Chin refugees congregate in Indianapolis and Columbus
Posted by Christopher Coen on November 12, 2012
Indianapolis has become a major hub for Chin refugees from Myanmar. Now, Chin refugees are also making Columbus a favored destination for settlement. Chin has more than 40 dialects, which can make it difficult for schools and agencies to find interpreters. Although in this case it is the Lai Chin who are settling in Columbus’ Far West Side. An article in The Columbus Dispatch explains:
…during a visit to Columbus, Hai Vung Lian was impressed with what he saw. With more research, he discovered that the city — particularly the Far West Side — had a lot to offer his countrymen and women who needed a home: a steady job market and affordable housing near good schools, public transportation and hospitals.
“I thought we could start a community here,” Lian, 47, said of the Chin population, who have fled the southern Asian country of Myanmar, also known as Burma.
He encouraged Chin families living in refugee settlements outside Myanmar to start anew in Columbus. What started as a trickle in 2007 has become a steady stream of Chin refugees.
Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus has placed 137 Chins since October 2007, Executive Director Angie Plummer said.
Another 13 are scheduled to arrive before the end of November.
One problem with resettlement efforts has been the language barrier. Chin has more than 40 dialects, making it difficult for schools and agencies to find interpreters…
Lai Chin is the common tongue for the 61 Chin students enrolled in South-Western…
According to the United Nations refugee agency, 8,562 refugees from Myanmar were resettled in the United States between January and June this year. More than 1,300, including the Chin, have been resettled in Ohio since 2008.
The largest community of Myanmar refugees is in Indianapolis. There, 3,909 refugees have been settled after arriving from overseas. Because of others moving within the U.S., the Indianapolis population has grown to about 9,000, about 6,400 of them Chin refugees, said Elaisa Vahnie, the executive director of the Burmese-American Community Institute in Indianapolis.
Vahnie said Indianapolis, like Columbus, is a transportation hub where unskilled workers can find warehouse and manufacturing jobs… Read more here