From the very start, Islamic Relief had one 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.”

In line with Islamic teachings on the value of every human life, we provide this 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 South Africa and internationally.

While our beginnings were in disaster and emergency relief – providing for 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 it was founded, Islamic Relief set up its first field office in Khartoum, Sudan, ready to help those affected by the drought not just survive, but 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 also 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 34 years, Islamic Relief has grown, by the grace of Allah (SWT), into one of the world’s largest Islamic NGOs. As we look to the future, we are always eager to learn, develop and improve our work, to serve those most in need. We aim to do this all in line with our key values, taken from our Islamic faith: compassion, justice, custodianship, sincerity and excellence.

Islamic Relief milestones – 1984 to 2014:

  • 2014: Islamic Relief signs an agreement with the African Union to work together to reduce poverty and the impact of disasters in Africa.
  • 2013: Islamic Relief signs an official agreement with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust in Johannesburg, heralding the ‘Islamic Relief Oncology Centre of Excellence’
  • 2012: Islamic Relief South Africa partners with Netcare to rehabilitate 7 wells and constructed an additional 8 water wells in refugee camps and schools.
  • 2009: Islamic Relief South Africa begins supporting the Osizweni Community Centre situated in Ennerdale, Johannesburg.
  • 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 raise funds.
  • 2005: The South African office is officially registered as an independent NGO in SA, affiliated to the IRW family.
  • 2004: The South African office if officially registered as an independent NGO, affiliated to the IRW family.
  • 2003: Dr Hany El Banna meets leads a team to establish the first South African office, based in Johannesburg.
  • 2004: Islamic Relief opens its office in Johannesburg
  • 2000: We begin to implement Waqf projects, reviving the great Islamic tradition of sustainable charitable giving
  • 1999: We sign the Red Cross Code of Conduct, an international set of standards on how to provide aid to people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner
  • 1990: We open new offices in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East
  • 1989: We are incorporated under the Companies Act and registered with the UK Charity Commission
  • 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
  • 1985: We hire a small office in Moseley, Birmingham, and with the help of volunteers, we raise over £100,000 (R1,8 Million) for the African famine
  • 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)
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