Islamic Relief is celebrating the first ever Day of the Orphan in the Muslim World, which is to be marked on the fifteenth day of Ramadan every year.

The initiative – developed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – raises global awareness about the hardship faced by orphaned children in the world’s poorest communities.

Across the globe, Islamic Relief provides a lifeline for orphaned children and their families – at Ramadan and throughout the year. Our orphan sponsorship programme supports 38,000 children in 24 countries worldwide. Here are some of their stories.

Fata, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I want her to smile every day, I don’t want her to cry anymore.”

Fata Butkovic

Fata Butkovic is enrolled on Islamic Relief’s orphan sponsorship programme

Last year, the mother of Fata Butkovic contacted Islamic Relief after learning she and her family were to be evicted from their home.

When Fata’s father died of a heart attack in 2004, the family were forced to leave their house, which was owned by her paternal grandfather. They moved to an apartment in a nearby village, which was destroyed in an electrical fire a couple of years later. They then found a home with the support of social services, in Sarajevo.

Facing homelessness once more

Life was hard for the family, who rely on a small government pension, and the regular allowance they receive through Islamic Relief. Our orphan sponsorship scheme helps the family to meet their basic needs, and enables Fata to go to school. A shy girl, she studies hard and wants to be an air stewardess when she is grown up – so she can fly away from everything.

Then, the eviction notice arrived. Facing homelessness once more, the family were invited to live with her mother’s parents. They could not afford to pay the bus fare to get to Tuzla. Islamic Relief arranged travel for the family of seven.

“When I had a problem, only Islamic Relief answered my call and placed my children in a safe place,” said Fata’s mother. “Before Islamic Relief’s support, everything was much harder. I did not have anyone to call or to ask for help.”

Now living in the village of Barice, the family have some support from relatives and neighbours, but life is still difficult.

“I hope you will continue to help me, because your help means a lot to us,” said Fata. “My mother is much happier since you are with us. I want her to smile every day, I don’t want her to cry anymore.”

Naseeb, Yemen

“Thanks for helping orphans and planting happiness in their hearts”

Naseeb receives a regular allowance

Naseeb receives a regular allowance

Naseeb Hassan Saleh is a shy, twelve year-old Yemeni boy. He lives with his mother and two elder sisters in a village named Crater, near the port city of Aden.

“When my husband died, he left us nothing,” said Naseeb’s mother, who now works as a cleaner. “There was no source of income. Even the house was not ours. My children were young and needed food, medicine, clothes and school materials. That is what makes my life so hard to bear alone.”

A makeshift shelter and the threat of homelessness

The family lives in the middle of a cemetery, in a makeshift shelter. The hut is made from wood, and has no roof in some places. The government plans to demolish the shelter, which will leave Haseeb and his family without a home.

Sponsorship through Islamic Relief makes a big difference to the family. The regular allowance that Naseeb receives through our orphan programme helps the family to meet their basic needs. It also supports Naseeb’s education – and last year, when he fractured his skull and knee in a car accident, his big-hearted donor also funded his medical treatment.

“I pray to God and thank Him for helping me through Islamic Relief Yemen. I pray for all the people who love doing good for orphans and poor people.

“Thanks for helping orphans and planting happiness in their hearts.”

Read more stories:

Hassan, Pakistan
Life-saving heart surgery

Sara, Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Before Islamic Relief, I was really lost.”

Hadiza, Niger
“Before my husband’s death, my family lived in good conditions.”

Abeer, Yemen
Caring for vulnerable children

Um Ahmed, Syria
“They have no more dreams after losing their fathers.”