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Sponsor an Orphan

Each day millions of children across the world face incredible hardship. Struggling to survive amongst wars, disasters, drought or disease – they all too often become orphaned as a result. Sponsor an orphan today and help transform the lives of children around the world.

…the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise…” (Bukhari)

For many orphaned children, the reality of poverty is a daily burden. Left wondering: where will my next meal come from? Where are we going to live? If we get sick and can’t afford medicine…will we survive? – every day is a challenge.

Deprived of much-needed educational support, health care and critical age-appropriate safe places to play and grow, these children are incredibly vulnerable and face a bleak future.

They need critical care and support – and that’s where Islamic Relief comes in.

Sponsor an orphan today.

Sponsor an Orphan

Bring hope to an orphan affected by the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria



South Africa
Sri Lanka




Palestine, Gaza

Orphan Sponsorship: Providing critical orphan care

Here at Islamic Relief, we believe that every child deserves a positive start in life and the hope for a bright future. That’s why we’re supporting orphaned children affected by war, bereavement, poverty and ill-health, offering them the chance for a better future.

We build safe villages for children across the globe, providing clean water, healthcare and education. We protect children from dangerous child labor, we provide food security and critical psychosocial care and crucially; we also help carers to enter into work/increase their household income to provide long-term sustainable support.

Striving to ensure that these children are safe, protected and loved, we’re transforming lives.

We already support over 63,000 orphans around the world – help us to support even more.

Sponsor an orphan today.

Orphan Sponsorship Program – FAQs 

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the Orphan Sponsorship Program that you can use for further guidance:

What is orphan sponsorship?

Child sponsorship is an effective way of giving that sets up a connection between a donor and a vulnerable orphan. The donor will receive an annual update on how their support is assisting the sponsored child and their family.

Is sponsoring a child like adopting a child?

No, it is not. The child you sponsor will have a family of their own, but sponsors play an important role in the eyes of the child and their family by providing funding so they can meet their basic needs.

How do you define an orphan?

According to Islamic tradition, an orphan is usually a child who has no father. The child will remain an orphan until the age of maturity/understanding.

Due to Islamic Relief’s humanitarian mandate and based on our extensive experience with the communities with which we work, we include children who have a father whose whereabouts has been unknown for two years or more, or one year for refugees and internally displaced people.

In line with the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child (CRC) of which nearly all countries are signatories, Islamic Relief has extended this classification to define a child as any human being under the age of 18. However, it is still possible to continue to sponsor a child beyond the age of 18 in order to support the education of an existing orphan.


How do I sponsor a child?

You can sponsor an orphan by giving us a call at 1(855) 377-4673. A member of our team will be happy to set this up for you. Alternatively, you can do this online by visiting our website

Can I sponsor more than one child?

Of course!

Which countries are included in your orphan program?

You can sponsor a child in 26 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and eastern Europe. These countries are:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Albania
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Bosnia
  5. Chechnya
  6. Ethiopia
  7. Indonesia
  8. Jordan (mainly Palestinian refugees living in camps)
  9. Kenya
  10. Kosovo
  11. Lebanon (mainly Palestinian and Syrian refugees living in camps)
  12. Malawi
  13. Mali
  14. Niger
  15. Pakistan
  16. Palestine (Gaza)
  17. Somalia
  18. South Africa
  19. Sri Lanka
  20. Sudan
  21. Tunisia
  22. Turkey (Syrian refugees in Turkey & local orphans)
  23. Yemen


Can I sponsor an orphan in Canada? If not, why not?

No, you cannot sponsor a child in Canada. We only offer sponsorship outside of Canada – there are 25 countries to choose from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and eastern Europe.


Do you only sponsor Muslim children?

No. Islamic Relief supports people of all faiths and none. It is our duty to support those who are most in need.


Can I choose to only sponsor a Muslim orphan?

While we recommend not to choose a child based on their faith to ensure orphans in need get the support they need, we do recognize that there are some restrictions on Zakat. So if you would like your Zakat to go to an orphan, kindly let is know and we will pair you with a Muslim orphan. 

Can I choose the gender, age or location of my sponsored child? If not, why not? I’ve noticed that other agencies allow donors to choose. Why don’t you?

No, you cannot choose the gender, age or location of your child. We wanted to ensure that orphans of all ages/gender/backgrounds would have the same opportunities of becoming sponsored and felt that removing the element of choice would be the best way to do this.

Is your program really one-to-one sponsorship? I’ve heard that this is not actually possible.

Yes, the sponsorship is 1-2-1. Your money covers all the basic needs of one child within a family. The funds go to the guardian so they can spend it in the best way possible to benefit the sponsored child and their family. However, we are looking to reform the programme to provide more support with a focus on sustainable livelihoods.

Some charities to do a many-to-many model. Why don’t you do this? Isn’t this more cost efficient?

We believe that the Orphan Sponsorship Programme model is cost-effective and has no evidence to suggest that the many-to-many model is more cost-effective. However, we are always looking for ways to improve our sponsorship programme. We are looking at the strengths of the current Orphan Sponsorship Programme, and complementing it with proven livelihood components. It’s important that the majority of the people we support are empowered to become self-sufficient.

If this is a 1:1 model, how do you guarantee long-term sustainability?

The sponsorship programme has been running for over 30 years and is very popular with field offices and donors alike. Regarding sustainability for families, we link one donor to one child, but the family benefits as the funds go to the caregiver of the child (usually the mother, or a member of the extended family, such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparents).

We always attempt to link our sponsored families with other programmes Islamic Relief is running in the same country, such as micro-finance or sustainable livelihoods projects, so they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to support themselves in the future.

Don’t sponsorship program encourage dependency?

Based on our own experience and independent reports by respected agencies, such as UNICEF, we find this dependency does not happen in the overwhelming majority of cases. Many families use the sponsorship funds to invest in their livelihoods, such as buying livestock, or setting up small scale businesses.

How do you select the orphans who receive the sponsorship?

The sponsorship programme is for the most disadvantaged families in a target area. We must identify first those orphans who are living in a family with the lowest income. Limited resources means we must prioritise when selecting beneficiaries. We use an open and transparent process to do so.

Selection for Orphan Sponsorship Programme means choosing beneficiaries eligible for the programme based on agreed criteria, usually after a target area or community has been identified. The standard scoring criteria covers the following points:

  • Income. Prioritise those with the least income. Income relates to any money coming in to the household (i.e. salaries, pension, other sponsorship money, money from relatives etc)
  • Size of family and age of children, as well as disability. Prioritise families with a high dependency ratio (i.e. # dependents vs # breadwinners) and families with children and caregivers who are persons with disabilities
  • Housing conditions. Prioritise those living in the poorest conditions, especially those with families who do not own their home
  • Prioritise children with the poorest health status, including those who are malnourished
  • Double orphans are scored more highly than single orphans.
  • Families living in hazardous conditions (near wastewater drainage, unhygienic areas etc)
  • Unemployed mothers are prioritised over working mothers.

How does my sponsored child benefit from my support?

We look to cover the most basic needs of the family, in terms of nutrition, health and education. The cash transfer empowers the family to utilise the funds for their immediate needs. Based on our experience, sponsorship funds are life-changing for families, offering support and opportunities they would otherwise not receive.

If the orphan’s guardian receives the money, how do you know they spend it on the orphan?

Our front line staff carry out regular home visits to ensure funds are utilised correctly.

What information will I receive about the orphan I sponsor?

When you start your sponsorship, we will send you a photograph and further details of your orphan. In addition to the initial report, we send one annual report within 12-15 months from the date of sponsorship unless there’s a delay from the field office due to any political conflict, natural disaster, or any other crisis that requires immediate humanitarian aid. If you choose to cancel your sponsorship after 12 months and you haven’t received your annual report yet, you may contact us to receive your report.

Can I contact the orphan?

You can email any letters and photographs to your orphan via the following email address [email protected]. We will review the letters to ensure they are suitable, and remove any contact details from the letters. We will then forward it to the field office, who will deliver it to your sponsored orphan.

Please note that a confirmation or a response can take months due to various factors including political conflict, orphan location (as most of our orphans live in remote areas), field office workload, natural disasters, and security, among other reasons.

Can I visit the orphan?

Yes, supervised visits can be organized with the field office through prior arrangement with Islamic Relief Canada. We request at least one month’s notice to coordinate with the field office. Visits cannot be made directly to the orphan’s home due to our Child Protection Policy. Please note that you would be responsible for your own travel arrangements and you will be travelling at your own expense and risk. You are also requested to cover any associated transportation costs for the orphan and the guardian to come to the main office.

Can I call my sponsored child?

It is possible to do this, but there are strict parameters: the guardian needs to give their consent; then the child and their guardian need to come to the local Islamic Relief office – and the donor must cover the transport costs of getting them to the office. The call must be made to the office; it can last a maximum of one hour; and it can only take place once a year.

I’ve noticed that with other charities, a sponsor receives personal letters and photos from their sponsored child. Why can’t I receive a letter from my sponsored child?

If a child wants to send the sponsor any correspondence, this is sent to us electronically via the field office. We then forward it on, but the child is not obliged to do this. There may also be comments from the orphan directed to the sponsor in the annual progress report. We are working to make improvements to what we can offer to sponsors.

Can I send extra monetary gifts?

Of course! 100% of your gift goes directly towards the orphan and his/her family with no overhead costs. If you wish to give an extra monetary gift to your sponsored orphan, you can visit online. Kindly ensure you include the orphan ID if you are sponsoring more than one orphan to ensure we send the gift to the correct orphan.
We transfer the gift donations on a quarterly basis, so these payments are sent every 3 months. Kindly find the quarterly dates below:

  • Q1: End of February
  • Q2: End of May
  • Q3: End of August
  • Q4: End of November
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