Refugee mechanic starts his own business

24 June 2022

A refugee family forced apart by conflict and economic necessity is now reunited in Australia and building a new future together.

To make a living Syrian refugee Habib Abdo Kammoush was forced to work overseas away from his family for 12 long years.

He spent gruelling stints building roads in Nigeria and maintaining forestry equipment in the jungles of the Central African Republic.

But when the war in his homeland closed in on his family Habib was forced to give up his job and take them to safety.

Now resettled in Melbourne, he has been supported by migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia to start his own heavy machinery repair business.

“I started the ATK Mobile Plant Mechanic business in January 2021 and it’s going very well. I’m getting work all over Melbourne. I go out and repair equipment on site,’ Habib said.

“I work with heavy machinery, construction equipment, earthmovers and generators,” he said.
Habib, wife Eve and son Abdo were supported by AMES with accommodation as well as basic household goods and their bond. 

They were referred to TAFE and have excelled in their English language classes.

Since arriving in Australia, Habib and Eve have had a daughter Tia, now nine months.

“The first few months were very difficult for us. Everything was new and there is no one from our town living here. We have no family here, I have a brother in Nigeria and my parents are still in Syria,” Habib said.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns Habib saw an opportunity to go into business. He was able to buy the tools, equipment and vehicle he needed cheaply as COVID stricken businesses liquidated their assets.

“I hope to grow my business and move forward so that my kids can have a better future. Here in Australia we have no fears about tomorrow. In my country you always have fears about what will happen in the future,” Habib said.

“This is a good place for my family. Things will be better for them when they grow up,” he said.