Monday January 17, 2022

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the founding of Islamic Relief, which has grown into a leading international charity working across continents to alleviate the suffering of millions of people.


“Alhamdulillah, today we mark 38 years of Islamic Relief’s life-saving and life-changing work around the world,” says Waseem Ahmed, Chief Executive of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

“The world of 2022 feels very different to when our work began 38 years ago. In this time, we have faced extraordinary challenges and celebrated some remarkable achievements. One thing has remained constant: the generosity of our supporters, without whom our work would not be possible. Thank you, as always, for your incredible support.”

Here’s a some facts that you may or may not have known about Islamic Relief:


  • Founded in response to the 1984 famine in Sudan – Our founders, a group of medical doctors and activists, were moved by the suffering caused by the 1984 famine in Sudan. Working with an enthusiastic team based out of a small office in Birmingham, they raised £100,000 to help those affected.
  • We work in more than 40 countries – From our beginnings in the United Kingdom, Islamic Relief has expanded to deliver aid and fundraise in more than 40 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North America.
  • Inspired by faith – Islamic Relief’s faith-based approach informs the work we do to help people in need. Inspired by the Islamic faith, we envisage a caring world where communities are empowered, social obligations are fulfilled, and people respond as one to the suffering of others.
  • Supporting more than 80,000 orphaned children – Islamic Relief’s Orphan Sponsorship Programme, established in 1986, helps support children across several continents. The assistance of our generous sponsors helps ensure children can attend school and that families have their basic needs met.
  • Working to tackle climate change – Climate change is one of the greatest moral, social and environmental challenges facing humanity. Islamic Relief works to help communities and governments adapt to and mitigate climate change, while also working to reduce our own carbon footprint.
  • Qurbani programme feeds millions each year – Islamic Relief’s qurbani programme reached more than 3.1 million people last year. Our criteria ensure that meat goes to those most in need during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, one of the holiest periods in the Islamic year.
In Syria, a woman gives thanks to God as she receives a food parcel through the Islamic Relief Ramadan programme, which last year reached 934,000 individuals in 31 countries.
  • Improving financial inclusion for all – Since 1994 we have provided Islamic microfinance to people who would otherwise be excluded from financial services. With our interest-free Shariah-compliant loans, entrepreneurs start up or expand small businesses to lift themselves out of poverty.
  • Protecting families during winter – Storms, blizzards and freezing temperatures heap challenges on those living in damaged shelters, or with no shelter at all. Every winter, Islamic Relief helps those at risk over the colder months with food, fuel and other winter essentials.
  • 25 years of life-saving work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – Many Palestinians depend on external aid for day-to-day survival. This year marks 25 years of Islamic Relief’s work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, where we work to reduce suffering through emergency response and supporting people to build brighter futures.
  • Signatory to the Red Cross Code of Conduct – In 1999, Islamic Relief signed the Red Cross Code of Conduct, committing to this international standard of how to provide aid to people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner. Humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence are the core principles.
  • Helping refugees – Islamic Relief works to support refugees and displaced people around the world. At the peak of Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’ in 2015, we provided food packs in Macedonia, hygiene kits and blankets in Germany, advice and translation services for new arrivals in Greece and Italy, and short-term shelter and warm clothing in Sweden.
  • Responding to disasters – Islamic Relief has decades of experience responding to natural and man-made disasters ranging from earthquakes, floods and tsunamis to conflict. Each year, we rapidly respond to emergency situations, striving to meet the immediate needs of those affected, while working to develop a long-term response.
  • Recognised by the European Commission – In 2002, Islamic Relief signed a Framework Partnership with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department. The move recognised our capacity to deliver aid to a high standard.
Islamic Relief’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic included providing lifesaving medical equipment and supplies to overwhelmed healthcare facilities in Nepal.
  • On the ground in conflict zones – Islamic Relief works to support those affected by conflict around the world. We respond to emergencies and carry out long-term projects to help communities rebuild their lives. In 2003 we were one of the few international aid agencies assisting people in Iraq when war broke out.
  • Providing assistance based on need – We support those in need regardless of their religion, race or sexual orientation, and do not discriminate in any way. Islamic Relief works to ensure that those we help know our assistance is unconditional, and that we welcome feedback and complaints.
  • Continuing our work in Afghanistan – Islamic Relief has worked in Afghanistan for more than 18 years. We provide a lifeline in the country, which is gripped by humanitarian crisis triggered by drought, conflict, Covid-19 and political change. We are on the ground and delivering aid in 5 provinces, serving vulnerable populations including women and girls, the older people and people living with disabilities.
  • Adapting to a global pandemic – Islamic Relief has adapted projects and programmes to the new reality of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, we ran 122 Covid-19 prevention and support projects, reaching 1.5 million people. We also launched an ongoing Coronavirus Appeal, to help provide health and hygiene support to vulnerable people around the world.
  • Committed to localising aid – As well as assisting those in need directly, Islamic Relief is committed to localising aid by helping local partner organisations build their capacity. They could be first responders with a deep understanding of community needs, or a smaller non-governmental organisation working on one particular challenge in a country or region.
  • There’s so much more to do – Over the last 38 years, the generosity of our donors has made it possible for Islamic Relief to help millions of people around the world. Sadly, humanitarian crises continue to grow in number and severity, leaving more people in need of assistance.


Please help Islamic Relief continue our vital work. Donate today.

Islamic Relief © 2024 | All Rights Reserved | Islamic Relief Ireland is a Company Limited by Guarantee 564903 and is also a Registered Charity- RCN. 20153557 with charitable tax exemption CHY No. 21756

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