Addressing mental health challenges refugee children face

By Brianna Canada Many refugee children live in North Hill and attend school together. Photo by Andrew Kuder Refugee children not only help to shape their community by helping their parents adapt to American culture, but they also educate non-refugee children and teens about refugee cultures and countries.  School, friends, and being social can be stressful on any child. Refugee children experience a unique set of circumstances that add to the stress they already feel to fit in.  Rollin Mukanza, a social worker and community coordinator at the International Institute of Akron, helps refugee children adjust to American culture. A...

Following the money trail from Washington, D.C. to Akron

By Trista Bowser and London Green Twenty-four thousand refugees have relocated in Ohio over the past decade, more than all but seven other states. Nonprofit organizations use federal and privately donated funds to resettle refugees. State Refugee Coordinator Jennifer Johnson oversees all the different aspects of refugee resettlement, from how many refugees Ohio receives every year to how much money Ohio receives for refugees. “All of our funding is federal funding,” explained Johnson. “There's no state funding involved.” Johnson explains that each state receives money from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. There, various resettlement agencies in Ohio enter into grant...

Nepali refugees share their culture in Akron through food

Restaurants like Nepali Kitchen help add unique flavors to North Hill By Andrew Kuder Nepali Kitchen, Akron, Ohio. Photo 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 the chance for locals to connect with their cultures in fun and interesting ways. Right on Cuyahoga Falls Avenue is Nepali Kitchen, which employs refugees from Nepal. It’s the type of place many might not notice at...

Starting over in Akron

by Kelly Krabill Fazal Baryalai and his family look at pictures from their time in Afghanistan. They arrived in Akron two years ago on a Special Immigrant Visa. Photo 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 warm drink on that snowy day in Akron, Zahida, Baryalai’s wife, slipped into the kitchen and...