By Rubina Ali
Children’s Day takes place on the second Sunday of June, celebrated this year on June 12. While different countries celebrate Children’s Day on different days, they all share one common theme: to uphold the rights of children. These rights, defined by the United Nations, include the rights to protection, education, healthcare, shelter, and good nutrition.
Today, one in five children live in a conflict or war zone. Studies show children living in conflict zones are at the highest risk of experiencing violence, psychological stress, hunger, loss of education, and lack basic resources.
At Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), we don’t just support children and orphans in need today – instead, we invest in children’s long-term futures, supporting their families, careers, and local communities to provide long-lasting, safe, and sustainable solutions for their tomorrow.
Projects That Make a Difference
Every project focused on children at IRUSA aims to support as many children and families as possible, while ensuring the quality of the program implemented. Some examples include:
- Intervention to Support Vulnerable Children in Gaza is a project for orphans and children with disabilities. Beneficiaries of this project receive financial support, clothing, school supplies, recreational activities, guardian and child training, social worker support, and training sessions on topics important to caregivers, such as positive parenting.
- Orphan Sponsorship in Afghanistan supports orphaned families in the Jalalabad, Balkh, and Bamiyan provinces through healthcare trainings, tuition support for education, needed medical services, and financial assistance for basic needs.
- Economic Strengthening of Orphan Families in Somalia is a project in the Mandera and Wajir counties to enable orphaned families to rise out of poverty through improved income and resources. This is implemented by distributing seed money for business start-ups, as well as sector specific business skills training and networking opportunities for increased business management so families can become independent and self-sustaining.
Shaping a New Path for a Gazan Family
Hana is a 42- year-old Palestinian mother of five, who lost her husband in 2014 due to a heart attack and became the sole provider for her family.
Hana, her children, and her father-in-law share a home that is about 800 square feet. There are two bedrooms, one room is for the girls, one room is for Hana and her two sons; her father-in-law sleeps in the living room.
All of Hana’s children attend school and she is very proud of their academic achievements. Two of Hana’s children qualified to receive support through the Intervention to Support Vulnerable Children in Gaza project. The money Hana receives is used to cover the cost of education, food, and healthcare. Hana says, “This project is the reason that my children are receiving an education now.” She shares, “This project helped us a lot; first, it supports us with a cash sponsorship which has significantly changed our lives, it has also allowed us to have water and hot water in our home, and the children are provided with winter clothes which allows me to purchase winter items for the unsponsored children.”
Hana explains, “Sponsoring two of my children is indirectly helping the unsponsored ones as I am able to allocate the limited resources I have towards the education of the other three. If I had to support all five on my own, I’m not sure I would have been able to send all of them to school.”
In addition to the support for the children, the project allowed Hana to receive livelihood training by teaching her how to sew and providing her with a sewing machine, which is how she is able to earn an income. The project has given Hana hope for her children and their futures as they continue on the path to self-sustainability.
This Children’s Day, we invite you to join us in recommitting to make this world a better place for children all around the world.