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Meet the barber who helps the homeless outside of St. Peter's Square

2015-02-24

It's one of the most visited places on earth, but hidden from the eyes of tourists, these people wait in line behind the Vatican's Bernini Columns. They're homeless. They're hoping to take a shower and get a hair cut in the newly opened shower stalls.  

Each one of them has their own story. Like that of  this 24 year old,  who has been living out on the streets for five years. 

EMMANUELE
"This is very important for me. At least I'll have the chance to take a shower. That way, I won't smell bad and people hopefully won't judge me when they see me out on the street or on the metro. It's a situation that  pains me because people shouldn't be judged by how they look, but by how they act. As homeless people, we're a shadow in the city.” 

Then there's the story of Mucano from Romania. He is a 56 year old engineer who came to Rome looking for a better future. Four years later, he's still looking...and homeless. 

MUCANO 
"I heard that this place was opened. A place where you can take a shower and get your hair cut. When you can't find a job, it's like being a leaf that goes wherever the wind blows. I'm just one story, but I've heard of many many, out here on the streets.” 

Three months ago, Davide, Francesco and Michaela Casalino were kicked out of their home for not paying rent. Now they live in their car, with their dog. 

DAVIDE CASALINO
"This really helps us out a lot. It's great for people like us who don't have a house or any belongings. It's a very difficult situation to be in. We're one of the lucky ones, because at least we have a car to live in. It's not comfortable, but it's something.” 

This Vatican Barbershop is proof that there are people willing to help. Once a  week, Marco Paton takes a four hour train ride from his neighborhood to Rome, to donate his services. 

MARCO PATON
Volunteer Hairdresser
"They're really grateful to have this opportunity. It's a chance for them to look descent and have a moment of dignity. They've taught me to never make a distinction between those who have money and those who don't. They've shown me to look at people with integrity because everyone deserves to be listened to.” 

Marco has been a hairdresser for the last 40 years. It's what he does for a living. But coming to Rome to help the homeless isn't about money or profit.... helping the needy, he says, is something that money just can't buy. 


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