• Josh Coombes

The Poor People’s Barber

Is a haircut and a shave enough to give confidence to those who have nothing? Yes

“We’re not raising awareness; we’re raising compassion”, Joshua Coombes describes what he has been doing for a few years with his organisation: spreading awareness that we are able to make a difference with our compassion, the ability to identify with other people’s feelings and take charge. The English hairdresser started offering free haircuts to homeless people living on the streets. Coombes speaks to people, establishes a relationship based on trust, and then explains what he wants to do: thus creating a human connection that goes beyond a mere haircut. The next step is to tell these stories, immortalising the before and after images, and showing people that a simple haircut, although perhaps above all the attention devoted to those who usually live as if they were invivible in cities, gives them back their confidence and life: the faces are different, brighter and filled with new hope.

Coombes’s philosophy is in the hashtag that he chose for his pictures: #DoSomethingForNothing, which has become a real movement, and he attempts to encourage people to draw inspiration from it, by using small acts of generosity which, when added together, can change the world. “It is easy to give money to organisations or charities. Awakening people’s awareness, on the other hand, is a priceless feeling”: each of us can make a difference, even simply by cutting hair.

Valentina Monti