2022: A Big Year for Islamic Relief Australia
2022 has come to an end, and its end brings with it an opportunity to reflect on the year that was.
We as a team have been doing just that recently, and want to share some of our highlights and reflections with the broader community.
This year was the first true “post-pandemic” year, where we were able to focus on healing the poverty and hardship caused around the world by COVID-19 while also responding promptly to numerous global emergencies, including floods, earthquakes and more.
Islamic Relief Australia continues its ongoing efforts to address local needs, helping fundraise for numerous Muslim community initiatives, responding to natural disasters and actively engaging in important community forums.
We couldn’t have achieved what we did this year without the support of our fantastic team and volunteers, and the ongoing generosity of our donors. Here are some of the key highlights and notable events that made the year what it was for us.
Supercharging our active community collaborations
One of the hallmarks of Islamic Relief Australia’s history to date has been our closeness to the Australian Muslim community.
We are by, of, and for our community. We share its struggles, celebrate its successes and have an important part to play in its progress as a uniquely international and mature full-scale NGO with a truly global presence.
With the most directly disruptive phase of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, Islamic Relief Australia aits collaborations and activities with the community in a big way: we sponsored a landmark community event (see below) and helped fundraise and provide our experience for the benefit of various centres and mosques in the making.
Crescent Awards: A new, community-building partnership
On Saturday the 6th of August 2022, Islamic Relief Australia was privileged to be a Principal Sponsor of the inaugural Crescent Awards.
The Awards were a notable, landmark event in our community’s history, bringing long-needed and overdue recognition to the efforts of incredible Muslims in the education sector: From teachers and educators to aspiring students and those giving back to the community.
The Awards were a fantastic evening, with the clear potential of our community on display for all to see. The Islamic Relief Australia team was there in support, and our CEO, br Samir Bennegadi, delivered an address on our relationship with Crescent Wealth and Crescent Foundation, as well as on our reasons for supporting the inaugural Awards night.
We look forward to an incredible, lasting relationship with the Crescent Awards as a landmark new event on the annual Muslim community calendar.
Partnership with key Centres and Mosques in the making
At Islamic Relief Australia, connecting with local communities and helping build brighter futures remains at the heart of work.
At the core of our community are its mosques and centres: hubs of activities that give life to the community and give opportunities to young and old to immerse themselves in the lived Muslim community experience.
We were actively involved in collaborating with some notable emerging centres and mosques in the fundraising and inception phases, including the magnificent Melbourne Grand Mosque and the landmark Al Nawawi Centre in Sydney.
Our CEO, Br Samir Bennegadi, was delighted to speak about Islamic Relief’s community-building work at the Melbourne Grand Mosque volunteers event to an enthusiastic audience in November this year.
We look forward to continuing to collaborate with such emerging hubs of our community going forward.
Ongoing intra-community events and collaboration
We were honoured to be invited by the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, to a lunch with Bishop George Browning, bringing together these important faith leaders to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern.
The topic of discussion was inter-organisational cooperation and joint initiatives to support the people of Palestine – a cause close to the heart of our work at Islamic Relief Australia.
Bishop George Browning is the President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), a very active and vocal advocacy organisation in Australia (https://apan.org.au).
Present from Islamic Relief was also our CEO Samir Bennegadi, and we were joined by other leading Muslim community leaders during the lunch. We believe such engagements are crucial and productive for the future of our community, and look forward to supporting more such engagements in 2023.
Bridge Walk for Charity: A Cause for Humanity
In August, Islamic Relief Australia hosted a charity walk through the heart of Sydney to raise awareness and funds for the ongoing tragic situation in Gaza.
The walk was organised in response to the humanitarian crisis that again impacted Gaza this year, where more than 44 people, including 17 children, were killed since the Israeli military launched attacks in early August 2022.
Islamic Relief Australia has always been determined to do everything to help those affected by the various crises in Palestine. The charity walk aimed to raise vital funds for a Medical Centre in Gaza to provide desperately needed medical care to support the voiceless affected by the conflict.
The walk took the participants on a scenic route through Sydney on a beautiful Sydney day, on a 3.2 km walk from Archibald Fountain, and ended at Milsons Point.
Working with global leaders to help the most vulnerable
In October, Islamic Relief Australia was joined by UNICEF Australia for a workshop focused on Early Childhood Development (ECD) and our three joint ECD projects in Vanuatu, Cambodia and the Solomon Islands.
Our partnership with this leading charitable institution allows us to reach so many more children in the Asia Pacific that are in need.
Together, our projects empower disadvantaged families and give children a brighter future. We believe that the focus on giving children a chance in life is central to the ethos of our work at Islamic Relief Australia, and were proud to be working together with UNICEF Australia. In 2023, we look forward to continuing to do so to ensure that those most in need receive immediate aid and relief.
Involvement in the Alliance of Australian Muslims
Islamic Relief Australia was honoured and privileged to be present at the 5th Alliance of Australian Muslims Summit 2022 in October.
Over 200 Muslim organisations were present on an important day for the Muslim community.
The National Summit focused on the key areas of promoting and preserving the Australian Muslim identity, enhancing media and political engagement, strengthening public relations, advocating for the protection of the civil rights of minority groups and religious freedom, countering Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment, and matters of special interest to Australian Muslim women.
Muslim organisations from every corner of the country were gathered to bring their collective experience, energies and talents together for the long-term of our community.
The gathering was productive and extremely constructive, with great discussions on the needs of Muslims in Australia going forward.
We were represented by our CEO, Br Samir Bennegadi, who contributed on our behalf to the important conversations that happened on the day. He has also served on the Alliance’s steering committee for the last 5 years since its inception.
Continued global impact as part of the Islamic Relief family
Islamic Relief has continued to actively help people in need. Throughout the year we were still able to help more than 13 million people in 34 countries, carrying out more than 770 significant projects*.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors over 85,000 orphans were sponsored in 26 different countries, almost 1.6 million people were fed with Ramadan food packs, and more than 4 million people received nutritious meals from your Qurbani donations.
We were able to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene to over 1.3 million people and helped almost 3.6 million others with specialist support for their livelihoods worldwide.
The distances we need to travel have increased, the logistics for delivering aid have become more complex, and humanitarian needs have required more urgent responses this year.
For 38 years Islamic Relief has been able to help people in need, reacting rapidly to emergencies and providing humanitarian assistance thanks to the generosity of our donors.
We would like to thank all of our donors; you have changed lives and you have saved lives.
*Figures shown are estimates as of November 2022, the final figures will be highlighted in our 2022 Annual Report.