Munich: Why a hairdresser in Giesing cuts hair for free – Munich

The poster with the two brightly smiling Silver Agers takes up half the shop window. It is reminiscent of advertisements for clever old-age provision, for the timely and, of course, lucrative sale of one’s own property in order to enjoy the old age relaxed on exotic beaches or on the golf course. Under the photos, however, it says in large letters: “Many pensioners are affected by poverty. A generation that has worked hard all its life.”

Ibrahim Othman Braim, or “Ibo” for short, washes and cuts the hair of pensioners like this, who have to spend every euro, in his shop at Tegernseer Landstraße 125 for two months, until the end of February, free of charge. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Women save 28, men 24 euros.

He already offered this to Ukrainian refugees last year, in March, April, May. With a large crowd, as the 42-year-old assures, up to 20 people sometimes stood in line once word got around. He and his three employees couldn’t manage it alone, he says, other hairdressers, some of whom are already retired, helped him and worked without any income. He may have also calculated with this support. Because “voluntary helpers”, as Ibo calls them, are now again reaching for scissors and shampoo. And some of his customers, who could insist on the free treatment based on their age, say, he says: “It’s phenomenal, Ibo, that you’re doing this. But I want to pay, I want to support you.”

“It makes me happy, it makes me happy.”

A shrewd PR strategy from someone who wants to stand out from the countless hairdressers’ shops in this city? Ibo, wearing a pristine white shirt, beard, short curls and neatly trimmed eyebrows, rejects this with great vehemence and waving his hands, chooses a flowery picture for the motif: “I can’t eat more than one portion. Can I? ” And: “It makes me happy, it makes me happy.” He wants to give something back, he says. He, the refugee, who after long detours has found a new home in this country, in this city.

It’s pretty quiet on this Friday morning in the salon in Giesing, the sparkling clean ambience only slightly marred by the smell of vinegar that irritates the nose – the coffee machine is being descaled. Ibrahim Othman Braim has time to tell his story at a tiny table in the farthest corner. He tells it like this: On August 18, 2000, at the age of 19, he, who comes from a Kurdish family, left the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya. Via Turkey, Greece, Italy he came to Bavaria on September 23, 2001, to accommodation in Lower Bavaria and applied for asylum. He has every single date ready to the day.

Ibo can communicate in seven languages.

His application was rejected, Ibo fled to France and on to England. He was deported and returned to Germany. Made off again, to France, to England – and had to spend three months in prison there. He has sought asylum in five countries, he says, without success everywhere. He was back in Germany again – and this time marrying a German saved him from deportation. He finally got “the papers,” as he puts it.

A positive aspect of all this: Ibo can communicate in seven languages, at least to some extent. Kurdish and German. English and Persian, which he learned in England. Arabic, which he learned in the German refugee camp. Turkish, which he learned while fleeing Iraq when he was stuck in Turkey for a while. And Russian, because for five years he had a girlfriend from Odessa and wanted to learn her native language.

Salon Odessa, that was also the name of his first shop when he set up his own business in Munich in 2007, also on Tegernseer Landstraße, a few blocks further into the city than today. At that time he had put 15 slips of paper in a bowl with possible names for his hairdressing salon: Rome, Athens, Paris, Istanbul… stations on his way. And then fished out a note.

If you want to make it in Munich, Ibo explains, you need three qualities: cleanliness, diligence and “being smart”. And a belief. Whether it’s belief in a religion, a prophet, in yourself or in “a stone or in wood” – it doesn’t matter, he thinks: “Faith gives you hope and protection.”

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