We don’t just provide aid, here at Islamic Relief we save and transform the lives of vulnerable communities in more than 40 countries across the globe.
From the very start, we had one clear vision:
“Inspired by our Islamic faith and guided by our values, we envisage a caring world where communities are empowered, social obligations are fulfilled and people respond as one to the suffering of others.”
Our key values, of compassion, justice, custodianship, sincerity and excellence – a critical part of our Islamic faith – inspire us each and every day to create positive change and remember the sanctity of life.
In line with Islamic teachings on the value of every human life, we provide assistance to whoever needs it most, regardless of race, religion or gender. We work to transform and save lives of people in crisis both across the UK and internationally.
From emergency relief to sustainable development
While we started our work providing disaster and emergency relief – supporting those who have suffered and lost everything in droughts, earthquakes, floods or conflict – alongside this immediate assistance, Islamic Relief has always aimed to relieve poverty and suffering in the long-term too.
The year after we were founded, Islamic Relief set up its first field office in Khartoum, Sudan, ready to help those affected by the drought to not just survive but to rebuild their lives. Since then, we have opened over 100 offices in 40 countries worldwide – from Afghanistan to Albania, Pakistan to Palestine, Somalia to Sudan.
In addition to disaster relief, we carry out sustainable development work to provide water, food, shelter, healthcare, education in the long-term. We work to support orphans and children, help people into employment and build livelihoods to support their families, and protect vulnerable communities from future disasters, preventing the loss of lives and property.
Islamic Relief also advocate towards building a more just and equitable society. Inspired by our faith, we campaign against a range of issues including the increasing impact of climate change, gender-based violence and war and conflict worldwide.
Over 40 years, Islamic Relief has since grown into one of the world’s largest Islamic NGO, Alhamdulillah!
Islamic Relief UK milestones
Over the course of the last 40 years, we’ve answered the call as disasters have stuck and made our growing mark in the sector:
- 1984: Islamic Relief is founded with its first 20p donation from nine-year-old Bassem – the nephew of Hany El Banna (founder of Islamic Relief)
- 1985: We hire a small office in Moseley, Birmingham and, with the help of volunteers, we raise over £100,000 towards supporting those affected by the African famine
- 1986: We begin a number of major programmes which continue to this day, including orphan sponsorship and Qurbani distribution, working in new countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Malawi
- 1988: Floods in Sudan create a turning point for Islamic Relief as we raise £200,000 – providing our largest relief operation to date
- 1989: We are incorporated under the Companies Act and registered with the UK Charity Commission
- 1990: We open new offices in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East
- 1993: We’re supported by the UK-based newspaper Independent who raise £37,000 for our Bosnia Appeal
- 1994: We become the first Muslim NGO to receive UK government funding (£180,000 for a training centre in North Kordofan, Sudan)
- 1999: We sign the Red Cross Code of Conduct, an international set of standards which outline how to provide aid to people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner
- 2000: We begin to implement Waqf projects, reviving the great Islamic tradition of sustainable charitable giving
- 2001: We supply emergency food packs and tents for 5,500 people affected by the devastating Gujarat earthquake in India. Following 9/11, we also advocate on behalf of the Muslim charity sector and set up the Humanitarian Forum
- 2002: A Framework Partnership is signed with the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, recognising Islamic Relief’s capacity to deliver aid to a high standard
- 2005: We become first Muslim charity to join the UK’s Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) – an umbrella organisation which brings together 13 leading UK aid charities in times of crisis to simultaneously raise funds
- 2008: We launch a £20 million appeal for Gaza throughout the devastating two-day war
- 2009: Our guest of honour, HRH the Prince of Wales, join us to celebrate our 25th anniversary
- 2011: We are at the forefront of providing emergency aid in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia in East Africa’s worst drought for 60 years, killing nearly a quarter of a million people
- 2012: We gain access deep inside Syria, providing aid to families devastated by the conflict, as well as working with refugees in bordering Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan
- 2013: As a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), we help to raise a staggering £90 million for the Philippines typhoon relief effort
- 2015: We respond to the European refugee crisis by providing food packs in Macedonia, hygiene kits and blankets in Germany, advice and translation services for refugees arriving in Greece and Italy and short-term shelter and warm clothing in Sweden
- 2016: Our Ramadan ‘SubhanAllah’ campaign features on over 500 buses across the UK generating almost 700 pieces of media coverage and raising over £10 million during the holy month
- 2017: We launch our global rebrand of Islamic Relief: “Saving Lives since 1984” to bring greater awareness of our long-standing values and mission, celebrating what we do best!
- 2018: Our groundbreaking ‘Honour Her’ campaign is launched as we call on the Muslim and global communities to stand up against violence against women and continue our work across the globe to socially, culturally and economically empower women – additionally launching our Women’s Protection Fund