26 year old Nasir Sobhani, of Melbourne, Australia, works as a barber during the week, but his work does not end there. On his only day off, Sobhani, also known as the Streets Barber gives free haircuts to homeless people.
Sobhani began the initiative, “Clean Cut, Clean Start,” a year ago to celebrate being sober, to which he credits his Baha’i faith, and to help people achieve a new beginning. Sobhani’s initiative has been featured in a short documentary titled, “The Streets Barber.”
Sobhani got the idea for this initiative after moving from Canada to Australia, upon completion of rehab three years ago. He worked as an apprentice barber and one day had a conversation with a man cleaning the windows of the barber shop. Through the conversation, Sobhani learned that the man was a recovering heroin addict who had been sober for a month. To celebrate this achievement, Sobhani gave the man a haircut. The man’s mother stopped by afterwards and took pictures of her son’s new cut and was emotional at seeing the transformation.
“It was at this point that I realized that if I could help encourage this change for a guy and all I’m doing is just what I love doing, then maybe I should keep doing it. You already have a newfound confidence when you get a haircut, and now imagine what it’s like for someone who’s really been in a bad place in their life,” Sobhani told the Herald Sun.
Sobhani feels connected to the people he serves because of his own life experience: “I remember the days of when I just used to just hate myself and not even look at the mirror without crying because I would just be so disgusted at who I was. And I find that embedded in a lot of my street clients. They feel so ashamed of who they are,” he said in the documentary.
Ultimately, Sobhani hopes to help his clients overcome the shame and make them feel valued, “A human interaction with them, companionship from someone who just genuinely wants to know about them is going to really help them out. So letting them know that they are worthy of human interaction is actually the main thing here.”