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Carol Stream, Illinois 60132

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© 2024 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

Refugee Services

Opportunity International responds to the unique needs of refugees by building innovative programs that serve people who have been forced to flee their homes and resettle in a new area. In Colombia, all of our programs include families who have been internally displaced by violence and refugees from neighboring countries. In Uganda, we are piloting programs that deliver financial services and training to families living in settlements. By meeting the multifaceted needs of these communities, we are affirming our commitment to those who are most vulnerable, marginalized, and at risk of extreme poverty.


Nakivale, Uganda
Nakivale, Uganda

The Need

Those fleeing violence and oppression are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. They face countless risks as they seek safety and security, and once they find a safe place to stay, they must find a way to provide for their families in an entirely new context. By the end of September 2023, we had experienced the largest single-year increase in forced displacement, with the UN reporting that more than 114 million people were forced from home by conflict and persecution, including more than 35 million refugees.

  • 20% of the world’s refugee population live in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 80% of displaced people live in an area affected by acute food insecurity or malnutrition
  • 48% of refugee children are not in school

Our Programs and Products


In June 2019, Opportunity International and its partners launched a program to help integrate and financially include refugees, promote self-reliance among refugees, and stimulate local economic activity in refugee settlements and surrounding host communities. Opportunity Bank of Uganda built the first branch in a refugee settlement in Nakivale.

Uganda is home to over 1.5 million refugees from countries including South Sudan, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and Ethiopia, making it the largest refugee host country in Africa. Like any broad demographic category, refugees come from different countries and circumstances, and they have diverse abilities and skills. They are young and old, men and women, business owners, farmers, teachers, and health workers.

Opportunity is working to strengthen refugees' financial and digital literacy by equipping them with skills and knowledge to climb the financial ladder.


Almost 8 million Colombians have been displaced due to civil strife; additionally, close to 2 million Venezuelans are living in Colombia due to their own country’s crisis. Refugees, migrants, and displaced persons live in under-resourced areas, starting over in communities where opportunities are limited.

Opportunity’s staff in Colombia works in marginalized communities where many refugees and displaced persons come to make a new life. We integrate refugees into savings group programs, providing them with a way to build economic stability and a livelihood after they left theirs behind.

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