The Streets Barber – Clean Cut, Clean Start
You know how when you leave the hairdressers you feel like a million dollars? Imagine how it would make you feel if you hadn’t been able to get a haircut for months, or even years, because you have been living on the streets.
One barber in Melbourne, Australia, has been trying to give homeless people a fresh start. He spends his only day off a week giving out free haircuts – and sometimes even treating his clients to a little extra.
Nasir Sobhani, 26, used to live in Canada and is a former drug addict. After spending time in rehab and managing to get clean about three years ago, he moved to Australia and become an apprentice barber.
One day, Sobhani spoke to someone who was cleaning the windows of the barbershop he was apprenticing in. He found out that the man was a recovering heroin addict who had been sober for a month.
After talking to the man a little longer, Sobhani managed to convince him to get a haircut to celebrate his month-long sobriety.
After the window cleaner’s new look was complete, his mother came along to proudly take a photo of her son, and it got the apprentice thinking.
“I used to see a homeless person and given them loose change and think, ‘I’ve done my part for the day,’” Sobhani explained. “But I realised that wasn’t enough.”
So about a year ago, Sobhani now trained up as a fully-fledged barber, he decided to use his new powers for good. Working six days a week, he would use his one day off to take off on his skateboard, barber kit in hand, and look out for people living on the streets.
And when he found them, he would talk to them, learn their story, and offer them a haircut, documenting their transformation on his Instagram account. He called this initiative Clean Cut, Clean Start.
It might not sound like a lot – a haircut, but remember what we said at the start. For people with little else, a haircut can make a world of difference. But more than that, Sobhani feels he really connects with his “street clients” because of his own past.
He doesn’t just cut their hair and skateboard away. He talks to them and reminds them that they are people too.
One time, he took his makeup artist friend along with him, who gave makeovers to some of the street workers. He also bought a new outfit for one of his clients, whose clothes were falling apart.
And his work has not gone unnoticed. He was the subject of a short PLGRM documentary called The Streets Barber, which you can check out below.
“They feel so ashamed of who they are,” Sobhani said. “So letting them know they are worthy of human interaction is actually the main thing here.”