Indigenous students from Centacare Employment and Training in Armadale have last month commenced spreading messages of reconciliation and hope in the local community with the launch of “ABout Us Mob”.
The small business ventures makes t-shirts with positive messages about Indigenous people and culture.
The students who are part of the Kadadjiny Bidi (Learning Path) program came up with the idea after experiencing an incident involving racism, while on their break from class.
Ann Bonney, a young Kadadjiny Bidi student, explained that they wanted to turn that negative experience into something positive.
“ABout Us Mob is about who we are as Aboriginal people,” she said.
“The reason why it all started is because we wanted to send positive messages out to non-Aboriginal people in our community and help them understand about how we are treated.
“Through ‘bardip’ which means story – we can promote our Aboriginal culture and history that we are very proud of.
“We’re getting everyone to wear our story through our t-shirts and we hope this will spread through the community,” Ann added.
The students have come up with a range of different messages which they have printed on the t-shirts. Positive words such as “Strength through Storytelling” and “We Stand Together” were displayed on the t-shirts.
“We also use Aboriginal slang and have a sense of humour about it,” she said.
Centacare’s Kadadjiny Bidi course is being delivered under the Australian Government’s Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program.
In class, ABout Us Mob is used as a way for the students to develop skills and study towards achieving a qualification.
“We’re learning how to make t-shirts, but we are learning other stuff too, like math, spelling and how to be organised.”
Many of the students have expressed heartfelt sentiments about their experiences with the course.
“What’s really enjoyable about coming to this course is getting to know a different mob [groups of people], building friendships, getting the job done and working together,” Ann said.
“I’ve got a purpose now and it makes me want to come into class every day.”
Centacare Employment and Training is a not-for-profit registered training organisation that has been delivering flexible training, education and employment programs to disadvantaged people in the Perth community for over 40 years.
Learn more about Centacare and the Kadadjiny Bidi program at www.centacarewa.com.au