Donations to Islamic Relief in the UK this Ramadan will be matched pound for pound by additional funding from the UK Government it has been announced.
The charity’s new partnership with the Department for International Development is being announced by its UK Director, Jehangir Malik, at a fundraising dinner in association with Manchester City Council at Manchester’s Old Trafford today.
Mr Malik is speaking at the ‘Welcoming Ramadan’ dinner alongside leading political commentator and broadcaster Mehdi Hasan and the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker.
“Sudan is where it all began for Islamic Relief, because we were set up in 1984 to respond to the famine there,” says Jehangir Malik.
“We are delighted to announce in our 30th anniversary year that our supporters can double their donations this Ramadan through match funding from the UK Government up to a maximum of £5 million, enabling us not only to assist poor communities around the world but also to improve health, education, water and earning potential for over 113,000 people in 54 villages in Sudan.”
Mehdi Hasan, Political Director of the Huffington Post and a long-standing supporter of Islamic Relief, says: “You could say that the workdone by Islamic Relief both at home and abroad, both with Muslims and non-Muslims, shows British Islam at its best: selfless, generous, engaged, outward-looking, community-minded. "Surveys suggest British Muslims give more to charity than any other faith group in the UK. The coming month of Ramadan is yet another opportunity for us to dig deep and donate to charities like Islamic Relief which do such vital humanitarian work in some of the poorest corners of the world.”
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, said: “The relief of those in need is a prime commitment held in common by the major world faiths. I am proud to be the guest of such a prestigious organisation as Islamic Relief, whose work is a powerful testimony to the generosity of Muslim people here and elsewhere.”
British Muslims donate over £100 million to charity during Ramadan, and Islamic Relief receives around a third of its annual income during Ramadan.
The aim of Islamic Relief’s new project in Sudan is to get beyond short-term fixes and help families rebuild their lives by making long-term improvements in the provision of clean water, education and healthcare, and by creating lasting opportunities for people to earn a living.
Almost three quarters of the people in the West Darfur and Blue Nile areas of Sudan can’t get clean water easily, so Islamic Relief will build 122 new water points close to people’s homes.
Nearly half the population can’t get healthcare, so Islamic Relief will rebuild and stock clinics, train health staff and tackle malaria.
Many children don’t attend school due to long distances and poor facilities – especially girls, who are kept at home to fetch water and often get married young.
So Islamic Relief will rebuild and equip schools near to girls’ homes, train teachers and provide basic facilities like latrines and school meals.
It will also train women and young people in new vocational skills to help them earn a living, as well as supporting farmers and livestock owners with training and equipment.
Islamic Relief’s Ramadan appeal leaflets, advertisements and videos are dominated by the ‘double your donations’ message and the word ‘Alhumdulillah’ – ‘all thanks be to God’ in Arabic.
“We want to give thanks for all the hard work of volunteers and staff over our 30-year history,” explains Jehangir Malik.
“We want to give thanks for the blessing of match funding from the Government, which means we can help twice as many people this year. And we hope our donors will want to give thanks for all the good things in their lives by giving generously to those less fortunate.”