CHRISTOPHER Calyun has never let his tough upbringing stop him from achieving anything and now, with the help of Munno Para’s Stretton Centre, he hopes to provide inspiration to the indigenous youth in the local community.
Mr Calyun moved to Adelaide’s north, as a seven-year-old, from Western Australia after his family was faced with a variety of personal struggles.
Since the move, Mr Calyun has been an advocate for representing the Aboriginal youth community and has assisted many young Aboriginal people with problems over the years.
“I’ve worked as an Aboriginal community education officer for around 15 years, and from that I’ve worked for the Australian Red Cross helping young indigenous guys in the justice programs,” Mr Calyun said.
His passion for Aboriginal youth led him to create the Bruthahood Family clothing label, which aims to help young people identify with their indigenous roots and develop positive connections within the local community.
“The Bruthahood Family started in May last year, but it has been a dream of mine for around about 10 years,” he said.
“(It) celebrates us as an Aboriginal business and shows all of our Aboriginal children that if you work hard you can strive for something and be better in life.”
Last month, Mr Calyun’s grand vision came one step closer to becoming a reality after he, along with Brett Freeman from Brett Freeman Marketing, were announced as joint winners of the 2017 Northern Adelaide Entrepreneur Scholarship.
As part of the scholarship, both men will receive $3000 of branding support from Renewal SA, a position in Business SA’s SAYES mentoring program, and a full year’s worth of co-working support based at the Stretton Centre.
Mr Calyun said he hopes to create, with the Stretton Centre’s help, a successful clothing brand that will help young people feel confident in themselves and inspire them to be the best they can be.
“It’s more than just clothes, we want to bring people together and build positive relationships throughout the community so that people will start to open up to each other,” he said.
“It’s not like Nike, where you see it and it’s just a brand, I want people to see our logo on someone’s shirt and think ‘that’s my brother, I can speak to them’.”
Mr Calyun also hopes to establish projects throughout the northern area to work in schools and help promote empowerment to both indigenous and non-indigenous youth.