Farook (pictured) is a nine-year-old orphan from Bangladesh. He lost both parents at a young age and is now looked after by his elderly grandmother, Asia.

Couldn’t afford grandson’s education

Before receiving support from Islamic Relief, Asia used to work very hard as a day labourer in the fields in order to provide two meals a day – consisting mainly of rice, potatoes or maize. She did her best to look after Farook, but her limited income meant that she couldn’t afford to send her grandson to school and was always worried about making ends meet.

Helped out of poverty

Asia was helped out of poverty through Islamic Relief’s innovative Alternative Orphan Sponsorship Programme, which gave her an initial loan of 20,000 BDT to purchase livestock and establish a new way to make a living. Her livestock now provide her with meat, eggs, milk and other animal products, which she sells in the market place. As well as a loan, we made sure she received business management training to help her grow her new business and manage it well.

Alhamdulillah, Asia and Farook can now afford to eat three meals a day and Farook is also attending school. “I love school very much,” he says. “Growing up I would think about my dad often, and it hurt as I never received any parental love. But at school I feel loved again; I have my friends and teachers who all look out for me. I have a dream of being an educated person, and it would hurt a lot if I couldn’t go to school anymore.”

Breaking the cycle of poverty

To support orphans like Farook through our Alternative Orphan Sponsorship Programme, which aims to make beneficiaries self-sufficient within four years of joining the scheme. This is achieved by providing guardians with the skills and resources needed to create a sustainable source of income, as well as paying for orphans to attend school, so that entire families finally have a chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.

Looking after an orphan is a great act of generosity encouraged by the Prophet (peace be upon him), who said: “I and the person who looks after an orphan, and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together. (Bukhari)

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