The suffering of children is one of the hardest things to witness – and they are especially vulnerable to the effects of poverty and conflict.

In South Africa, orphans and vulnerable children are faced with a barrage of challenges as a result of high levels of poverty, crime and HIV/Aids.

According to a Statistics South Africa study, just under one fifth (19.6%) of all children in South Africa, representing approximately 3.6 million individuals, are orphans.

The study also shows that children accounted for 40% of South Africa’s population in 2011 with 61.5% of them living in households with a per capital income of less than R650.

With these staggering statistics, it is clear that children in South Africa – and particularly orphaned children – are disproportionately affected by poverty.

At Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA) we have taken on these issues and have set up a holistic programme that addresses the nutritional, educational and psychosocial needs of impoverished orphans, through their primary and secondary schooling career.

By investing in education, Islamic Relief is building hope and ambition among young people.

We believe that by supporting the educational needs of these future leaders, we are helping them to attain the necessary skills to move them out of poverty and to ultimately become responsible and self-sustaining citizens.

To achieve this strategic objective, we have partnered with the 2 Oceans Education Foundation in setting up three primary and secondary leadership colleges in Cape Town and Johannesburg. These institutions have been providing quality, free education to impoverished children.

At the beginning of each year, uniforms and stationeries are allocated to the beneficiaries as part of our Back to School campaign.

This fundraising project has assisted more than 2,000 orphan and vulnerable children and has eased the pressure put on poor households. By providing students with basic school necessities such as uniforms, school shoes and stationery, Islamic Relief has found that the overall school attendance and academic performance of our rights holders has drastically improved.

It also reduces pressure on poor household’s expenditure by providing school uniforms and school stationary as part of the educational support for sponsored orphans and vulnerable children.

The target for the 2016 Back to School project is to kit out 1,500 orphan and vulnerable children for the school year. A complete school kit consists of a uniform, school shoes, a school bag and stationery and costs R1,200 each. However the public is urged to donate from as little as R100 which will go towards the project.

All contributions can be deposited into the following bank account: Standard Bank, Islamic Relief SA, Account No. 005318459, Branch Code 005205, Fordsburg Branch, Reference: SCHOOL & Contact Number.

For more information call the Islamic Relief South Africa call centre on 0800 111 898 or visit


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