Wednesday January 17, 2024

Marking 40 years of serving humanity, Islamic Relief has released a treasure trove of previously unpublished stories and photographs.

In 1984, Dr Hany El-banna and fellow students from the University of Birmingham, UK, founded Islamic Relief and today, we mark 40 years of helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Throughout the years we have been a truly unique humanitarian agency, often providing aid and development interventions where others cannot.

Moved by the plight of families affected by the Sudan famine of 1984, we arose from a determination to save lives. A small boy in Cairo, Egypt, entrusted us with his 20p pocket money – and from there, enormous impact grew. By 1985, Islamic Relief had raised over £100,000 to respond to the famine in Africa.

In the 90s we were a lifeline on the ground as the Bosnian War raged, and war erupted in the Chechen Republic and Kosova too.

We were one of the few aid agencies operating in Iraq during the conflict in 2003. Among the first to respond with lifesaving aid when the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami struck in 2004, we committed to supporting devastated communities to build back better.

Image: An Islamic Relief aid worker surveys the devastation in Aceh, Indonesia, after a devasting tsunami strikes on 26 December, 2004.

When conflict erupted in Gaza again in 2014, we were on the ground to help vulnerable people. When Pakistan suffered the worst floods in living memory, Islamic Relief provided emergency support before pivoting to long-term programmes to assist in rebuilding devastated regions.

Today Islamic Relief Worldwide is among the world’s largest relief and development charities. With global headquarters in Birmingham, UK, it is the international office of the Islamic Relief federation, which operates in more than 40 countries. In 2022 alone, we ploughed over £193 million into emergency aid, long-term development, and campaigning for change that directly helped over 17.3 million people.

At the start of our 40 years of saving and changing lives, we have launched new interactive resources to make it easier for our supporters to trace the history of Islamic Relief.

Trusted to deliver

The new interactive elements of our website explore the detailed history of Islamic Relief.

The first resource of its kind, we have developed an interactive timeline packed with facts, quotes and images covering the width and breadth of Islamic Relief’s 40 years of existence.

Covering major milestones from the opening of our first offices in Birmingham, to our lifesaving and life-changing work, the timeline is a result of months of exhaustive research. Our staff have trawled through the archives and consulted with past and present staff and volunteers to unearth images and stories that have never been published before.

The clickable world map covers every country in which Islamic Relief operates. Clicking on a country details how our operations began in that country and shares stories about Islamic Relief’s impact over the years.

Throughout 2024 we will also be sharing memories from our past. Every day throughout the year, we will be highlighting an event, a story or a moment from Islamic Relief’s history – celebrating accomplishments of our programmes and our staff or perhaps highlighting a significant worldwide event that impacted our organisation in some way.

All of these elements combined allow us to tell the story of the 40 years of serving humanity, with the support of our incredible staff, donors, volunteers, and partners around the world.

Celebrating a milestone

From humble beginnings, Islamic Relief has come a long way – unfortunately, we are needed now more than ever.

To be where we are today, to see how we have grown as an organisation and as a family from such small beginnings is truly amazing. It is a testament to everyone who has ever worked or volunteered for Islamic Relief

Waseem Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

“We also wouldn’t be where we are today without our generous supporters. I want to say a heartfelt thank you to anyone who has ever supported our efforts to end poverty and suffering.

“Islamic Relief has grown into a truly global relief and development agency and unfortunately, today we are needed more than ever. Our own brave, dedicated staff are among those to have been affected by the conflict in Gaza and Sudan. From the Horn of Africa to Yemen, Syria and beyond, the global hunger war and the climate related crisis are pushing the world’s most vulnerable to the edge of survival.

“So as we reflect on our 40 years of serving humanity, we do so with renewed determination to assist families in crisis, and tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality, for good.”

Throughout 2024, we will be announcing more events and plans to celebrate our 40th anniversary.

As we begin our 40th year, Islamic Relief thanks you for your support, and urges you to continue to stand with us as we continue our desperately needed work. Please donate today.

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