NEW YORK — The onset of the holiday season often fills people with the desire to help those in need. The Body & Soul Wellness Program, a joint collaboration between the U.S. beauty industry and nonprofit charity group PARSA (Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation in Support of Afghanistan), founded by Mary MacMakin in 1996, has prompted people to do just that.

The organization, which was started in January, is heading the renovation of a beauty school — expected to be completed in January 2003 — that will give women in Kabul the opportunity to learn a trade. The curriculum has three modules — hair, makeup and business — that are designed to teach the women the skills they will need to run their own businesses.

Cofounder Terri Grauel, a beauty sessions stylist, noted that, to date, the majority of funds have come from beauty firms such as MAC Cosmetics and Matrix Essentials, which have helped by donating product, education and funding. Pivot Point, a beauty educator, has helped to develop the curriculum, and John Frieda, John Barrett and Frédéric Fekkai salons have also made donations. To date, more than $500,000 has been raised for the cause.

In an effort to generate additional funds, Grauel and her co-founder Patricia O’Connor, a marketing and business developmental consultant, have organized a fund-raiser that will run through the month of December. Top beauty professionals in New York, California and Washington, D.C., have agreed to offer their services at standard editorial rates — about $150 a hour for a minimum of two hours — with 50 percent of the proceeds going to Body & Soul. Services are not limited to people in the beauty industry; for more information, contact PARSA New York at 212-666-0427.

Grauel, who will go to Afghanistan to teach every four months for about two to three weeks, noted that she and O’Connor hope to raise approximately $20,000 with this project. "It is an opportunity to look and feel good while helping a fledgling industry get on its feet in another country," said O’Connor.

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