Showa Sahle recently gave a party at La Migliore, her hair salon at 644 Santa Cruz Ave in Menlo Park. Clients, neighbors and "friends of friends" enjoyed music, goodies and wine, with proceeds benefiting Lambadina Foundation, founded to fight human trafficking.
Human trafficking is something Ms. Sahle knows about first hand. A native of Ethopia, she has lost three of her cousins, ages 17, 20 and 22, there. All were abducted and eventually shot, despite the family paying out thousands of dollars in ransom.
"It's all over Africa," said Ms. Sahle of human trafficking, "especially Eritrea and Ethiopia. The forces behind it are so powerful, it's going to take a long time to stop it."
This is the third year Ms. Sahle has raised funds for the foundation. Her yearly event featured scarves donated by Dolma, the shop next door to La Migliore, and jewelry, including a bracelet designed by Ms. Sahle. She and her husband, Abraham, also send computers and school clothes to aid Ethiopian children.
"I used to go back a lot to see my mom, but she's here now, living with my sister," says Ms. Sahle.
Showa Sahle has lived in the Bay Area for 26 years. "I first came here on my honeymoon. I was 17 and had a cousin at Stanford," It was love at first sight.
From a highly educated family ("My grandfather said I would make a good lawyer"), Ms. Sahle chose a career in the world of fashion and hair design, working in San Francisco and traveling to Europe and London.
Today Ms. Sahle is an avid Menlo Park booster and business owner. She has two hair salons: La Migliore and Piccola Bella (at 1143 Crane St.).
"It's all about community," she says. "I've made a lot of great friends in Menlo Park. I love it here."