GIFT OF GIVING: James Donovan gets his hair cut by FotoFili Esau at the Winsome Soup Kitchen in Lismore.
GIFT OF GIVING: James Donovan gets his hair cut by FotoFili Esau at the Winsome Soup Kitchen in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Barber opens heart to homeless by giving free haircuts

A GOONELLEBAH barber has brought the spirit of Christmas to people sleeping rough in the Lismore community by giving out free haircuts.

The gift of giving came early for some at the Winsome and Lismore Soup Kitchen yesterday, when barber Fotofili Esau, 30, set up his pop-up barber shop to "give back" in his own way.

Since moving to Goonellabah two months ago, the qualified barber has had his own struggle with finding enough work, so last month he decided to dedicate a day before Christmas to give some homeless people in the community free hair cuts as an early Christmas present.

"At the moment I don't have any gifts for my kids, because I don't have much work at the moment, so I wanted to do something for others" Mr Esau.

"This is my Christmas present for people who can't afford to go to a barber shop at this time of year.

"I like to help out as much as I can, because it feels good."

Mr Esau's first recipient of the day was James Donovan, who said he felt great after his "first hair cut in a while".

"It's a great thing he's doing and I'm feeling really good now," Mr Donovan said.

Mr Esau said he chose the Winsome and Lismore Soup Kitchen because it was one of the biggest not-for-profit organisations run by volunteers in the Lismore area.

"I did this because getting a haircut makes you feel better about yourself and I wanted that for some of these guys," he said.

"You make people look good and they walk out happy and feeling good and more confident.

"This is also another way to get my name out there, I want to eventually open my own shop next year. I do plan to give out free hair cuts again next year too.

"There should definitely be more free services like this ... business people are accepting but they don't give out enough because giving back to the community is important."

Originally from New Zealand and with a Tongon background, Mr Esau Started out doing home hair cuts about five years ago and in 2016 he decided to get qualified and turn it into a career.

"I love it because I know I can do a good job," he said.

"Cutting hair is an art I want to share."

Mr Esau offers traditional barber cuts, classic beard and neck shaves, zero fade cuts and detailing from his Goonellabah home. Find Check out Mr Esau's Facebook page: NUMAK Barber.



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