Help refugees help themselves:

an innovative project enabling refugees to achieve independence from aid and become active agents of change.


URBAN REFUGEES is a non-profit organisation that seeks to improve the lives of refugees and displaced people living in cities of developing countries. If you would like to know more about our action, go to our website

Support URBAN REFUGEES' project

Our fundraising campaign, for our first incubation project, is now closed ! But we still need your donations to ensure its success and fund the following incubation projects. 

Join us to help refugee-led organisations support their communities in cities of developing countries!

Get updates about the project on our Tumblr:

Our conviction

At URBAN REFUGEES, we believe in the powerful resilience and capacity of refugees to find stability and independence in spite of scarce resources and visibility.

Refugee-led organizations exist in most cities of the developing world, working to provide urgently needed services and support for the urban refugee community, including psychosocial support, and courses for out-of-school children. 

Our solution

Our solution is the URBAN REFUGEES incubator: an intensive, six-month training programme delivered to the leaders of these refugee organizations. It includes modules on topics such as project management, fundraising, communication with media and on social networks, and relationship-building with NGOs.  The goal is to provide these organizations with the tools to ensure their long-term autonomy and continued support of the urban refugee community.

Our incubation program also includes SMS Up, a group messaging service we created with Facebook developers. Many refugees across the developing world do not have Internet on their phone, which prevents them from using Apps like What’s App for group communications. SMS enables them to self organize easily, and communicate time-sensitive information without an Internet connection, using an SMS distribution list. It also enables them to create their own list, moving away from the top down manner of delivering information to refugees.

Where ?

We will pilot our first incubation program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with one of the numerous refugee-led organizations that showed an interest in participating. After sending just one call for interest, we received applications from more than 50 refugee organizations from all over the world, and we now have a waiting list!

In the long term

Our dream is to create an International Refugee Council, a federation of all these refugee organisations, giving the refugee community a voice in international forums and in the media. But an International Council cannot emerge if these groups are not better structured.

Why this fundraiser ?

The only way to secure financial assistance from major international organizations and sponsors, in order to replicate our programme for all the organisations that need it is to prove to them, with supporting results, that our incubator is an effective solution for improving the lives of urban refugees.

The Project Managers



Visit our Tumblr to get updates about our project :

Personnel Costs - 2 trainers



Office supplies


Other direct costs

Indirect costs


6 540 $

1 853 $

3 008 $

109 $

584 $

2 147 $

3 259 $

17 500 $

First Incubator Budget

Sonia - Co Founder

Fanny - Project Manager

Sonia co-founded URBAN REFUGEES in France in Nov. 2012. She started working with refugees and IDPs in 2007. During each mission in the field, she would notice that the bulk of the assistance was directed to camps when in fact most refugees live in cities with no or very limited support. In 2012, she decided with a web designer, David Delvalle, to tackle the invisibility of urban refugees. Prior to creating URBAN REFUGEES, Sonia worked with urban refugees and IDPs in various countries with both NGOs and UN agencies. Sonia holds a Master’s degree in Humanitarian Affairs from the French Institute of Political Sciences of Bordeaux.

Fanny joined URBAN REFUGEES in 2016 to develop the Incubation Program and launch its Pilot in Malaysia. Working at a worldwide consulting company for 5 years, she acquired a deep knowledge of Project Management. She managed several pro-bono projects for Non-Profit Organizations, helping them improve their capabilities. Working for Social Start Ups was an eye opening experience for Fanny which led her to fully dedicate herself to driving change at a larger scale. Fanny studied at the French Institute of Political Sciences of Bordeaux – where she met Sonia. She enjoys evolving in multicultural settings. She currently lives in Paris.

We express our deepest gratitude to all those who have worked to make this crowd funding campaign possible, and in particular Nicolaos Zafiriou and all the team of the La guilde studio, Lateral Economics, Sabry Gharbi, Jess Cogswell, Elizabeth Johl, Marion Coqueblin, Maxime de Beauchesne, Adiel Suarez-Murias, Erin Holstein and Nico as well as all the volunteers and the members of our Board in the US and in France for their ongoing support and advice.

We need a starting amount of only 17, 500 USD to launch our first incubator programme in Malaysia. After this six-month pilot program is validated, we can move on to obtain funding for other refugee organisations in Malaysia and then in Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, and beyond!

You can make a donation either with your credit card, using the Pay Pal button below, or by check at the attention of URBAN REFUGEES
at the below address:

520 8th Avenue, 20th floor

New York, NY 10018 USA

Subject: Urban Refugees Fund


All donations made by US citizens are tax deductible!

The problem

Refugee camps cannot offer any prospect of an independent, stable life—when fleeing their country, most refugees avoid them and settle in large urban centers, mainly in developing countries. Contrary to a popular belief, most refugees do not live in camps or in Western countries but in cities of developing countries, where they face major challenges and often precarious living conditions. 

These community-based organizations are creating positive change for many, but their potential is severely limited by scarce resources, lack of visibility, and informal management systems, preventing them from being considered credible stakeholders. 




Visit our Tumblr to get updates about our project :