Islamic Relief Worldwide was established in 1984 by Dr Hany El-Banna and fellow students from the University of Birmingham in the UK in response to the famine in Africa. Launching an appeal, they went door to door and from mosque to mosque asking for money, and this paid for food for people affected by the famine.
In 1985, Islamic Relief’s began its first project – sponsoring a chicken farm in Sudan. That same year, its founders hired a small office in Mosely, in Birmingham, and from there raised £100,000 for the famine response.
Islamic Relief grew at a rapid rate, and over the next five years, started working in Mozambique, Iran, Pakistan, Malawi, Iraq, and Afghanistan, among others, responding to emergencies and distributing clothes, food, offering health support and beginning the long-term project that is now our One-to-One Orphan Sponsorship programme.
Today, by the grace of God, Islamic Relief is a truly global organisation, working in more than 40 countries providing emergency aid, carrying out long-term development, and campaigning for change.
Our international headquarters are based in Digbeth, in Birmingham, UK, but we have offices in countries including Bangladesh, USA, Germany, Iraq, Lebanon, Sweden, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, and Mali.
We are signatories of the Red Cross Code of Conduct, an international standard on working with people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner, and we have acquired NGO status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. We have signed a Framework Partnership with the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department and a partnership agreement with UNHCR that reaffirmed both organisations’ principles of giving aid without discrimination.