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Six-year-old Somali girl standing at the door of the family's IDP shelter

Internally Displaced Persons

Protecting children affected by forced displacement

Every child deserves to live free from fear

It is estimated that 29.6 million children are internally displaced, forced to flee their home to escape conflict, violence and natural disasters. When disaster strikes, children are often the most at risk of exploitation and abuse.

That’s why World Vision is there, providing life-saving support to ensure children are protected from harm, even in the hardest places. We work with communities and local governments to help children experience fullness of life 

Keep reading to discover:

Key facts about Internally Displaced Persons

How World Vision is helping people internally displaced

How you can help displaced children


Key facts about Internally Displaced Persons

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are individuals or groups that have been forced to leave their home, seeking safety whilst remaining within the borders of their own country. The largest IDP populations reside within Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, and Nigeria.

Challenges faced by IDPs

Children who are forced to flee their homes often face devastating consequences. Their lives change in an instant, resulting in limited access to basic essentials such as nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, and educational materials. These challenges are heightened by insufficient and unsanitary living conditions, along with an increased risk of exploitation, abuse, or discrimination.

Unfortunately, the prevalence of violence against women and girls is more prominent in displacement camps. Loss of employment opportunities and being unable meet their basic needs means families make impossible choices to survive. Often, girls are forced into early marriages as a way to alleviate some of the family's financial pressures by having one less mouth to feed.

How we’re helping internally displaced people

Children may have been forced to flee their homes, often leaving behind possessions and being separated from their family members while seeking safety and refuge in camps or temporary shelters.

With over 70 years experience, World Vision is helping internally displaced persons around the world, addressing children's immediate needs and supporting their community's long-term recovery.

With your support, we can

Every child deserves a bright future 

As a Christian charity, our focus is on supporting children living through crises and helping them experience fullness of life. World Vision works with local leaders and communities to reach vulnerable children, providing essentials to help them reach their potential.

By donating today, you are helping children get the essentials they need to thrive.

Personal stories of Internally Displaced Persons

Together, we can support displaced children


  • An internally displaced person (IDP) is defined as someone that has been forced to leave their home but still remains within the borders of their own country. Unlike refugees, IDPs have not crossed an international border to seek safety.

  • Internally displaced persons often flee their homes due to due to conflict, violence, fear of persecution, natural disaster, or other situations that threaten their safety or wellbeing. They may have been forced to leave behind their homes, possessions, and communities, and may be living in temporary shelters or with friends and family.

    IDPs face many challenges, including limited access to basic services such as healthcare, education, and employment, and may be at risk of exploitation, abuse, or discrimination.

  • The main difference between a refugee and an internally displaced person (IDP) is that a refugee is someone who has crossed an international border to seek refuge in a neighbouring country. Whereas, an IDP remains within the borders of their own country.

    Often, IDPs and refugees living in camps are both fleeing their home due to armed conflict, violence or natural disasters, but IDPs might not be able to leave their own country.

    Like all human beings, refugees and internally displaced persons deserve human rights. Because of their circumstances, refugees are protected under international law and have the right to seek asylum in another country. However, IDPs have the same rights as any other individual in their country, including rights to humanitarian assistance economic, education and political participation and protection from violence.

    READ MORE: Facts about refugees

  • Refugee: A refugee is a person fleeing war, conflict or violence into another country.

    Internally Displaced Person: An internally displaced person is a person who became displaced within their home country.

    Stateless Person: A stateless person is someone who doesn’t have citizenship in any country.

    Asylum Seeker: An asylum seeker is someone who leaves their own country and applies for asylum in another country but isn’t yet legally recognised as a refugee.

  • The causes of internally displaced persons can be due to various reasons such as conflict, persecution, human rights abuses, and natural disasters. Sometimes, families choose to move to seek better employment opportunities and access to basic services like water or education. 

    These reasons can often work together to create complex and desperate situations for internally displaced persons.

  • Nearly three-quarters of the world’s IDPs live in 10 countries: Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ukraine, Colombia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan. However, the largest number of people displaced within their own country is Syria (6.8 million)

  • Children, women and persons with disabilities are most vulnerable when they are forcibly displaced due to conflict and disaster.

    Children may be forced to move on their own and become separated from their families in the hopes of finding immediate safety and protection. This can multiply risks to abuse, exploitation and mental distress. Displaced children are deprived of their human rights. Often their education is disrupted, they may face hunger and malnutrition, as well as facing significant challenges accessing essential services like safe shelter, clean water, health and psychosocial support.

    Women and girls are at high risk of sexual assaults and gender-based violence, have difficulty finding livelihoods and challenges accessing health services. Persons with disabilities are often left behind or trapped in conflict zones, and even when they have escaped, they may be subjected to discrimination and have trouble receiving humanitarian assistance.