the change, so that a young person that comes after me is in a place where they feel much more heard and much more accepted,” said Youmna. She was doing a PhD in physics when she first got the idea for the Nyfasi Deluxe Detangler, which provides an easier way of conditioning natural afro hair.
Youmna supported her studies by working as a nanny and the little girl she looked after used to cry with pain when her hair was washed and conditioned.”The whole house would be full of tears,” she remembers. “I wanted her to have a better experience.
“I shifted to engineering because I always had a desire to work on things that I can touch with my hands, and I love the process of taking an idea and actually creating something.” Once Youmna had developed a prototype she looked for women with afro hair to join a focus group to test it. Lenient and her nine-year-old daughter, Goodness, were among the volunteers. “I have got three girls and I do their hair myself,” said Lenient.
“The washing process is dreadful because they don’t want to. Why? Because it’s quite painful for them, especially the combing part.” “And this detangler, the first time I tried it, it was really easy.” Goodness agreed, adding: “The normal comb feels like someone is pulling your hair, when it’s tangled it hurts. But with this comb, it’s very soft and easy to untangle.”
Click here to read the full article on BBC.