Our History

Established in 2010, we are a member of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW); a leading international charity made up of 14 national members – Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mauritius, Middle East, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, the UK and US – united by a shared vision, mission and identity. 

Islamic Relief Australia timeline

Since we were founded, we’ve answered the call as disasters have stuck and made our growing mark in the sector.

  • 1984

    Determined to help people in famine-stricken Sudan, a group of medical doctors and activists in the UK set up Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) – our parent organisation.

  • 1985

    Starting with a donation of less than 20 pence (less than 20 Australian cents), and based in a small office in Birmingham in the UK, IRW raises over £100,000 for its first project.

  • 1986

    IRW sets up an orphan sponsorship scheme that now supports over 64,000 children. IRW’s qurbani meat distribution program is established, which now reaches over 3.1 million people in 34 countries each year. 

  • 1989

    IRW is registered with the UK Charity Commission and incorporated under the Companies Act.

  • 1990

    IRW opens new offices in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 

  • 1994

    IRW becomes the first Muslim non-governmental organisation to receive UK government funding. 

  • 1999

    IRW signs the Red Cross Code of Conduct, an international set of standards which outline how to provide aid to people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner.

  • 2000

    IRW implements Waqf projects, reviving the great Islamic tradition of sustainable charitable giving.

  • 2010

    As a partner of IRW, Islamic Relief Australia is founded and we set up a small office in Auburn, Sydney.

  • 2011

    We launch our first two Emergency Appeals and deliver vital aid in response to the Libya Humanitarian Crisis and East Africa Famine. We also launch our seasonal food security programs, delivering nutritious food packs to vulnerable families across the globe during Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.

  • 2012

    IRW gains access deep inside Syria, and Islamic Relief Australia raises vital funds to help families devastated by the conflict, as well as refugees in bordering Iraq and Turkey. We also raise funds to provide essential hygiene kits to families in the midst of the Libya humanitarian crisis, and deliver vital medical supplies to the people of Gaza as the ongoing blockade leaves hospitals with medicine shortages. We double our donations from the previous year and expand our presence locally, opening our first office in Melbourne.

  • 2014

    We continue to grow and open an office in Queensland.

  • 2017

    In recognition of the high standard and impact of our global work, Islamic Relief Worldwide becomes only the tenth organisation in the world to attain Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) certification. 

  • 2018

    As a global organisation, Islamic Relief Worldwide pioneers an Islamic Declaration on Gender Justice to help tackle inequality and injustice against women and girls from an Islamic perspective.

  • 2018

    We partner with our local council, Cumberland Council, to successfully raise awareness about domestic and family violence (DVF) among culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities. We reach over 3,000 people.

  • 2019

    We support over 14,000 community members in Australia, including responding to a local disaster when bushfires ravage parts of Australia at the end of the year.

  • 2020

    Islamic Relief responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support to communities affected by the virus. Our efforts include distributing personal protective equipment, food aid, and providing access to clean water and sanitation facilities to those in need.