Barber Angels

Bonn hairdressers give free haircuts to the homeless

Robert hat sich zeitweilig geschämt, zum Friseur zu gehen. Jetzt aber soll die Mähne ab.

Robert was at times ashamed to go to the hairdresser. Now, however, the mane is to go.

BONN. The Barber Angels give people who are homeless or in need a new haircut and give them a whole new sense of self-worth in the process.

“No, that’s not me,” shouts Lisa, with sparkling eyes. The wary facial expression many people who are homeless or in need have difficulty shedding is blown away. What a difference a stylish haircut and some make-up can make. Lisa looks gratefully at Ute Ganser-Koll, who made this transformation possible. The master hairdresser from Bergheim is part of the Barber Angel Brotherhood, an association that works voluntarily and whose members cut hair for free throughout Germany for those who could not otherwise afford this luxury. The Barber Angels work with the Association for Help for Persons at Risk (VfG) in Bonn and are already planning more appointments after two successful mornings.

New sense of self-worth

Twelve hairdressers came to the VfG Support Centre on Quantiusstraße this Monday morning and hair was falling by the second. “We want to give those in need a new sense of self-worth through our campaign,” explains Ganser-Koll. “Appearance makes a big difference. We often hear from people who first visited us and afterwards got a job or an apartment because they suddenly behaved completely differently. Of course, this naturally continues to motivate us.” And most of those in need really do appreciate their commitment. “It just feels good when you get this sort of help,” says Lisa. Peter is also thrilled: “I suddenly feel so much better. I’ve simply let my hair grow for years. At some point I was ashamed to go to the hairdresser. Now I’m glad the hairdressers have come to us.”

Roberto Nicolaci is one of them. “For me, as someone from Bonn, it is an honour to join in here,” he says. “One of my employees registered his interest with the Barber Angels and when I found out about it, of course I had to come too, along with my son and another colleague.” The VfG is grateful for this commitment. “Around 60 people in need registered with us in advance, all of whom now have a new look,” explains press spokeswoman Susanne Fredebeul. Rewe To Go donated water and fruit to the campaign.

(Original text: Thomas Kölsch. Translation: kc)