Islamic Relief hosts ‘Iftar with Orphans’


Representatives of civil society, the diplomatic community, heads of INGOs and government officials attended an Iftaar dinner for orphans, sponsored by the Islamic Relief in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan, at a local hotel to celebrate its achievement of helping over 2,400 orphans.
Over the past 20 years, Islamic Relief working in AJK, Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh and KPK has helped over two million people by responding to all major disasters and initiating development programmes addressing the basic needs of people. It worked through multi-sector interventions, providing sustainable development to help people escape poverty by providing basic facilities and enterprise development through its Islamic microfinance programmes. Islamic Relief implemented a £20 million integrated village development programme in the flood-affected areas of Pakistan.
Orphans sponsored by Islamic Relief recited poems and shared their sponsorship experiences with the audience. A sponsored girl who is doing her A’ levels hosted the event.
Islamic Relief Child Welfare Programme Coordinator Afshan Jamal said every child dreamt of going to school and making a better life for himself. Just like adults, children needed a supportive environment for the fulfilment of their dreams and this especially pertained to orphans, the poor and marginalised, she said.
Development Programmes Head Adnan Bin Junid said Islamic Relief was contributing to building the next generation of teachers, entrepreneurs and leaders. The inclusion of poor orphans and marginalised children was not only a matter of social justice and the realisation of universal human rights, it was an essential investment in the future of society. “Currently, Islamic Relief is sponsoring 27,000 orphans worldwide and 2,400 in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan and has been operating this programme for the last 18 years,” he said. A documentary presenting success stories of children who had completed their graduation with Islamic Relief’s support was shown. It was revealed that 90 percent of the orphans sponsored by Islamic Relief had completed their education.
On behalf of the European Union ambassador, EU’s Chargé d’Affaires Pierre Mayaoudor appreciated Islamic Relief’s efforts in its services to humanity. He said the European Union would continue its support for Pakistan, especially in the flood-hit areas. He appreciated that a European Muslim INGO was making significant contributions to relief and development in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Islamic Relief Country Director Fadlullah Wilmot said there were 140 million orphans in the world who should be given the same rights as other children. He added that Muslims in Europe were contributing not only to their own societies, but were playing their role to support the world effort to alleviate poverty and assist those facing disasters.
“Islam, like all religions, believes strongly in a duty to be charitable, to help others, that wealth is held by human beings in trust. What this means is that the rich and affluent have a duty to help the less fortunate and this duty unites us Christians and Muslims for it is Luke 12:48 who teaches us that ‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required’. Faith and charity have always shared a close relationship.”
Islamic Relief believes that education is one of the prime tools to break the vicious circle of poverty. In selecting children to be supported, Islamic Relief prioritises poor orphans who have, or are, at the risk of dropping out of school because of poverty. He added that it was important for Pakistan to invest more in education or the high levels of illiteracy would not be overcome. Indonesia, for example, had included in its constitution that 20 percent of the national budget must be on education.
“Our goals are to ensure that orphans we support are as well fed and clothed as their contemporaries and that they are able to take advantage of the same educational and healthcare opportunities as children in more fortunate circumstances,” he added.