Husband and wife, Ran and Ani, were too young to remember much more than images from their early years in their native Bhutan. In 1992, they fled with their respective parents to escape persecution. They spent the next twenty-one years in the crowded, harsh conditions of a refugee camp. Of this experience Ran says, “The life was really hard, but we really learned a big lesson from that life.” “We know how to struggle,” Ani adds.
After coming to the U.S. in 2011, they eventually made their way to Akron where Employment Services at IIA helped place both of them in jobs that suited their skill sets. Employment Services provided interpreters for interviews and orientation, as well as transportation. Ran and Ani agree that the assistance that IIA provides is of vital importance for many refugees. Ran explains that without electricity in the camps, they could not learn how to use a computer—IIA helped them fill that gap. Perhaps their life experience has made them the hard workers they are today. Both work second shift so that the day can be spent with their two children and Ran’s elderly parents. The strenuous schedule does not seem to bother either of them, instead both insist that it is crucial that they give back to their community. “If we start working only for ourselves… then the whole community would be affected one day,” Ran explains.