You don’t need a reason to help one another — that’s the stimulus of barbers Hussain Jamali and Andy Sarsby. On Saturday evenings after work, these friends — one Muslim, one Jewish — set up in the heart of London to cut homeless people’s hair for free. Each week, Jamali — who’s part of the social justice campaign group “Who is Hussain ”— sets up a stand that offers free food to homeless people and passersby at the center of the city.
Hussain and Andy live their principles of benevolence and community action: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” For Jamali, it is a way of healing — he had been homeless himself. After he left Iran with his mother, they moved to the Netherlands, where he would grow up. Later, they moved to London where he started to look for ways to help people who were struggling.
“When I cut a homeless person’s hair I talk with him and he talks with me. We’re telling these beautiful stories, stories of what they’ve been through,” he said. After being a barber for 16 years, he found catharsis in helping others.
As Sarsby took part in the project, he was more and more spiritually inspired. “The power of giving people a haircut is an amazing thing,” he said. “Only a select few people are able to get in the personal space of random people – doctors, dentists, and hairdressers – and it’s a position that shouldn’t be abused and takes a lot of responsibility.”