As a young professional, you know what it means to cherish your days off. You all know the feeling of anticipation as you count down to those free days, and when they finally arrive, the sense of gratitude and relief that enables a sense of purpose and pleasure.
Nasir Sobhani, a Canadian barber now living in Melbourne, can relate. But for very different reasons.
“I love cutting hair…I love it so much, it’s like my new way of getting high, man. You know? It’s my new drug…That’s why I do it six days a week and then on my 7th day, I’m like, man, I might as well do it on the streets,” says Sobhani as he trims the facial hair of a homeless man on a public bench.
In his early 20s, Nasir was battling a cocaine addiction. Thanks to a successful rehab program and the support of his family, he powered through, eventually kicked the addiction and moved to Australia for a fresh start. Finally able to clearly envision a future doing what he loved, he began working as an apprentice in a Melbourne barbershop, and while working there struck up a conversation with a heroin addict washing windows outside.
The man had been free of heroin for a month and to celebrate, wanted a haircut.
“It was at this point,” Sobhani told the Leader “that I realised 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 new-found 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.”
So about a year ago, Sobhani, as The Streets Barber, began spending his off-days going around the suburb of Footscray offering free haircuts and shaves to the homeless.
He has been documenting the initiative on his Instagram account and was just recently featured in a PLGRM documentary that you probably shouldn’t watch if you’re nowhere near a box of tissues.
“What I’m doing on the streets now is my way of giving back…I remember the days when I used to just hate myself and not even look in the mirror without crying because I would just be so disgusted at who I was. And I find that embedded within a lot of my street clients. They feel so ashamed of who they are…they need some stimulus to help engage them in some form of intimacy with a human being that actually cares for them.”
As if this week we needed another reason to love our country…it’s people like this that make us proud to say the word, Canadian.
Enjoy the documentary short…