Name: Michael Khan
Place of Residence: Broome, WA
Tribe/Language: Noongar people
When Michael Khan, 39, moved to Broome 10 years ago he didn’t plan on becoming a chef, but he went into a job agency and they said it’d be a good idea. “They asked me what I love doing and I said I love cooking. They wrote letters to all the restaurants and I ended up getting an apprenticeship at 29,” said Michael.
He now runs a homeless breakfast program in Broome and prepares food for a non-profit organisation that distributes meals to local Indigenous families in need.
Michael is a descendant of the Noongar people from the southwest corner of Western Australia. His father was part of the Stolen Generation. “When he was taken away from his parents he used to get a taxi about 200 kilometres to go and visit them on the mission,” said Michael. “My daddy is a hardworking man. He tried his hardest to look after us but because of his childhood, I think, he turned to alcohol. When you take someone away from their father, they don’t know how to be a father,” he said.
“As a kid I had a bad upbringing. I didn’t think it was bad at the time. I thought it was pretty normal. I was sexually abused as a kid. I witnessed domestic violence, people fighting and arguing all the time, alcoholism, people using drugs.
“I always felt empty. I didn’t feel loved. I just had a very sad life until I got down and prayed to God and asked God to help me. That was the happiest day of my life because I just felt God’s presence and I was like, ‘Thank you for loving me, Lord.’
“I’m just happy that I can tell people my story and maybe help people to find a way out of their despair.”
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