German barbers who offer homeless free haircuts awarded French prize | News | DW | 11.05.2019
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German barbers who offer homeless free haircuts awarded French prize

The hairdressers from southwest Germany have received the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France for offering free haircuts to the homeless. A documentary on the plight of those living rough prompted the idea.

A large group of barbers from the southern German state of Baden-Wüttemberg was awarded a top French humanitarian prize in Paris on Saturday.

The Barber Angels Brotherhood offers a fresh wash, cut and blow-dry to homeless people in several European countries.

For their time and services, the barbers were awarded the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France at the Palais du Luxembourg, the seat of France's upper house of parliament.

Read more: Homeless in Germany's financial hub ordered to pay fines for sleeping rough

"The significance of this award motivates us to keep going," said Barber Angels' founder, Claus Niedermaier, who runs a salon in the small town of Biberach an der Riss.

"Our goal is always to give at least a bit of dignity and self-confidence to poorer people with a good hairdo."

Watch video 04:34

Second chance for the homeless

Niedermaier was prompted to set up the group after watching a documentary about the plight of homeless people in Munich during winter.

Four like-minded people helped him set up the Barbers Angels in 2016, which has since grown to involve more than 300 barbers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands. 

Read more: Germany: Homeless men set on fire at Berlin train station

So far they have reportedly given free haircuts to 40,000 people in various locations.

The Grand Prix Humanitaire, which was founded in 1892, honors those who provide help to people in distress free of charge with their unendowed awards. 

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