There's no greater feeling than a fresh new haircut.
And, thanks to the team at Deadly Hair Dude, people across the Big Rivers region who may not normally have access to a professional hairdresser can enjoy that simple pleasure for free.
The Deadly Hair Dude project, started by Darwin-based hairdresser Gary Strachan in August 2020, provides Indigenous Territorians with the training they need to become qualified hairdressers, while also providing hairdressing services to regional and remote communities.
The team travel to Katherine each week in their mobile salon and provide free haircuts, colours and styles for people in need including at the Salvation Army, the Venndale Rehabilitation Centre and surrounding communities such as Rockhole and Binjari.
Apprentice Kyle Bambra, 20, was one of the team providing free haircuts at the Wurli-Wurlinjang NAIDOC Week morning tea in Katherine late last month thanks to funding from Kalano Community Association.
Mr Bambra, who is from Maningrida, said he is fulfilling his years-long dream of becoming a hairdresser and opening his own salon.
"When I was 13, 14 years old I went to my first barber shop," he said. "That's where I decided I wanted to be a barber.
"[When I'm qualified] I want to own my own barber shop and teach other people like me."
He said he loves hairdressing because of how happy his work makes his clients.
"It maks me happy to see them happy to get a haircut, a fresh haircut," he said.
"You feel like 'oh yeah I know that feeling.' It's just the best feeling."
Mr Strachan said the program makes a huge difference to the 15 communities it now services.
"We don't follow the traditional model of trainees sweeping floors for the first six or 12 months. We start them cutting hair from day one," he said.
"We train people for Deadly Hair Dude and people living in the community.
"We're working on setting up shipping containers as salons in communities...they need to have somewhere to work."
Mr Strachan said the team are about to start training young people in the Don Dale Detention Centre.
"It's about bringing up people's self-esteem and pride," he said.
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