Around Town

Refugees in Charlotte: Who they are, how they got here and how they’re shaping the city

Imagine for a moment that you can’t go home.

Not just to your house or apartment, but home.

The settings that look familiar are no longer available to you. Your friends that you know so well are no longer a part of your life. Your family that you have grown up with is stripped of you.

If you’re like me, each of the above thoughts are crippling.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for thousands of refugees each year.

Refugees are not immigrants. A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster. Their homes are taken away from them and they have no other course of action but to leave.

Starting over is putting it lightly. Refugees have to create a new life.

The United States accepts thousands of refugees each year and there are agencies across the nation that help them transition into a new home. The change is daunting — new language, new culture, new laws, new expectations — but there are people that want to help.

Charlotte has become a center for resettlement, and the former refugee community has found a new hope and a new home in the Queen City.

On this week’s episode of The Good News Is… we are joined by Thakar Mishra, a former refugee from Bhutan who is now a medical case worker with the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency. We speak with him about his journey and why he now calls Charlotte his new home.

Thakar Mishra

We are also joined by Marsha Hirsch, executive director of the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency, and Rachel Humphries, executive director of Refugee Support Services, as they tell their experiences of resettling refugees into their new homes.

Marsha Hirsch, left, and Rachel Humphries

Their interviews with Sarah Crosland and Corey Inscoe are revealing and honest. I encourage you to listen in.

The Good News Is — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast with a similar mission to what we do here at C5: To get you CharlotteSmart, fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s hosted by Corey Inscoe and Sarah Crosland.

As always, you can find our episodes on SoundcloudiTunes and now Stitcher. You can follow us on Twitter @TheGoodNewsCLT, on Instagram @TheGoodNewsCLT, on Facebook and you can shoot us an email to

Richard Brooke is the producer of The Good News Is… podcast.