How to support refugees and displaced people

After being forced to leave everything behind, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) need access to financial resources to rebuild their lives.

Lend to refugees

What do refugees need most?

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Safe shelter - icon depicting a house - Kiva

Safe shelter

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Access to medical care

In the midst of a crisis, refugees need immediate support, including food, safe shelter, and access to medical care. As these basic needs are stabilized, many must face the long-term circumstances that follow being displaced.

When refugees and IDPs are forced to flee their homes, careers, and communities, they also leave behind their financial security. Education and careers are interrupted. While resettled in a new community, whether temporarily or permanently, they need to be able to plan for a safe, prosperous future.

Kiva’s impact for refugees

Removing barriers to finance is key for refugees and IDPs to restore their economic independence. That’s why Kiva loans can be a lifeline for many refugees and IDPs working to start a business, further their education, and create a stable future.


Kiva's on a mission to provide the financial access that refugees need to rebuild.

Alba was able to rebuild her business, offering beauty services at clients’ houses
Alba was able to rebuild her business, offering beauty services at clients’ houses

How Kiva loans help refugees

With limited access to bank accounts, credit histories, or even permanent addresses, most banks consider refugees too risky to qualify for financial services. But without access to resources like business loans, it’s hard for refugees to regain their stability. 

Expanding access to financial services provides a sustainable solution that helps displaced people establish credit and pursue new economic opportunities. 

With Kiva, refugees can start businesses, pursue an education, and improve their livelihoods in their host communities — like Alba, who used Kiva to infuse life into her beauty business.

Fair, equitable financial resources 
help refugees thrive

With access to credit and financial services, refugees can improve their livelihoods, create jobs, and support themselves and their host communities. And it all starts with a small loan from someone like you:

Intesar Salon owner, Turkey

$375 funded by 7 lenders to update her salon to serve more clients.

Grace Farmer, Uganda

$850 funded by 17 lenders to buy feed and medicine for healthier cattle.

Malik Cafe owner, Palestine

$1,500 funded by 42 lenders to reopen his cafe and reenroll in college after COVID.

Saffa, Business Owner, Turkey, Syrian refugee
Saffa, Business Owner, Turkey, Syrian refugee

How Saffa restored her family’s stability

While immediate humanitarian aid is critical for refugees, they also need long-term economic solutions to get back on their feet.

After fleeing Syria with her children, Saffa used a Kiva loan to buy silk veils to sell in her community. Not only was she able to rebuild her financial security — she also restored hope for her family’s future.

Read Saffa’s story

How to help refugees around the world

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Support refugees internationally

You can lend directly to refugees and IDPs around the world to help them restore their economic independence. 

Support financial equity for refugees.

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Support refugees in the US

Kiva U.S. supports refugees and other financially excluded people in the United States, helping them build a brighter future.

Fund a Kiva U.S. loan to a refugee today.

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Support people in conflict zones

People in conflict zones can be at risk of forced migration and need resources to build resilience to impending financial shocks. 

Lend to people in conflict zones.

Fund a loan today to help someone rebuild their life

Access to financial resources is key to helping refugees go beyond just getting by and instead have the means to improve their livelihoods. Fund a loan today to help someone rebuild.

A Kiva loan helped John buy pigs to raise and sell to earn more income.
A Kiva loan helped John buy pigs to raise and sell to earn more income.

Refugee questions and answers

Refugees are individuals who have been forced to flee their country due to war, violence, conflict, persecution or natural disasters. UNHCR estimates that there are 103 million displaced people around the world, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), asylum seekers, and refugees.

An IDP is someone forced to leave their home, but who has not crossed an international border to seek safety. Though displaced, they remain in their home countries. UNHCR estimates that more than 53.2 million IDPs are currently unable to return to their homes.

The term forced migration is used to describe what happens when people are involuntarily displaced from their homes, regions, and/or countries by war, violence, conflict, persecution, or natural disaster. According to UNHCR, more than 74% of all refugees and IDPs are hosted in low- and middle-income countries.

Climate migrants are people displaced due to flooding, drought, wildfires, extreme temperatures, and other effects of climate change — this includes an average of21.5 million people a year, many from regions already affected by other threats.

A refugee is strictly defined as someone forced to flee their home because of persecution, armed conflict, or climate disaster and face danger to their lives if they return. As such, refugees are recognized and protected by international law. An immigrant may also be facing vulnerable situations and has chosen to leave their home in order to pursue a better life — but can safely return to their home country if they choose.

Someone persecuted and forced to leave their home country for holding political beliefs is considered a political refugee. They can also include people oppressed for being members of a particular political or social group.

An asylum seeker is someone who has fled their home country to find safety but has not yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is still awaiting a decision by their host country on whether they will be allowed to remain. A refugee has been legally identified by the host country and given sanctuary. Not every asylum seeker will be recognized as a refugee, though every refugee began as an asylum seeker. There are an estimated 4.6 million asylum seekers awaiting decisions worldwide.