Al-Yateem

Al-Yateem

“The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise,’ showing his middle and index fingers and separating them.” [Bukhari]


Every child deserves the best start in life: a happy home, a safe place to play and access to quality education, medical care and nutrition.

1 in 6 children worldwide living in extreme poverty, many of these simple necessities are out of reach. Instead, their life is incredibly challenging, with an increased risk of illiteracy, disease, child labour, lifelong poverty and even death.

Whether they are living in refugee camps, traumatised by war or simply unable to go to school due to crippling poverty, these children lack the means to keep safe at home, access critical education, medical and/or psychosocial care. Sadly, their futures remain uncertain.

By donating, or sponsoring a vulnerable child, you could help ease some of their struggles today. The Islamic Relief approach emphasises care for children in their homes with members of their families, and the support is to the family as a whole.


  • How does it work?

    Around the world, children living in poverty are placed into orphanages even when they have a living parent or relative, because their carer fears they will be unable to provide a good life for the child. Yet in an orphanage, a child is deprived of parental love, family support and a community to belong to. Islamic Relief’s Al-Yateem Child Sponsorship provides a caring and beneficial alternative.

    By providing a fixed and consistent funding amount on an ongoing basis, we help carers feel confident in their ability to provide the child in their care with security and ensuring children are raised within vital family structures. By sponsoring a child, you are ensuring they are able to stay in the best place for them – their family.

  • Who is eligible?

    Al-Yateem is an Islamic definition. While it is commonly translated as ‘orphan’, in Islamic tradition Al-Yateem is defined as a child who has lost their breadwinning parent, as well as children who have lost both parents. Many children who are sponsored through Islamic Relief live with their mother, and all children live with a family member, including aunts, uncles or grandparents.

    The children who are sponsored through Islamic Relief are children younger than 18, without one or both parents, or whose financially-dominant parent has abandoned the child for a minimum of four years. The orphan may be of any gender, religion or race.

  • How is a child selected for sponsorship?

    Children are selected based on four main criteria: financial need, family size, housing conditions and health. The families with the greatest need such as larger families with dire financial situations receive priority for sponsorship.

  • How is the sponsorship money spent?

    The sponsorship money are spent on ensuring the children’s physical needs; such as food, water, health care, clothing and shelter, as well as ensuring their education through their childhood, such as school funds, uniforms, school books and stationery.

    Sponsorship money is paid to the child’s guardian every quarter of the calendar year. Children and their guardian are monitored by Islamic Relief field staff to ensure that they are receiving the full benefits of sponsorship. This may include health checks and education for school-aged children.

  • How long will the sponsorship continue?

    You can sponsor a child up to the age of 18. If you choose to continue sponsorship after the child reaches 18; if the child is going to pursue further education. We highly recommend a commitment to sponsor a child for at least 3 months because this allows us to plan ahead and maintain a consistent level of support to the orphan.

    Islamic Relief also allows donors to support orphans on a most needed basis through our General Al-Yateem fund. You can support orphans without the long term commitment like the normal sponsorship plan.

  • Can I write a letter to my orphan?

    Yes. The sponsor and orphan are free to exchange correspondence by emailing it to: orphan.sponsorship@islamicrelief.org.au

    Letter-writing is an important part of your relationship with your sponsored child and his or her community. But instead of writing lengthy letters, we suggest writing hand-written messages on coloured postcards, so the family can put them up on their wall if they choose to.

    We also recommend that you keep your sentences relatively short and simple. Please bear in mind that only a few sponsored children speak English, so your messages will need to be translated into their local language by our field staff. Children like to know more about you, your family and friends, where you live, what the country is like, what pets you have, what animals are in the country, what sports you like – anything that makes the connection more personal.

  • What information will I receive about the orphan I sponsor?

    When you start your sponsorship, we will send you basic information about the child as well as a photo.

    If you are paying via direct debit, you will receive this information once we receive the first payment. This is usually four to six weeks after the direct debit has been processed.

    We aim to send you a report on your sponsored orphan every year – this annual progress report is written by the field officers who are responsible for visiting the orphans and contain information about the child and the progress that they are making at school etc.

  • Can I choose the gender, age or location of my sponsored child? If not, why not? I’ve noticed that other agencies allow donors to choose. Why don’t you?

    No, you cannot choose the gender, age or location of your child. We wanted to ensure that orphans of all ages/gender/backgrounds would have the same opportunities of becoming sponsored and felt that removing the element of choice would be the best way to do this.

  • How does one-to-one sponsorship work?

    Your money covers all the basic needs of one child within a family. The funds go to the guardian so they can spend it in the best way possible to benefit the sponsored child and their family. However, we are looking to reform the programme to provide more support with a focus on sustainable livelihoods.

  • If this is a 1:1 model, how do you guarantee long-term sustainability?

    The sponsorship programme has been running for over 30 years and is very popular with field offices and donors alike. Regarding sustainability for families, we link one donor to one child, but the family benefits as the funds go to the care-giver of the child (usually the mother, or a member of the extended family, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparents).


    We always attempt to link our sponsored families with other programmes Islamic Relief is running in the same country, such as micro-finance or sustainable livelihoods projects, so they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to support themselves in future.

When you sponsor Al-Yateem, they receive:

  • Education
  • Health Checks
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Clean Water

The following are your options to sponsor Al-Yateem:

General Al-Yateem Fund 

This is a one-to-many support plan helping all al-Yateem in Islamic Relief Australia’s pool. You will receive a summary report of our al-Yateem program by Islamic Relief Australia.

Al-Yateem Group A $60 

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chechnya, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan & Yemen. 

Al-Yateem Group B $70

Albania, Indonesia, & Pakistan.

Al-Yateem Group C $80

Bosnia, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon & Palestine.

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