About Karen Community of Akron, Inc.
The Karen Community of Akron was founded in 2009 to help refugees and immigrants from Burma obtain self-sufficiency. Our goal is to facilitate an easy integration of newcomers into American society by working as a community. We build strong relationships with employers, organizations, and institutions to provide maximum benefit for Akron, Ohio's Karen population.
The Karen are an ethnic group from the mountainous border regions of Burma and Thailand. Dispite having been subject of ethnic cleansing schemes by the Burmese government, the Karen have prevailed in being the second largest ethnic group in each country. Approximately 1,000 Karen call Akron home, living among refugees from other regions in Burma and South Asia.
Consisting of over 53 million people, Burma (Myanmar) is extremely diverse. Its population can be divided into nine major ethnic groups including the Kachin, Karenni, Karen, Zomi (Chin), Arakanese, Mon, Burmese, Rohingya, and Shan, each with its own distinct language and culture. After having obtained independence from British rule, the Burmese government has failed at integrating its vast population into a truly united and cohesive citizenry. Its rugged tropical landscape and extensive collection of peoples makes Burma a truly unique and often misunderstood nation.
Source: The United States Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, VA
Akron, Ohio is a major center for refugee resettlement in the Midwest and Great Lakes Region. Hosting refugees from Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Syria, Uzbekistan, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere, Akron's North Hill and Middlebury neighborhoods are among the most diverse in the country. Actions taken by the city's two resettlement agencies, World Relief and the International Institute, ensure Akron's lasting support and vital role in the responsible relocation of refugees.
Source: The International Institute of Akron, Akron, OH
Refugees in Akron belong to two different resettlement groups. The Karen are primary refugees, those who come from refugee camps or other alternative temporary housing, and are resettled directly to their new residence in Akron. Secondary refugees are those that are resettled in another city in the United States and eventually migrate to Akron. The UNHRC reports less that one percent of refugees are resettled in a third country, particularly only those determined to be facing the greatest threat.
Source: The United States Department of State, Washington, DC