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Refugee to Entrepreneur: All they need is Opportunity.

By Opportunity International

Who or what do you see when you first hear the word refugee?

Do you see a mother?  A businessman?  A daughter?  A teacher? An athlete?

Or do you see empty rubber boats, overrun border posts, packed reception centres, tent cities, rows of people needing assistance? Maybe you see many things. 

It is unlikely, however, you see Albert Einstein, Freddy Mercury or Madeleine Albright to mention just a few famous refugees.

Refugees suffer enormously from stereotyping and false narratives. They are ordinary people. People like you and me.

Most are ambitious, entrepreneurial and determined to provide the best for their family and community.  That is often the reason they have fled in the first place. It takes great courage to leave all that one knows behind and start again. To step into the unknown.

With the right opportunity, they can rebuild their lives, grow successful businesses and lift themselves, their family and the wider community out of poverty and move away from dependency on aid.

This is where Opportunity International comes in

For 50 years, Opportunity International has been developing and delivering financial solutions that enable people living in poverty to increase their incomes, send their children to school and transform their lives.  

In 2019, Opportunity International started working in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement, in southern Uganda, to provide refugees with access to financial services - small business loans, savings accounts and financial training.  Uganda hosts Africa’s largest refugee population with over 1.4 million refugees across 30 settlements. It has one of the world’s most progressive refugee policies, upholding refugees’ rights to move freely, work, access land and basic services, own property, resettle and integrate into society.  Despite this, refugees are heavily reliant on humanitarian aid and lack access to the services needed for them to build a livelihood.

This September and October Opportunity International is hosting an outdoor photo exhibition in London, by photographer Kate Holt, telling the remarkable stories of refugees in Uganda who are determined to change their lives. 

The exhibition is free to attend and will be held in the Southwood Garden, St James’s Church in Piccadilly from September 1st to September 12th and again from September 20th to October 8th 2021.

So if you live, work or are planning to visit London this September why not come and walk amongst these inspiring people, read their stories and learn about the power of an opportunity.


Follow and visit our social media via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to see videos and images from the exhibition.  #handupnothandout

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