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What We Do

Building Livelihoods

Opportunities to become self-sufficient, learn new skills and pursue economic opportunities are vital for refugees to rebuild their lives and once again become productive members of a community.


Photo Credit:  © UNHCR / David Azia

Helping refugees make a safe and sustainable living

While emergency aid is critical for refugees in the hours, days and months after fleeing, opportunities for employment, the ability to learn a new trade or a chance to start a business are important steps for refugees on the road to dignified self-sufficiency.

USA for UNHCR supports livelihood programming that:


USA for UNHCR donors help empower refugees by providing support for livelihood initiatives such as:

Kiva’s World Refugee Fund: An innovative approach to financing refugee small business, the World Refugee Fund (WRF) combines crowdfunding and micro lending to help refugees move beyond emergency aid and regain stability for the future. USA for UNHCR was a founding partner of the WRF, which launched on World Refugee Day 2017. WRF grants zero percent interest loans and access to credit and financial services that helps refugees start or expand a business, increase incomes and create jobs – helping the displaced and the communities that host them. Loan repayments are reinvested into future loans.

In addition to being a founding partner, USA for UNHCR has matched loans for nearly 600 refugee entrepreneurs so far. 

Skills training: UNHCR provides vocational, skills and language training for adult refugees to improve their standard of living and to increase their chances of finding work. For younger refugees who are a little older than school age, UNHCR has developed one-year vocational training courses, training in the fields of metal work, construction and masonry, plumbing, tailoring, electrical circuitry, hotel management and tourism and electrical maintenance.

On the relationship with Kiva’s World Refugee Fund:

“It’s connecting interested and compassionate Americans directly with refugees that need resources, but it’s doing it through a mechanism of social enterprise, and it’s a win-win.”

-Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO, USA for UNHCR

Other Programs

Help Refugee Families

War, violence and persecution have forced millions of families from their homes. They urgently need shelter, protection and safety. You can help rush critical supplies like medicine, clean water, food and tents to desperate children and families. You can provide refugees with emergency support, long-term care and hope for the future.

SPOTLIGHT: This World Refugee Day, meet Lucky, a brave Rohingya refugee making an incredible impact! READ →