Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Akron sees influx of Nepali-Bhutanese refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on May 23, 2012

There is now a surge of Nepali-Bhutanese refugees resettling to Akron, Ohio. This happens when refugees seek to join their relatives already resettled in a local area (refugees termed as “geo cases”) as well as my secondary migration from other US cities (the Nepali-Bhutanese may be hearing from friends and families that jobs are available in Akron). Of course the surge puts pressure on the local resettlement agency to find a lot of material-item donations – e.g. furniture, essential household items, clothes, toiletries – in a relatively short period. Akron’s Beacon-Journal newspaper explains:

When members of the Bhutanese family arrived in Akron from a refugee camp in Nepal, they had nothing but the clothes on their backs and a few keepsakes in a bag.

The International Institute of Akron provided them with a furnished apartment, a hot meal and all of life’s little essentials, including kitchen gadgets, towels, sheets, blankets and cleaning items.

It was a difficult life in the camps for 20 years,” said Bhim Subba, 50, who traveled to Akron with his wife and two children in February. “We were seeing no future there and decided to be resettled.”

The institute expects to serve a record number of refugees this month, with 85 already arriving as of late last week and the possibility of more in the remainder of the month. The figure is more than double the 30 to 40 refugees the agency normally gets in a month.

With the influx, the institute is looking for donations of basic items for the families.

We need it all,” said Debbie May-Johnson, executive director of the institute…

…May-Johnson said most of the refugees coming into Akron are from Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal and Burmese camps in Thailand. She said they are asking to come to Akron because they already have family here, with refugees from these camps settling in the city for the past five years.

May-Johnson said the institute has an equal number of refugees who come from other U.S. cities to Akron, seeking job opportunities and affordable housing… Read more here

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