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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69ed70000Akron’s refugee story over the last decade has been written largely by the arrival of thousands of Bhutanese people who spent decades in camps in Nepal. Internationally, it’s regarded as a resettlement success story. Now the city and the refugees themselves are trying to ensure it’s a local success as well.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69ed80000Beginning on Monday, October 2nd on WKSU's Morning Edition, WKSU reporter M.L. Schultze will examine the transition from new arrivals to established residents. Over the course of four days, her stories will examine how the community is overcoming the isolation of language and culture, how it's using the traditions of weaving to tell its current story, why refugees who settled in other parts of the country are moving to Akron, and the birth of the next generation of Bhutanese Nepalis in Akron. 00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69eda0000WKSU is partnering with Huffington Post as part of its Listen to America tour of 25 U.S. cities to tell the story of Northeast Ohio's Bhutanese Community both to Northeast Ohio and to the country.

An Akron Refugee Story: From Surviving to Thriving

photo of Dhan Tumbapoo

Akron owes its only population growth since the turn of the century to a kingdom on the other side of the Earth. As many as 5,000 Nepali people have made their way to the city during the last decade.

It’s been a dramatic change for people who had held onto their culture during centuries in Bhutan and decades in refugee camps in Nepal.


They went to work in the GOJO plant, enrolled their kids in public schools and learned how to navigate roads, snow and the U.S. system. But those who work with refugees say real success is in moving people from surviving to thriving.

This documentary introduces you to Akron’s newest settlers and the ways they've made that move in small, yet all-encompassing, ways.



M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.