As published in The Border Watch.
Written by Raquel Mustillo.
Photo: Program Support: Migrant success story and Noodle Sushi Bar owners Saw Khain and Saw Myo have backed a continuation of the Australian Refugee and Humanitarian Program.
The success of the Noodle Sushi Bar is a world away from owners’ Saw Myo and Saw Khain’s challenging arrival in Australia as Karen refugees.
The pair were in their mid-20s when they fled Burma (now Myanmar) to be granted refugee status in Malaysia.
Less than a decade later, the pair, who met for the first time while in Mount Gambier, owns stores in both the city’s central business district and the prime Mount Gambier Marketplace.
Mr Myo and Mr Khain were accepted through the Australian Refugee and Humanitarian Program while offshore – a pilot program for regional settlement in Mount Gambier.
Mr Khain supported the continuation of the program, saying it was beneficial to both refugees and regional communities.
“It is a good program because some people have to leave their home country and they need support,” he said.
“We employ eight people and we now have two shops open. “As well as employing people, we pay taxes to the government, which helps the country.”
Mr Khain, who yesterday celebrated five years in Australia, said he chose to remain in Mount Gambier as he preferred the lifestyle.
“It is very quiet here and it is a bit easier for transport,” he said. “It is a bit cheaper for rent and not as much crime like in the big cities.”
Mr Myo said he intended to say in the region in the short-term, but said he would consider relocating in the future.
“At the moment we have the business and you cannot really move away when you are running a shop,” he said.
“I am married so maybe in five to 10 years we will move to the bigger city for the next generation.”