South Asian Immigrants

Black and white still image from a Bollywood film.
Wikimedia Commons

From indie rock to local rap, WKNC has built a loyal following of “hipsters and, well, more hipsters,” according to one station promo. But every Sunday morning, a totally different audience tune into North Carolina State University’s student radio station.

Filming of This is My Home Now.
Siera Schubach-Mariah, Dunn Kramer, Dean MacLeod

Some of the first Montagnard immigrants, people from a mountain region of Southeast Asia, to came to North Carolina in 1986 and 1987. They were granted refugee status in recognition of their support to the U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam War. But since then, the newest immigrants have made their way to America because they were fleeing religious and political prosecution. TheMontagnard families live in two worlds: one that is still close to the traditions and ways of their homeland and the other in modern American society.

Thar Thwai at work on his radio story in the WUNC studios.
Carol Jackson

About a thousand refugees resettle in North Carolina each year, and one third of them are from Burma and Thailand.  The Triangle is home to four of the nation's 10 refugee and immigrant resettlement organizations.  There are two in Durham, and two in Raleigh.

Resettlement agencies distribute State Department grants, a one-time payment of $925 per refugee.  For the first 90 days, the State Department provides housing and language assistance. But 90 days isn't a very long time when you are coming from a refugee camp. 

Anil Gandhi
Jessica Jones

When South Asian immigrants to this country get homesick, there’s a good chance they can probably locate an Indian restaurant or grocery store to remind them of home. Finding a place that stocks the plants and trees they grew up with is much harder.