Refugee Livelihoods

Working together to build vibrant communities

It’s World Refugee Day on Sunday 20 June—a chance to recognise the courage and resilience of refugees around the world.

We want to thank all our partners who work to improve the lives of the many refugees and include them in their local communities. Our partners help both refugees and their host communities to achieve sustainable livelihoods and economic self-reliance.

Staying afloat during COVID-19
Ayan Ali Abdi is an entrepreneur, wife and mother. She is also a refugee from Somalia who now lives in Kenya.
Ayan Ali Abdi

“Deciding to take professional business support has enlightened me. I was able to strategically plan my finances, benefit from an investment and pay it back in due time.”

Ayan Ali Abdi is an entrepreneur, wife and mother. She is also a refugee from Somalia who now lives in Kenya. Ayan runs a small shop, which was doing well until COVID-19 disrupted the economy. Financial and business support from our partner African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) helped Ayan keep the family business afloat.

AEC provides training, access to finance and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs like Ayan. So far, AEC has enabled 2,600 people—both refugees and local community members—to build successful businesses and created 2,200 new jobs. They plan to serve thousands more in the coming years.

Becoming an employer
Hakizimana Abuoba

“Since my business stabilised, I am happy with the income and able to offer others employment.”

Born in Burundi, Hakizimana Abuoba has fled several conflicts and now lives in Nairobi, Kenya. He runs a thriving barbershop business, which he set up after receiving training from the International Rescue Committee (IRC). He employs two other people.

The IRC helps refugees and young Kenyans living in Nairobi to earn a better income through their BILLY programme. By offering business-skills training, start-up grants, apprenticeships, and connections to local employers, the IRC is helping people improve their futures. Learn more

Supplying renewable energy

“I work at the solar cooperative, and I love my job.”

Hany is a Somali refugee living in Melkadida, in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia. With support from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, over 60 refugees and host community members work together in solar mini-grid cooperatives to supply renewable energy to the area.

The cooperatives provide much-needed electricity to camp clinics, health centres and schools. They also power streetlights to provide more hours of light and help people feel safer after dark.

The IKEA Foundation has been working with UNHCR to develop a transformative livelihoods programme in Ethiopia since 2012.

On World Refugee Day we join all our partners in showing solidarity with refugees. Together, we are working to create a stronger, safer and more vibrant world, where everyone is included.