When parents live in poverty, their children are equally affected.

According to Unicef, 22,000 children die every day because of poverty, and thousands more suffer because of the impact of poverty. Few parents deliberately mistreat their children, but poverty can cause them to make decisions they would not otherwise make. Parents struggling to buy enough food for their children, for example, might decide to marry off their eldest daughter in order to reduce the number of dependants they have to provide for. They are also more likely to send their child to work rather than school.

This International Day of Families, discover how Islamic Relief’s child protection team works to protect children across the world.

Children as a gift of God

Islamic Relief works in nearly 50 countries across the world. We have a global team of experts and are helping our country offices to properly support children’s needs and advocate on their behalf.
In Islam, children are considered a gift of God. Islamic teachings underline the role of family in caring and protecting for children.

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. Surely, every one of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock.” Source: Bukhari 6719 – Muslim 1829

The Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam is an inclusive framework for the protection of child rights in Muslim countries. Articles include the right to identity from birth, including a name, registration with authorities, nationality and knowledge of his or her parents and relatives (article six), and the right of free education, including at secondary level, and including the recognition and care of gifted students at all stages of education (article 12).

It offers comprehensive guidance on both the rights and obligations of children, and complements The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), drawn up in 1989.

Neelam Fida, child protection project manager at Islamic Relief, said: “Both the Covenant and CRC underline the role of family and declare family the best place for the child. This is something we do as part of our work with our child protection experts across the world.

Reflected in our work with children across the world

“We manage child protection research and development, and carry out advocacy on child protection issues internationally. This includes developing toolkits on child protection, inputting into policy, developing partnerships promoting child protection within the Muslim community, and participating in NGO networks on the topic.

“We enjoy the chance to put forward Islamic perspectives on child protection. The Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam goes beyond that of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in many instances. Article 11 of the Covenant, for example, outlines how the child should be encouraged to acquire skills and capabilities to face new situations and overcome negative customs and grow up grounded in scientific and objective reasoning. There is no equivalent to this in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

She added that Islamic Relief designed and implemented programmes and outreach that specifically addressed the needs of children.

“We have carried out some in-depth work offering psychosocial support to child refugees in Lebanon,” added Neelam Fida. “This project has been very empowering, using creative skills to engage with very difficult and challenging issues that children have had to deal with as part of the Syrian crisis.”

Other examples of our child protection work include work as diverse as a scheme against child labour in Bangladesh and joining our voices with others from the Keeping Children Safe global network focussed on increasing safeguards offered to children.