Meet the beautiful Sara Benjamin Cherian, a trustee on the Board of The Cherian Foundation who is doing her bit for the cancer patients suffering from hair loss
She wears many hats. An entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a social worker and a mother, Sara Benjamin Cherian, a trustee on the Board of The Cherian Foundation, spearheads the wig donation drive and is raring to go. A commerce graduate from Loyola College, Sara worked for a while with her father handling the business of making and supplying wigs before she completed a Masters in International Business from Bordeaux Business School in France.
“I used to work with my dad and handled the factory. I moved abroad for a while and joined the business again as I knew that this is what I really wanted to do. It was a natural transition for me since my family has been in this business for the last 40 years. I felt our domestic market wasn’t mature enough. Although we had many clients across the world, I felt we could help the Indians as well. In the domestic market, people still have a phobia towards the whole wig scene. They have to be educated. It might be a gradual evolution, but there would be a change. With improved technology we have evolved in making the wigs as natural as possible, making them look like an extension. I’ve come a full circle from learning the basics in the business to now heading a division,” states Sara.
Talking of The Cherian Foundation (TCF), a private charitable trust based in Chennai, founded in 2003, Sara says, “At TCF, we want to expand opportunities for those who struggle to meet their basic needs by extending our resources. In our scope of activities, we focus on three key areas- educational support, health care and community participation. One of our main initiatives is to provide wigs free of cost to economically disadvantaged women and children who experience hair loss while undergoing chemotherapy or due to alopecia. The Cherian Foundation aims at supporting cancer patients who experience hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment. We strongly believe that this noble act will bring a smile upon many, thereby making a meaningful difference in the lives of these patients. The Foundation also conducts hair donation drive to mobilise hair towards making wigs for cancer patients. Hair loss is the most apparent physical sign of the battle against cancer. In the case of alopecia there is no known cause or cure. Its impact is more significant in the economically lower strata where long hair is considered an integral part of beauty.”
Besides serving on the Board of The Cherian Foundation, Sara heads the Retail Business at Raj Global Holdings wherein she develops and markets hair products (wigs, extensions, toppers closures etc.) shampoo, conditioner and accessories for their international and domestic clients. Sara has served as the Chairperson of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) Community College and then as the Vice-President of the YWCA, one of the youngest members to serve in such a capacity. “As my work is progressing I feel I have a social responsibility as well. Apart from the foundation I’m an active member of the YWCA and the Ladies Circle. We recently donated 350 wigs to the Adyar Cancer Institute. If there’s anyone from an economically challenged background, we can donate wigs to them. We also support The Cherian Foundation and the Adyar Cancer Institute,” shares Sara who has also built a children’s play park – Happy Place at the Adyar Cancer Institute in collaboration with Madras Myalpore Round Table 3 and Madras Mylapore Ladies Circle 4. The Happy Place was acknowledged as an outstanding project by the National Ladies’ Circle. Sara currently serves on the advisory committee of the Ladies Circle India. She is an avid traveller and has travelled to 30 countries. She is married to Vivek Anand Parachur and has two daughters, Kinara and Sunaira.
- As told to Namita Gupta.