Renegade Barber Gives Haircuts To The Homeless While Overcoming His Own Addiction
Nasir Sbohani has found a new drug that keeps him sober and on the path of righteous living: giving haircuts to the homeless.
Once overcome by his own personal battle with drug addiction, Sbohani, now known as the “Street Barber,” skateboards around the city of Melbourne and gives free cuts to homeless individuals on his days off. As Metro shares, he spends time talking to them in the hopes of inspiring them to start fresh.
Nasir credits much of his transformation to the tenets of his Baha’i faith and the volunteer work of giving haircuts, as it keeps him inspired on the daily to “never give up.”
In the video by PLGRM (above), Nasir was extraordinarily open about his past and his drug addiction:
“That’s why I started cutting hair. I love it so much, it became my new way of getting high, man. It’s my new drug.”
The philanthropic barber shares photos and stories of those he helps on Instagram, of which we are re-sharing below. Who knows – perhaps Sbohani’s inspiring story will help others across the world once again believe in themselves and the limitless opportunity for change.
“A haircut can do so much for someone. That’s why I name what I do ‘Clean Cut, Clean Start’”
“Now, when I wake up from my bed and stare at that thing, the first thing I get to see is ‘Don’t give up.’”
“This is Chris. He was 21 years old when I met him and his birthday was the following day. He has no family which he can contact or be with – he has basically been entirely alone for the past 11 years. He has been on the streets and homeless since he was 10. Yeah, I know, insane but a sad reality. I asked him how that’s possible and his reason gave me chills. ‘I hated having to constantly wear extra layers and warm clothing at school when it was hot’ he said quietly. I asked him what he meant by that and he said that it was to cover up the bruises from getting hit by his dads. ‘Dads?!’ I said, and he replied ‘Ya, both by my real dad and also my step-dad’. He elaborated and told me that he was mostly with his mom and step-dad – who was very abusive and beat him. Then his mom sent him to live with his ‘real dad’ and the abuse kept coming. There was no escape and he had more than he could take, so he took sanctuary to the streets. At the age of 11 he found himself smoking ice and eventually got into heroin too.”
“This is Ganesh. He is 34 years old and has one daughter. He immigrated to Australia with his mother and brother almost 20 years ago – his father abandoned them in Fiji. Upon arrival at the age of 15, he met a girl. He fell head over heels for her, and she soon became his first love. They got a home together and had a baby daughter. Things were great for him until he found out she was having an affair. After finding out, he didn’t leave her – she left him. After she left, she took his daughter with her and then his home. Distraught, broken, and alone, he was forced to live on the streets in his misery. He took up heroin in order to try his best to mask the pain of heartbreak. To this day he says – 10 years later – he’s still not over her and hasn’t been able to settle down.”
“This is Rachel. She is 28 years old and has one son. I was roaming the streets with my kit and Rachel walked by and said ‘hey, you’re the guy that gives free haircuts to us street folk!’ I said hi, and asked if she was keen to get a free cut, which she was. This made me particularly happy because that day I had my friend Saba (@monzaviyan) offering to do makeup for my female clients if they wanted it. Anyway, we started talking, and Rachel told me she had been on the streets since she was 13 years old. She didn’t go into too much detail but told me that she really had a rough upbringing and that’s why she ran away and got adopted by the streets. She told me she had been using heroin on and off for 15 years. My heart sank, knowing she was only 28. She explained that she started using in order to try and mask the trauma from her childhood. As a 13 year old, however, she didn’t know how to use heroin so acquaintances on the street would shoot it into her veins for her. I was so shocked and saddened when I heard that – I couldn’t say anything for a bit and cut her hair in silence. She continued to tell me that after a while she had to learn to do it herself. 15 years later she works as a street worker almost every day. Her son, Xavier, is only one years old and the “joy of my life” she told me.”
“This is Kevin. He’s 48 years old and has been on the streets for a while now. The only time he’s got a roof over his head is when he’s in prison. In his 48 years he’s been in and out of jail roughly 20 times – always for armed robbery and theft, in order to support his drug habit. You’d think he would have learnt his lesson but drugs like heroin have a grip on your life that is very difficult for those who may not suffer for addiction to fully understand: it’s often irrational and not in your control. Kevin has unfortunately contracted Hepatitis C during his years using heroin and sharing needles – his liver was failing slowly, you could tell with the condition of his hair and skin. At one point I left to grab some stuff to help cut with and when I came back Kevin was right there waiting patiently guarding all my tools and equipment – I’m sure some people would have thought that due to his past he would have stolen from me – but I had faith in him and gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was a genuinely good person – you could tell in his heart – it’s just that heroin masked it.”
“Jen , a 50 year old mother of 4 – grandmother of 3. Her kids don’t talk to her anymore and she suffers from a heroin addiction. She told me she hasn’t been able to get a proper cut in almost 5 years – let alone anything that had to do with her getting “pampered” and said she was in desperate need for some attention on her hair. I brushed her hair free of knots, cut the split ends, reshaped her fringe, gave a dry shampoo treatment and massaged her hair and scalp with a coconut serum to help replenish the dry damaged hair she had. You see, I’m trained in men’s hair, so woman’s hair is virtually a foreign concept to me – but i tried my best and did exactly as she asked. She looked at the mirror, shook my hand then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you, I finally feel beautiful again’. The thing is I thought she was beautiful before also.”
Because Sobhani was a former addict, he isn’t afraid to ask hard questions and help them get a fresh start.
Follow Nasir’s work on Instagram @TheStreetBarber.