Where it all began

Om speaking at an international conference representing the government of Bhutan.

Om was born in Lamidara – a remote village, in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. He is the 6th of the 14 children born to his parents Damanta and Durga Prasad Dhungel.

Growing up, he did well academically and studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering on a full scholarship, and later received training in telecommunications in the USA and Japan. He joined the Department of Telecommunications in the government of Bhutan and quickly rose through the ranks to become the Head of Planning and Development Division. Everything in his life was falling into place. He felt as though he had it all figured out, a perfect career and was building towards a very fulfilling and a happy family life.

While Om was living his dream, everything turned upside down when the government implemented the ‘One Nation, One People’ policy and started evicting southern Bhutanese of Nepali ethnicity from the country. When he learnt about his imminent arrest and having seen the fate of his elderly father who had earlier left the country after being arrested and tortured severely, he fled the country leaving behind his wife, Saroja and their two and half year old daughter, Smriti.

The journey so far


Om fled his home country, Bhutan, for fear of arrest and torture, leaving behind his wife and daughter.

1992 onwards

Reunited with his wife and daughter, Om spent the next six years volunteering in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal, mainly involved in advocacy work and the education of refugee children.


Om came to Australia and completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The challenges of living away from his family and overworking to support his studies as an international student forced Om to start thinking outside the box.

2003 onwards

Om spent a decade working at Telstra Corporation in his dream job.


Om helped establish the Association of Bhutanese in Australia (ABA) Sydney on 26 August 2007.


Om left Telstra to pursue his passion in the social sector and started a role as the Chief Executive of SEVA International. Om also started a new venture and established his own consulting practice, Om Dhungel Consulting.


As a 2016 Westpac Social Change Fellow, Om had the opportunity to travel internationally to work further on strength based approach to refugee settlement and community development and bring a global perspective to his consulting practice, Om Dhungel Consulting.


Om is living his dream life, splitting his time evenly working in his business fifty percent of the time and the rest in volunteering work. His passion is to empower individuals and organisations to help them carve their own path and not just follow the well-travelled road.

"I firmly believe that no matter where you grew up or what your past circumstances were, you can choose and work towards where you want to be in the future." - Om

"I firmly believe that no matter where you grew up or what your past circumstances were,

you can choose and work

towards where you want

to be in the future." - Om

Awards and accolades

  • ZEST Outstanding Volunteer Leader Award 2021
  • UTS International Alumni Award 2017
  • Westpac Social Change Fellow 2016
  • Community Service Lifetime Achievement Award from the Premier of NSW 2016
  • National Volunteer Award 2012
  • Telstra Kids Funds Ambassador
  • Telstra Hometown Ambassador

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