• Overcoming obstacles in refugee healthcare

    By Alencia Lang Sujata Burgess commutes between the Akron and Cleveland locations of the International Community Health Center (ICHC). When asked what her responsibilities included, she said “everything” with a light laugh. As the director of operations, she is behind all of the administrative work for the ICHC, including overseeing safety procedures, ordering medical supplies, […]

  • Building communities across cultures

    By Anthony Elder Cindy Mathias, member of Grace Church and volunteer for the International Welcome Center, noticed two newcomers –– both a bit nervous, even hesitant –– before a Sunday service in 2018. Those unfamiliar faces belonged to Congolese refugees, Jean and Joseph, both new to the United States, struggling to various degrees to communicate. […]

  • ‘We teach people how to North Hill’: The making and continual re-making of Akron’s international district

    By Sean Blevins A light drizzle began to fall and steam was starting to rise through the numerous cracks in the unlevel sidewalks, but business went on as usual in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood.  The people roaming the narrow streets of Akron’s “international district” on the afternoon of March 9 cracked open their umbrellas and […]

  • From jeweler to restaurant owner to head of arts and culture: The Deepak Gajmer story

    By Jimmy Oswald Children scream joyfully, their voices filling the large room, an open area with a multi-colored padded floor and a small stage along the back wall inside the Himalayan Arts Language & Cultural Academy.  “It’s the last day before spring break,” Deepak Gajmer, the head of arts and culture at the academy, explains. […]

  • How one organization helps refugees get their citizenship

    By Helena Sepulveda “When I moved here, I discovered that Akron was a refugee city, and I didn’t really know what that meant, ” said Pastor Cary Duckett, a California native who is the executive director of the International Welcome Center. The center is a faith-based organization that works to assist refugees in becoming acclimated […]

  • Nepali refugees share their culture in Akron through food

    Restaurants like Nepali Kitchen help add unique flavors to North Hill By Andrew Kuder Akron’s North Hill area is nicknamed “Akron’s International District.” It features restaurants, grocery stores and more businesses from Afghan, Nepali, Karen, Bhutanese, and Vietnamese refugees, among many other groups. A majority of these places are run by refugees, and they offer […]

  • Blazing a trail to literacy

    Su Ya always knew that education was the key to a successful future. It was the one consistent thing in her turbulent life. Books became her source of solace throughout her 12 years living at a Thailand refugee camp. Ya attended school through the 11th grade before immigrating to the United States.  When she got […]

  • Starting over in Akron

    by Kelly Krabill When Fazal Baryalai awoke on a Saturday morning in March after a late night driving Uber customers, his family was already downstairs. Shai tea, an Arabic drink served to visitors, was already in a pitcher on the coffee table waiting to be poured into ornately designed crystal glasses. As I sipped the […]

  • ‘My favorite thing is driving’: Afghan women embrace independence in Akron

    By Catie Pusateri Every year on March 21, Tamana Ziar and her extended family gather to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. They meet in Paghman, a town just outside Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, for picnics and games to celebrate the coming of spring.  Her family members would play soccer together, and her parents […]