Tag Archives: Myanmar

Education is the ticket to achieving the American Dream for Bhutanese refugees in Akron

girls

Story By Tom Crain

“In the beginning,  I was really freaked out,” confesses ninth grader Sabbitri about her first couple months transferring mid-year from a Nepali refugee camp school to Akron’s North High School.  “I couldn’t get the combination on my locker to work. The other high school girls had beautiful makeup and clothes and wild hairstyles in all different colors. They were always laughing and texting each other. They were so much happier and prettier than I was.”

The transition from Nepal’s refugee camp schools to America’s public schools is a challenge for most Bhutanese students like Sabbitri.  The Nepali government places a strong emphasis on its monastic-style of teaching where its Bhutanese refugees go to school, providing nine years of free education for them. Lessons are taught in British English and Nepali.

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Nuts and bolts of refugee resettlement in America:

The long and arduous process includes Akron
as a key resettlement sanctuary 

Story by Tom Crain

distantshotcolorfulgarb

Walk any neighborhood in North Hill these days and you’re bound to take note of a distinctive culture of new immigrants frequenting the residential sidewalks, business districts, school playgrounds and city parks. They wear colorful shawls, saris and robes of homespun wool accessorized with decorative gold and coral headpieces, bangles, rounded wool caps and turbans. Most talk in a funny dialect called Nepali (similar to Hindi or Punjabi)  accompanied with a written alphabet resembling  “chicken scratch.”

These distinctive and striking people have also created a new crop of Asian markets piled floor to ceiling with rice-filled burlap sacks, shelves of dried mango powder, cardamom pods, fermented millet wine and in back, goat meat and pig’s feet.  New cafes feature the popular cuisine of momo (dumplings)  and thukpa (noodle soup). The many who are non-Christian, congregate in temples practicing Hindu and Buddhism. The youth form their own soccer clubs and also play cricket. These tight-knit families can also be seen on warm, sunny days fishing, frogging, berrying and ‘shrooming all along the city’s nature trails.

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