We all have special gifts and talents, even if we don’t know exactly what they are yet. In each one of us is something that someone else needs – it can be something as simple as being a good listener, possessing a skill, or knowing a trade.
Even if you feel like your offering to the world feels small and insignificant, we all have the power to change someone else’s life. The ripple of kindness starts with us.
One heavily tattooed angel is on a crusade on the streets of Melbourne – and he’s using his talents to give people a fresh start.
Nasir Sobhani knows exactly what it’s like to be down and out. Although he was born and raised in Japan, he’s been living in Australia since 2012.
Nasir was hooked on cocaine and on a downward spiral when he decided to make a change. And for him, that meant he had to start thinking about others before thinking about himself.
He got clean and thought long and hard about what he could offer the world.
Nasir wanted to do something meaningful with his life now that he was sober and quickly realized that he had a passion for cutting hair. He trained as a barber after he left rehab, and then he had an epiphany.
As a former addict, Nasir understands just how important self-care is.
He decided to take to the streets to make a difference in other people’s lives.
“I had to go into rehab and after rehab my family sat me down and said, ‘You should do what you love doing.’ That is cutting hair. This is why I started cutting hair. I love it so much; it is my new way of getting high. It is my new drug. I will do it six days a week and on the seventh day, I am like, ‘I might as well do it on the streets,’” he explains in a short documentary by PLGRM.
Nasir works six days a week, but on his day off he goes out and gives people on the street a haircut and a shave. But what he is doing isn’t just about cutting hair – it’s about offering people who have fallen on hard times a fresh start and some much-needed support and encouragement.
While he’s cutting their hair, he asks about their stories and really listens to what they have to say. He’s building meaningful connections wherever he goes.
He’s known as “The Streets Barber.”
Drawing on his Baha’i faith, Nasim believes that service to the community is so important – especially when you are sharing your unique talents, skills, and passions.
By showing the less fortunate that they are loved and cared for, he is improving their feelings of self-worth.
As he says on his website, Nasim hopes that he is “giving them a reason to think clean by feeling and looking clean.”
“I could make people feel happy by simply cutting their hair. I knew the feeling; I experienced it when I was a drug addict—when I was having a hard time, hating myself, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror,” Nasim told Victoria Adelaide during an interview for Beautiful Humans, “Then I thought, if I can make people feel happy when they hate themselves, that is the greatest gift I can give and what my family encourages me to do—to serve humanity.
Nasim also hopes to change people’s mindsets when it comes to their prejudices against the homeless. He says they are all someone’s child, someone’s son, or someone’s daughter.
They are just ordinary people who didn’t ask to be in the situation they are in.
He knows that when he was using drugs, he could have ended up on the streets, too.
Soon, what began as a small contribution to society began to snowball into something much bigger. What he was doing became The Streets Barber movement and the Clean Cut Clean Start initiative.
He’s visited many different community organizations, shelters, and communities to give the less fortunate a sense of dignity and hope.
He tells the stories of the people he meets on his Instagram page and documents their transformations – not just physically, but emotionally as well. Some of the stories are just heartbreaking:
“This is Bruce. He is 38 and has no family. When I met him, he was barefoot and was wearing dirty old clothes. After offering him a haircut, he accepted instantly but also apologised to me for being dirty and not washing his face or brushing his teeth that morning.”
Every day, he hopes to help the homeless feel empowered, clean, supported, and understood.
Nasim is celebrating ten years of being sober this year. Why not head over to his Instagram account and show him some love?
To see Nasim tell his story about how he became “The Streets Barber,” watch the video below.
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