Member Agency Story

A Relentless Business Model

A story about Immigration and Refugee Services featuring Catholic Charities of Oregon

"I would love to be a successful businessman AND help out my community here. Why not?" 

Mohammad always wanted to become a businessman. When he was living in Malaysia after leaving his troubled home nation of Burma, he helped run a business with a family who took him in as their own. However, he could not succeed in business in Malaysia since he was prevented from obtaining legal status. He says, "After living in Malaysia for 22 years, it felt like my own country, but the government would always reject me. Officials would come in all the time, and take everything over. It happened four times, and they always took the money I had earned. I lost nearly 80 thousand Ringgit (20 thousand USD)." 

After coming to the U.S. as a refugee, Mohammad has a chance to work hard and use his business skills to start a new life. He now runs a grocery store and works for Catholic Charities and local hospitals as a Rohingyan interpreter. His life is still full of challenges, but he has the opportunity to succeed. "I came to the U.S. by myself," he says. "My father still lives in Bangladesh, and I lost my mom in 2009. I've been separated from my family for 23 years. I never had a chance to see them after I left, because I was never given the legal status to see them. Since 2014, I have been given a chance to go and see them, after 23 years. It has been challenging, to not see them for so long, but by coming to this country, I will finally have the chance. There are big opportunities for me." 

Share Story

This member agency story features the work of:

  • Address

    2740 SE Powell Blvd
    Portland, OR 97202

  • Phone


Visit Website

Join Us

Become a part of our movement to lift 45 million Americans out of poverty — and change the lives of millions more who are in need — by contributing your time, expertise, or financial gifts to Catholic Charities USA or to any of our member agencies.