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Mbaya Ndiaye

Mbaya Ndiaye

MbayaNdiaye is a brave and courageous woman from West Africa, Senegal. At a time when her peers were expected to stay home and curb their activities to the limitations of housekeeping duties, she learned a trade and sought to become a difference maker for her family. Mbaya embraced hair styling as a profession and was able to make a living in the suburbs of her hometown, where poverty and economic instability was the norm. As a single mother of three children, she worked tirelessly to build a strong base of clientele and was the most renown hair braider in her community. Clients touted her hairstyle savviness, cherished her charismatic smiles and openness to negotiate the cost of her services to accommodate their needs. She emigrated to America, confident that she wouldn't be without employment. Sure enough, she was exposed to the countless opportunities upon her arrival to the United States. While she was hired as a hair braider, customers flocked to her by word of mouth and referrals from previous clients, assured that they wouldn't be disappointed. She overcame the challenges of cultural shock and language barriers to building strong relationships with the African American community, which had been the bulk of her customers. Clients appreciated her display of African culture through the garments she wears and the food she shares, very proud of her origin.

Her experience would spark a sense of entrepreneurship that propelled her desires for becoming self-employed. Even being illiterate didn't stop her quest for becoming a beauty salon owner. She opened up shop in San Diego and has been in operation since 1999. Nearly two decades later, we can now recount the numerous contributions and influences that Mbayahas made in her new found community. Her beauty salon, Touba Hair Braiding, is the most popular in the San Diego area. With the advent of technology, Mbaya utilizes social media to keep up with the trend by creating a website, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and Twitter. She set up a communication platform through which clients can get instant quotes for various braid designs.

Touba Hair Braiding's most significant competitors used to all be former employees, and they all learned invaluable skills from Mbaya to become shop owners today. There are some among them whom she brought from Africa, gave sponsorship to and taught the craft. Many others are African braiders from other states who heard of Touba Hair Braiding and decided to come aboard. Being foreigners and needing to settle in San Diego, Mbaya gave African workers housing, employment, and guidance for navigating through the U.S. Immigration system to gain U.S. citizenship. She encourages the young African women, who came here in pursuit of the American dream to go to school and learn the language. She advises them not to limit their potential to hair braiding, but to pursue higher learning and seek to become amongst the elites. Mbaya contributes to workers' childcare costs to alleviate their financial burden and allow them to take courses and work. Furthermore, she has helped them get consignment for car financing and establish a strong credit history. In regards to her contribution abroad, Mbaya offers monthly remittance to more than five households in Senegal, and she's been doing it ever since she came to America.