Josh Coombes podría ser como cualquier estilista, con su propio salón en alguna calle londisense. Pero este joven de 29 años dedica su vida a recorrer las calles de la ciudad en busca de los sin techo y les ofrece un cambio de look gratis. ¡Su historia es conmovedora!
Fundador del movimiento #DoSomethingForNothing, Josh habla con las personas de bajos recursos que encuentra en la calle, les cuenta quien es y lo que hace. Luego les pregunta si les gustaría que les corte el pelo. ¡Y sus caras no pueden expresar mayor sorpresa!
This is Malcome, 59, born in Toronto, Canada. I met him at his afternoon during a busy day out cutting hair in London. Malcome has been homeless for two years now – sleeping in doorways, parks and anywhere else that looks safe enough to spend the night. I asked whether he has been in this situation before – "No, I never imagined I'd be here either. But, oh well, here I am. I'm still alive and that's something. I was living in Russia for a while with the women I was going to marry. I came to the U.K because I was trying to sort out a permanent visa to travel back there and live with her. I thought I had enough money to get the visa and maintain myself here in London until it came through, but it didn't last. So, I ended up out here." Malcome showed me some photos of him as a young man, telling me he used to be in the Canadian military – "I've always worked in different places. When I got out of the military, I followed my dreams and trained to be a scuba diving instructor. I got my licence and began travelling to different countries to teach. It was an amazing journey, I met so many lovely people along the way. I can speak three languages now." Malcome seems stuck at the moment but I hope this is just another chapter for him. He is charismatic beyond words and a true optimist. He's the kind of guy that must lift so many others that are on the street also, just with his presence. It was so good to give him a makeover. He was chuffed – "Today just got a hell of a lot better!" #DoSomethingForNothing
El propio Coombes cuenta que usa este espacio para conocer sus historias, quienes son y cuáles son sus sueños: “Busco conectarme con la gente haciendo esto”. Cortarles el pelo es una excusa para acercarse a ellos, personas que están olvidadas y que ellos mismos se definen como “invisibles” para el resto de la sociedad.
This is Reza, 35 years old. Reza is Iranian and moved over to the U.K ten years ago. He has been homeless for the last three years. I asked him what happened and how he became homeless – "I used to live in a place in North London, it wasn't very big but my girlfriend used to stay a lot because she had problems of her own and needed somewhere. Unfortunately my landlord found out and didn't want to hear any excuses. He wrote me a letter without much notice to leave." – Reza's girlfriend suffers from schizophrenia and needs medication to keep on top of it. Reza was also honest with me about his own medicating at present – "I'm on methadone, I have been for two years. I got off heroin and have been on it ever since. I never wanted to start using heroin but being out here, you see a lot of drugs, it was the first year on the streets that was the toughest." My heart went out to Reza, he had such a warm nature about him that made you want to sit and speak all day. This is a very complex situation for him and his girlfriend. It gets even more complicated – Last year, Reza lost his documents, which makes everything much harder when trying to acquire any help from the government. But where there's community there's always hope. I saw a massive change in Reza's whole demeanour, just from the small time I spent with him. #DoSomethingForNothing @dosomethingfornothing
Al terminar el cambio de look, Josh les saca una foto para Instagram con el antes y después. ¡Y son asombrosas!
This is Jason, 46 years old. He has been homeless for nearly a year now. Jason used to work tiling roofs for long time. At the beginning of last year ago he had an accident and life hasn't been the same since. One day on the job, he fell of a roof, which put him in a coma for six weeks. Most of his injuries have healed, but he still suffers from back pain. Needless to say, he couldn't continue working and had to claim money from the government. It wasn't enough to keep him in the same place so he was moved into a shared hostel accommodation. This situation didn't last very long until he became homeless. I spoke to Jason's friend that looks out for him on the street to find out more – "Jason hit his head also, he needs a bit of looking after each day now. Some days he's fine, other days you can tell he's not really with it. He had a minor stroke too, so his state of health makes it difficult for him to find work now." Whilst cutting, I spoke to Jason about his time out here – "The first few months were the toughest, I was sleeping wherever I could. When night fell, I'd usually pick an alleyway, walk down it sleep behind a building somewhere, hopefully under cover. The good thing is I've have found another hostel to stay in from time to time now. I do ask people for money, but that's because I don't have another option at the moment." Sometimes just a simple twist of fate can change someone's path in life. #DoSomethingForNothing
Luego del corte de pelo, sus caras cambian. No sólo porque lucen diferentes, con un nuevo look, sino que algo en ellos ha cambiado. Sonríen. Como si hubieran vuelto a existir para la sociedad. Como si hubieran vuelto a vivir. ¡Aplausos para Josh!
I got asked on a panel at @Adweek Europe today – 'What are your proudest moments since #DoSomethingForNothing began?' – and it's this right here. Showing somebody they've still got it, there is hope. You may feel forgotten and unheard by some, but not today and not now this movement keeps on growing. Listening to each other has gone out of fashion, but we're bringing it back. Human connection is what it's about. Today I can provide hope for someone. Tomorrow I might need it from you. ???? @mikewhiter
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