Nasir Sobhani is a former drug addict turned barber who helps the homeless population of Melbourne. “Sometimes, when you don’t care for yourself anymore, you give up hope and so when you give up hope you lose sight of what’s beautiful and that beautiful thing is yourself,” he said. “So if you can be physically beautiful then that can spark a change on the inner beauty,” Sobhani says.
After hitting rock bottom, Sobhani was able to turn his life around and found a new addiction. Hei is known as the street barber and spreads love and light to all of the people he meets. “I love people, and I love cutting hair. This is my passion. This is what makes me happy. The joy I see in a person after getting groomed brings me joy. I used to be a drug addict and I didn’t care about anybody else. Now that i am sober, serving others is the best high I have ever felt. Sharing the voice of the unheard is my new drug. I love being The Street Barber.”
“It really is about adding confidence to a person who’s experiencing disadvantage because if you feel good about yourself you project confidence and that’s going to have a flow-on effect when they are selling the magazine on the street and that will mean they have a positive outlook.”
Sobhani first had the idea for the initiative when he moved to Melbourne from Canada in 2012, following his completion of rehab. At the time he was working as an apprentice barber and got into a conversation with a man who was cleaning the windows of the barber shop, a man who happened to be a recovering heroin addict. The man had been sober for about a month and wanted to celebrate his abstinence with a haircut.
“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,” he told the Herald Sun. “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.”
Through his work, Sobhani hopes to make his clients 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,” he told the Herald Sun. “So letting them know that they are worthy of human interaction is actually the main thing here.
Image Credit: The Streets Barber