About the Situation

By the Numbers

153 million children worldwide are orphaned by one or both parents

The number of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa in 2005 was 50% higher than that in 1990

(Sources: UNICEF and USAID)

Losing a parent is traumatic for any child, anywhere. In countries where war, famine and poverty are common, millions of children are orphaned and left hungry and homeless. Staying with a compassionate relative helps orphans begin to overcome the trauma of losing one or both parents.

Many orphans around the world are exploited as cheap labor when they are forced to fend for themselves. This lifestyle not only robs these children of their childhoods, but also limits their potential to grow and reach for a brighter future. For these children, time is running out.

How Islamic Relief is Helping

The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan will be in paradise together like this,” reports Al-Bukhari, describing the motion as raising his forefinger and middle finger together. (We’ve illustrated it in a logo in the banner above).

Providing care and support for orphans is especially important to the Islamic Relief community. Islamic Relief USA donors are sponsoring more than 13,000 orphans in nearly two dozen countries around the world.

With our global affiliate Islamic Relief Worldwide, the total number sponsored has reached 30,000 orphans a year. Each child receives food, clothing, health care and an education. The support is often enough to lift an orphan’s entire family out of poverty. One-to-one orphan sponsorships strive to keep orphans with a family member—allowing orphans to remain with a guardian who may not have been able to afford to care for them on their own.

Full annual sponsorship costs between $43 and $65 a month—between $1.50 and $2 a day, less than the price of a cup of coffee. Sponsors receive annual reports about their orphan. In addition to this sponsorship program, Islamic Relief also implements other projects that benefit orphans, such as special educational and training centers and supplemental support.

Here are some programs Islamic Relief has supported for orphans:





Donors in the IRUSA community have a variety of options for orphan care—you can choose to provide support via an annual one-to-one sponsorship, and can specify the country you would like your gift directed to. Please note: For the annual One-to-One Sponsorship program, your donations can be scheduled monthly or you can give the lump sum for the full year.

Of course, you can also choose to direct your charitable giving to a general orphan support fund so that your gift will help however it is needed most in a country of your choice or anywhere around the world.

Orphan Sponsorship

Sponsor an orphan in**:
  • Bangladesh
  • Chechnya
  • India
  • Mali
  • Somalia*
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka

Donate $43/monthDonate $516/year

Orphan Sponsorship

Sponsor an orphan in**:
  • Afghanistan
  • Kenya
  • Niger
  • Pakistan


Donate $49/monthDonate $588/year

Orphan Sponsorship

Sponsor an orphan in**:
  • Bosnia
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon

*Please note: Orphans originally from these countries may currently be living as refugees in neighboring countries depending on need.

Donate $65/monthDonate $780/year


**Important note: Islamic Relief seeks to match you with an orphan who is eligible for sponsorship in the country you have designated. Sometimes changes in political or legal climates, or in the child’s eligibility, may impact the sponsorship. In these cases, we will attempt to find another eligible child in the country you have specified; if that is not possible, we will provide you with options for orphan sponsorship in a different country. We will keep you informed if this situation occurs.

Also, please note the following change >> Due to the current situations on the ground in Palestine and in Iraq, Islamic Relief USA will not be accepting new orphan sponsors for either country at this time. We will hold accepting new sponsors for orphans in Palestine or in Iraq until the situation on the ground allows for effectively identifying and tracking new orphans in need. This is to ensure donors can be appropriately linked to the orphans who need them the most, and to allow Islamic Relief staff in the region to focus on current orphans, projects, and emergency aid efforts through the crisis. Any sponsors already supporting orphans in Palestine or in Iraq will not be affected. Current sponsored orphans will continue to receive sponsorship. While new sponsorships will be held for now, our support programs for orphans in these countries are still open. We thank you for your understanding and patience during this critical time.

Questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, or connect with one of our orphan support team members: call 1-855-447-1001 or send an email to


by organizing and attending local fundraisers that support IRUSA’s efforts.


by sharing information about IRUSA’s efforts with your social media networks.


to the Orphans Support or to start your One-to-One Sponsorship.