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 or parental love, family support and a community to belong to.
Islamic Relief’s Alyateem Child Sponsorship provides a caring and beneficial alternative. By providing a fixed and consistent funding amount on an ongoing basis, we help carers feels confident in their ability to provide the child in their care with security, 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?
‘Alyateem’ is an Islamic definition. While it is commonly translated as ‘orphan’, in Islamic tradition an Alyateem 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 Australia 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 Australia are child 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 must be spent on ensuring the children’s physical needs- such as food, water, health care, clothing and shelter- are met, as well as ensuring their education through their childhood, such as school funds, uniforms, school books and pencils.
Sponsorship money is paid to the child’s guardian every quarter. Children and their guardian are monitored 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 as long as you wish, up to the age of 18. If you choose to continue sponsorship after the child reaches 18, you are free to do so. We require a minimum sponsorship time of two years because this allows us to plan ahead and maintain a consistent level of service to the orphan.
Can I write a letter to my orphan?
Yes. The sponsor and orphan are free to exchange correspondence via the Islamic Relief Australia office in Sydney. Sponsors may email a letter to the Child Sponsorship Officer, or call our office to discuss further
Can I directly contact my sponsored orphan via telephone, email or social media?
Unfortunately, IRAUS does not share such personal details with either a sponsor or an orphan child. We trust and respect our donors and supporters, and value enormously their generosity and charitable spirit. However, as an organisation, we have a duty of care to minimise as much risk and possible. In this case, there is a risk, albeit it very small, that these personal details might be obtained by the wrong person or persons, usually through illegal means, which can then pose further risks for orphan and sponsor alike. Ensuring the safety and protection of all children living in the communities where we work is the highest priority for IRAUS, and if unmonitored communication takes place, we cannot fully guarantee that a child will be protected from inappropriate content or suggestions. Similarly, IRAUS is fully committed to ensuring our supporters generosity is safe and secure, and there are potential risks within unmonitored communication that we must avoid – for example, digital details being stolen and taken advantage of by entities such as cybercriminals acting under aliases. IRAUS apologises in advance if this disappoints or offends any supporter but this position is taken with the best interests of all everyone in mind.
Can I include a gift to my sponsor orphan child with my letter?
Children love to receive gifts from their sponsors but as we cannot guarantee safe arrival of such gifts, we only encourage small things like postcards or pictures, which we scan/digitise and transmit to our colleagues in-country.
Please don’t send physical parcels of any size, as IRAUS cannot send these. IRAUS cannot guarantee such gifts will arrive or arrive intact (sometimes items get lost in transit, arrive damaged, could be held by customs etc.) and we not want to see your support wasted.
What if I want to send a larger gift to my sponsored Orphan?
IRAUS does not encourage this for a number of reasons. Firstly, if one particular child and family receive a major gift of money or materials, then it’s likely this will only benefit that child or family, and not have a wider positive impact on the whole community. IRAUS is committed to sustainable development solutions that support the most vulnerable and work for entire communities.
Secondly, it often very expensive and time-consuming to facilitate these gifts, for both staff in Australia but even more so for our colleagues in the country. This takes away vital resources from our fieldwork, and ultimately, these expenses often outweigh the benefit.
If you do still wish to make an extra gift of support to orphans in need, we recommend you give a monetary donation to our Children Development Fund, supporting projects that benefit a wider community of orphans and children in need. A gift to the community also promotes cooperation and harmony, and long-term benefit. For more information contact IRAUS.
Can I visit my orphan?
Following security checks, you may visit your sponsored child to witness firsthand the difference your sponsorship is making in their life. The sponsor must cover all costs of the visit. In line with our Child Protection Policy, visits must be facilitated by an Islamic Relief representative and will take place at an Islamic Relief Office. In addition, the visit will also be supervised by the Child Welfare officer at the country field office. The Islamic Relief Child Protection Policy is in place to ensure the safety and welfare of vulnerable children and their families. Please contact our office on
1300 308 554 for further information regarding visitation to your sponsored child.
I have not heard about my orphan. When will I be updated?
All sponsors receive a biography (biodata) about the child you sponsor upon confirmation of the first donation payment. The biodata is mailed to sponsors up to two weeks after initiating sponsorship. Thereafter, progress reports are mailed to sponsors once a year. You may contact the donor care team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not receive updates.
Is there any reason my sponsorship would be unexpectedly cancelled?
We may cancel a sponsorship if the income of a family is significantly raised, if the family moves without leaving contact details, if we find out the sponsorship funds have been spent inappropriately, if the child dies, or if the child becomes married (Islamic Relief stands against early marriage).
In these cases we will contact you to discuss the reason for cancellation and transfer your sponsorship to a different child.
We may cancel a sponsorship if we discover a sponsor has been having inappropriate or unauthorised contact with a child who is sponsored. In these cases a sponsorship will be cancelled immediately, and the sponsor will be unable to sponsor another child through Islamic Relief. The sponsor will be contacted to be made aware that their sponsorship has been cancelled and provided with the reason.