The award recognises an individual’s lifetime commitment to community service within a migrant community. For Om, this work began in 1992 when he fled Bhutan for fear of persecution. Living in exile in Nepal, Om spent the next six years volunteering in the Bhutanese Refugee camps, where he advocated for individuals and families and helped to educate refugee children. Om came to Australia in 1998 as a refugee and began working with the new arrival Bhutanese refugees in 2008 when the Federal Government started settling Bhutanese refugees from Nepal under the humanitarian settlement program. Om is passionate about helping and empowering the Bhutanese community in Australia and says that the Premier’s Award is a proud moment for the Australian Bhutanese community, many of whom have been able to settle successfully because of their ability to tap into their own strength and assets and work collaboratively with service providers.
SydWest Multicultural Services CEO, Elfa Moraitakis congratulated Om for his work with the local Bhutanese community and for his commitment to developing the positive relationship between the Bhutanese community and SydWest Multicultural Services.
“Om has provided the SydWest Board with an invaluable community perspective into the needs of the refugee community and the importance of empowering people so that they can build their new lives in Australia,” Elfa said.