Birmingham charity Islamic Relief celebrated its 30th anniversary yesterday with a visit from the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening.
The MP met staff at the international office and discussed developments in Syria and Afghanistan, where Islamic Relief and the Department for International Development are involved in aid projects.
She also spoke as guest of honour at a reception with representatives of the local community.
Islamic Relief was set up in 1984 in response to famine in Sudan. Two of its founders were NHS doctors who worked with a team of volunteers from a small office in the Moseley area of Birmingham. They raised £100,000 for those affected by the famine and established what has grown into one of the world’s largest Muslim faith-based help groups, with a presence in 43 countries and a worldwide annual income of over £100 million.
In 1989 the organisation was incorporated under the Companies Act and registered with the UK Charity Commission. In the 1990s it opened offices across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Islamic Relief was the first Muslim humanitarian agency to receive UK government funding – £180,000 for a training centre in the North Kordofan region of Sudan in 1994.
It continues to work in partnership with the Department for International Development, receiving £5 million in match funding for its Ramadan appeal in 2012 for countries affected by climate-related natural disasters and a £2 million grant for an education project for Syrian refugee children in Jordan in 2013.
A spokesman for the Birmingham office said: “Islamic Relief’s major single aid and development programme is in Pakistan and it has the largest aid programme in Palestine apart from those of UN agencies.
“Its biggest emergency relief operation is in Syria, where it is responding to the worst humanitarian crisis for a generation. It has provided food, shelter, medical aid and other assistance to over two million Syrians, both deep inside the country and in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Islamic Relief works in the most difficult places around the world.”