There are more than 100 million refugees and internally displaced people worldwide – the highest figure ever recorded. The majority of displaced people live in cities where earning a reliable income is critical for survival and needed to rebuild livelihoods. 

The Resilient Futures program, run by the International Rescue Committee in partnership with the Citi Foundation, helps young people in cities around the world acquire job skills and build their own businesses. The program provides training, mentorship and financial assistance to young entrepreneurs and focuses on supporting refugees and internally displaced people. 

Over 5,400 people in seven countries have taken part in the Resilient Futures program since it was introduced in 2017. In 2023, an additional 885 entrepreneurs will benefit from the program. 

Resilient Futures has adapted to focus on building economic resilience among young entrepreneurs and trains them on the importance of implementing health regulations and safe business practices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the stories of nine entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the Resilient Futures program.  

Abigail, A² Beauty Salon, Nigeria

Abigail combs a client's hair in her salon.
Abigail, 25, styles a customer’s hair at her salon; she was inspired by her Aunt Vivian, who also owns a beauty business in Nigeria.
Photo: KC Nwakalor for the IRC

Having my own business makes me very happy. Through my salon, I have been able to save more money to help my family and look after my future.

Abigail and her family returned to Maiduguri, a city in northeast Nigeria, after the conflict that took her father’s life in 2009 ceased. With the support of her family members and the IRC’s Resilient Futures program, Abigail started her own business, A² Beauty Salon.  

Meet Abigail.

Hudaifah, beekeeper, Jordan

Hudaifah and his partner Yousef work at an apiary outside the city limits of Amman, Jordan.
Hudaifah (right) and business partner Yousef work at their apiary outside of Amman, Jordan.
Photo: Elena Heatherwick for the IRC

I hope that our business grows and that we can expand to export honey globally.

After enrolling in the Resilient Futures program, Hudaifah was awarded a grant to start a beekeeping business. He works alongside his business partner, Yousef, to harvest honey and educate local farmers on the agricultural benefits that bees bring.

Meet Hudaifah.

Kristine, clothing designer, Germany

Kristine shows a business partner a new clothing design at her office in Nuremberg.
Kristine (left) updates her online fashion business, where she sells a range of handcrafted items.
Photo: Lena Mucha for the IRC

I have already achieved a lot—and this is just the beginning.

Kristine, a mother of two, left Latvia in 2016 with her family to seek a better life in Germany. After settling in Nuremberg, she participated in the Resilient Futures program and was awarded a grant to start an online business, which she hopes will fund her children’s education. 

Meet Kristine.

Rehab, tailor, Jordan

Rehab poses for a photo while shopping for fabrics at a shop in Amman, Jordan.
Rehab, a refugee and mother of five, purchases supplies at a shop for her tailoring business.
Photo: Elena Heatherwick for the IRC

I want to grow my business and start selling to shops, to supermarkets, to schools and malls.

In 2013, Rehab fled her home in Aleppo, Syria, after war claimed the life of one of her daughters. After resettling in Amman, she began working as a tailor and, with help from the Resilient Futures program, purchased a sewing machine to start her own business. 

Meet Rehab.

Lydia, Emmy Quality Shoe Production, Nigeria

Lydia works on a sandal in the middle of her store, Emmy Quality Shoe Production.
Lydia (right), works on a sandal at her shop in Yola, Nigeria, which she hopes to expand into outlets around the world.
Photo: Elena Heatherwick for the IRC

My dream is to have different branches in Abuja, the U.S. and everywhere, so that the whole world will know my name!

Four years after armed groups forced Lydia and her family from their home, she opened Emmy Quality Shoe Production. The Resilient Futures program helped Lydia design a business plan and provided her with a grant to open up her business. Now Lydia describes herself as a proud businesswoman and is able to support her children’s education. 

Meet Lydia.

Tarek, Salon Jood, Jordan

Tarek stands outside of his business, Salon Jood, with his four-year-old son.
Tarek poses with his 3-year-old son, Jood, outside of his barber shop in Jerash, Jordan.
Photo: Elena Heatherwick for the IRC

I named my salon after my son because my kids are the most important thing in my life.

Tarek fled war in Syria to Jordan, where he met his wife, started a family and taught himself to cut hair. With support from the Resilient Futures program, he opened his own barber shop and has since hired two other Syrian refugees.

Meet Tarek.

Laraba, Lasim Grains, Nigeria

I used to be scared at the market, as I was the only woman who went there, but now I negotiate and I buy with confidence—the traders say this girl is a businesswoman!

In 2014, the armed group Boko Haram invaded Laraba’s village, killing several of her family members. Laraba and her younger brother fled to Yola, where she enrolled in the Resilient Futures program and now operates a grain shop, selling rice and other staples.   

Meet Laraba.

Musa, retailer, Nigeria

My business makes me feel like I’m in control, even though I am starting small.

Musa, 21, became the sole provider for his mother and eight siblings after armed groups killed his father and sent the family fleeing to Yola. There, Musa studied business in the Resilient Futures program, set up a shop selling engine oil and auto parts and quickly expanded to employ two of his younger brothers.

Meet Musa.

Moussa, chef, Greece

I like to push people to experience new flavors; when people try new food it opens their minds.

Moussa lost both parents and his younger brother before fleeing Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) and making his way to Greece. In Athens, he enrolled in the Resilient Futures program with plans to open a restaurant called “Our Home”—and share a taste of Ivorian culture.

Meet Moussa.