Bekim is a boy living in a small village in central Kosovo. He has been sponsored in Islamic Relief’s orphan sponsorship program since 2002, which means his mother is able to afford food, clothes and school fees.

Bekim’s four-room house is home to 20 people – his mother, brothers and sisters, uncle and cousins. Nobody in the house can find work, and the family relies on social and humanitarian support to survive. The house has no running water, no sanitation facilities and only a few pieces of old furniture.

When Bekim was just a baby, Kosovo was in the midst of war and Bekim and his family were driven from their home, becoming some of the 1 million people who were displaced by the fighting. It may have been because of the loud explosions that Bekim lost his hearing.

Because of his hearing loss, Bekim has never been able to talk. His uncle Shaban used to speak for him. “I see that he gets agitated—he wants to play with his cousins and siblings,” Shaban said. “He finds it hard that he cannot hear. He prefers to stay with me or other adults, and he often becomes very agitated when he sees other children playing.”

Bekim’s mother quickly realised when her son was small that he could not hear her but she did not know what to do. Shaban brought Bekim to Islamic Relief to see if he could be helped.

As part of an Islamic Relief health project in Kosovo, Bekim was referred to a doctor, who examined him and fitted him with a hearing aid. Now, for the first time, Bekim can hear.

With his new hearing aid and with regular speech therapy and medical care, Bekim’s family hopes to hear him speak for the first time.

Learn more about Islamic Relief’s orphan sponsorship programs on