Donate Children In Need | Sponsor An Orphan - Islamic Relief USA

can help provide medical support to an orphan
can support livelihood training for families with orphaned children
can open up access to healthcare, education, and more for vulnerable children
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How to Help Children in Need

There are roughly 153 million orphans worldwide. And every day, nearly 6,000 more children become orphans. To add, one in five children lives in a conflict or war zone, and studies show that these children are at high risk of experiencing violence, psychological stress, hunger, loss of education, and/or lack of access to basic resources. Over 12 million refugee boys and girls have not only lost their homes, but are no longer able to make a future for themselves.

“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise,’ showing his middle and index fingers and separating them.” (Bukhari)

Islamic Relief is working to improve the lives of orphaned children by protecting them from illness; providing them with educational opportunities; and giving them access to proper nutrition, water, and sanitation services. Donors can show these boys and girls the power of love through supporting our programs in three ways:

  1. Annual Orphan Sponsorship
  2. Donating to the Global Orphan and Children fund
  3. Orphan Family Support

*Donations to the Global Orphan & Children fund are preferred over Annual Orphan Sponsorships because it allows more flexibility for its utilization.

Annual Orphan Family Sponsorship

IRUSA donors currently sponsor over 28,800 orphans and in total, the global Islamic Relief community currently sponsors over 85,000 orphans. Essential needs that may include one or more of the following:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Healthcare
  • Education

After a donor signs up to become a sponsor, they will receive an initial report about their orphan. Donors may also be able to correspond with and/or send an Eid gift to the orphan they sponsor. Contact the Orphan Services department at to discuss whether this is an option for their country. After 12 months, donors may request an updated annual progress report via In addition to the initial report, annual progress reports will be sent based on availability from the respective field office.

Annual Orphan Family Sponsorship is currently available in the countries listed below, with the highlighted countries showing where it is most needed:

Afghanistan Jordan Sudan
Bangladesh Palestinian Refugee* Syrian Refugee*
Bosnia Pakistan Yemen
Ethiopia Somalia

*Orphans originally from these countries may currently be living as refugees in neighboring countries depending on need. Palestinian refugee orphans reside in Jordan. Syrian refugee orphans reside in Turkey. 

*Orphans originally from these countries may currently be living as refugees in neighboring countries depending on need. Syrian refugee orphans reside in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

More information about our annual orphan sponsorship program is available in our orphan policy statement. Questions or feedback? Connect with us at 1-855-447-1001 or

Global Orphan and Children fund

Donations to the Global Orphan & Children Programs fund go to countries with the most need. The fund provides support to orphans and children in need through two programs:

  1. The Orphan Sponsorship Program that will provide orphans and their families funding that can be utilized to improve their quality of life. The program aims to provide basic necessities to orphans, improve their health and nutrition, implement projects within the community, and support the orphan educationally, socially, and morally.
  2. Projects serving people in need that include orphans. These projects are tailored to the specific needs of the orphan families within their community and can address needs such as education; water, sanitation, and hygiene; health and nutrition; livelihood; food security; and/or emergency response.
Country Number of Orphan Sponsorships
Afghanistan 2,033
Albania 391
Bangladesh 1,848
Bosnia 562
Chechnya  821
Ethiopia 906
India 1,020
Indonesia 426
Iraq 445
Jordanian 659
Syrian Refugees 190
Palestinian Refugees 1,943
Kenyan 695
Somali Refugees  182
Kosovo 394
Lebanese  675
Syrian Refugees  1,450
Palestinian Refugees 799
Malawi 418
Mali 1,169
Niger 625
Pakistan 3,852
Somalia 1,373
South Africa 500
Sri Lanka 433
Sudan  693
Tunisia 287
Turkey (Syrian Refugees) 904
Yemen 3,186
Total  28,879


Orphan Family Support means you help uplift an orphan and his or her family into self-reliance by giving them the tools they need to thrive. What’s more: The family gets the medical and psychological support they need all while building a sustainable living so they can break the chains of poverty that bind them. 


Every country is different, and sometimes programs for orphans are customized to meet particular conditions. For details, please connect with us at 1-855-447-1001 or







Chechnya [temporarily unavailable] 

Ethiopia  [temporarily unavailable] 



India [temporarily unavailable] 


Iraq [temporarily unavailable]




Lebanon [temporarily unavailable] 







South Africa

Sri Lanka


Syria refugees*

Tunisia  [temporarily unavailable] 

Yemen  [temporarily unavailable]

* Orphans may be refugees in neighboring countries depending on need. Please note that Islamic Relief USA reserves the right to allocate your donation where it is needed most if your preferred request cannot be met.

Stories From the Ground

Hana’s Story

Hana Rayyan is a 42-year-old Palestinian mother of five children who lost her husband in 2014 due to a heart attack. 

“He used to work as a driver; we used to subsist on his daily wage. When he died, we had nothing to our name. On the day he died, our house was empty; we had no food.”

After losing her husband, Hana became the sole provider for her family. It took a toll on her health, as she developed diabetes mellitus. 

Hana opens up about a day in her life. “I start my day taking my diabetes medicine and preparing tea and milk for breakfast. After that, I follow up with my children on their remote education. I always make sure that we eat as many meals as we can together, including lunch and dinner. Before sleeping, we always sit together and talk,” she says.

Hana, her five children, and her father in law share a home that is about 800 square feet. There are two bedrooms; one room is for the girls, one room is for Hana and her two sons, and her father-in-law sleeps in the living room. The house includes a kitchen and a bathroom. Its roof is made of deteriorated corrugated sheets, making the house cold in winter and warm in summer. “This winter was not easy due to water leakages,” Hana explains.

All of Hana’s children attend school; she’s very proud of their academic achievements. Two of Hana’s children qualified to receive support through Islamic Relief. Hana says, “Our main source of income is from Islamic Relief which I use mainly to ensure that my children receive education. Ironically, COVID-19 movement restrictions were helpful in the sense that transportation cost has significantly decreased. However, the internet has to be ensured for remote education.”

The money Hana receives is used to cover the cost of education, food, and healthcare. Hana says, “IRUSA’s Intervention to Support Vulnerable Children project is the reason that my children are receiving an education now.” She adds, “This project helped us a lot; first, it supports us with a cash sponsorship which has significantly changed our lives, it has also allowed us to have water and hot water in our home, and the children are provided with winter clothes which allows me to purchase winter items for the unsponsored children.” She adds, “Sponsoring two of my children is indirectly helping the unsponsored ones as I am able to allocate the limited resources I have towards the education of the other three. If I had to support all five on my own, I’m not sure I would have been able to send all of them to school.” 

In addition to the support for the children, the project allowed Hana to receive livelihood training by teaching her how to sew and providing her with a sewing machine. The project has given Hana hope for her children but also for herself as she remains resilient and looks forward to what each day brings.

PLEASE NOTE: Donations made to IRUSA's Global Children Support fund may serve urgent or long-term programs that support children in the United States or across the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is an orphan selected for sponsorship?

Orphans are selected based on five main criteria: vulnerability, financial need, family size, housing conditions, and health. The families with the greatest need—such as larger families with dire financial situations—receive priority for sponsorship. Official documentation is required to confirm an orphan’s sponsorship, and the selection of children must not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, age, gender, or disability. 

2. How does Islamic Relief define an orphan?

Islamic Relief defines an orphan as a child younger than 18 who is living without a father or both parents, or a child whose father’s whereabouts have been unknown for two years or more (one year or more for refugees and internally displaced people). The orphan may be of any gender, religion, or race.

3. Does sponsoring an orphan count towards zakat?

Yes. Under the guidelines of what type of charity qualifies specifically for zakat, aid to orphans is among them. As always, if you have any additional questions on this, we urge you to seek guidance from your imam or local mosque.

4. Can I write a letter to the orphan I am sponsoring?

Yes. The sponsor and orphan are free to exchange correspondence via Islamic Relief USA. Sponsors may email the correspondence to the

5. Does IRUSA’s orphan sponsorship include refugees?

Yes! Currently, IRUSA donors are helping sponsor Somali orphan refugees in Kenya; Palestinian orphan refugees in Jordan and Lebanon; and Syrian orphan refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

6. How long will the sponsorship continue?

You can sponsor a child as long as you wish, up  to the age of 18. In special medical or continuing education circumstances, IRUSA facilitates extended  sponsorships through the age of 24. We require a minimum sponsorship time of one year because this allows us to plan ahead and maintain a consistent  level of service to the orphan. However, in case of any  difficulty, the sponsor may cancel at any time with advanced notice.

7. I have not heard about the orphan I am sponsoring. When will I be updated?

All sponsors receive a first (biodata) report on the child upon confirmation of the first donation payment. The first (biodata) report is emailed to sponsors typically six to eight weeks after initiating sponsorship. Annual progress reports will be sent based on availability from the respective field office. Donors may request an updated annual progress report via if it has been past 12 months of the start of the sponsorship. 

8. How is the sponsorship donation spent?

In many cases, sponsorship money is paid to the orphan’s guardian in several increments throughout the year. Of course, every country is different and there are unique circumstances that sometimes affect the frequency of payment or how the aid is delivered. You can learn the specific details of a particular country by connecting with us at 1-855-447-1001 or Orphans are monitored to ensure that they are receiving the full benefits of sponsorship. This may include health checks and/or education for school-aged children.

9. What happens to an orphan in the Orphan Sponsorship Program after they turn 18 years old?

When an orphan in the program turns 18, they are not automatically dropped from the Orphan Sponsorship Program. If the orphan is either 1. Studying and needs funds for education, or 2. Has a medical condition that needs attention, they remain in the Orphan Sponsorship Program either by support from the donor (for as long as the donor is willing to support them), or by expenses covered through IRUSA’s Global Orphan & Children Programs fund. There have been instances where donors have supported families with an orphan child(ren) until the orphan has reached the age of 24.

10. What countries is the Global Orphan & Children Programs fund active in?

Countries where the Global Orphan & Children Programs fund are active currently include Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Chechnya, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan (including Palestinian and Syrian refugees), Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen.

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