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:
*Donations to the Global Orphan & Children fund are preferred over Annual Orphan Sponsorships because it allows more flexibility for its utilization.
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:
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 email@example.com to discuss whether this is an option for their country. After 12 months, donors may request an updated annual progress report via firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the initial report, annual progress reports will be sent based on availability from the respective field office.
|Bangladesh||Palestinian Refugee*||Syrian Refugee*|
*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.
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:
|Country||Number of Orphan Sponsorships|
|Turkey (Syrian Refugees)||904|
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 email@example.com.
Chechnya [temporarily unavailable] Ethiopia [temporarily unavailable]
India [temporarily unavailable]
Iraq [temporarily unavailable]
Lebanon [temporarily unavailable]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. The sponsor and orphan are free to exchange correspondence via Islamic Relief USA. Sponsors may email the correspondence to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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
email@example.com if it has been past 12 months of the start of the sponsorship.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.