Over 648,000 forcibly displaced people assisted in the first half of 2019 through UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund
A new report by UNHCR, The UN Refugees Agency revealed that 648,476 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees were assisted in the first half of 2019 with Zakat funds received through its ‘Refugee Zakat Fund’. The report released today by UNHCR is a mid-year review that shows the impact of its Refugee Zakat Fund which was introduced earlier this year. The Fund is a globally trusted, effective, and Sharia compliant structure that harnesses the power of Zakat to make a long-lasting impact on the lives of the most vulnerable displaced communities around the world.
According to the report, US$ 38.1 million was raised through the Fund thanks to generous contributions from donors across the globe; surpassing the fundraising target of $26 million originally set for 2019. The report also revealed that for the first time, Zakat was raised online by UNHCR offices in Canada, the United Kingdom and in a number of countries in South East Asia.
Donations received through the Fund have so far helped over 111,209 of the most vulnerable refugee and IDP families (approximately 648,476 individuals) in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Mauritania through cash assistance.
In Yemen alone, US$ 13.5 million has already been disbursed as emergency cash to support displaced families in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Multi-purpose cash assistance supports refugee and IDP families in meeting their most basic needs including rent, food, health and education. In May this year, The Fund expanded its geographical scope of support to cover displaced Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, making it the first crisis outside the MENA region to receive Zakat assistance. This will support UNHCR’s ongoing efforts in providing life-saving assistance to Rohingya refugees displaced due to conflict from Rakhine State in Myanmar.
“The impact of the contributions to UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund on the lives of refugees and internally displaced persons is remarkable. It is a testament of the instrumental role that Islamic philanthropy can play in the humanitarian response to displacement crisis globally,” said Houssam Chahin, UNHCR’s Head of Private Sector Partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. “We are grateful to all individuals and institutions who continue to entrust UNHCR with their Zakat and for their resolute support for displaced persons around the globe.”
UNHCR aims to substantially scale up its support through Zakat funds to support a total of 1 million displaced persons by the end of 2019. UNHCR has consequently revised the Fund’s target to $44 million in Zakat donations for 2019. The Fund’s impact will be supplemented through its Sadaqah Jariyah campaign (voluntary charity contributions Muslims make at their discretion), launched post Ramadan to support refugees in Bangladesh as a priority.
Rafi-uddin Shikoh, CEO and Managing Director at DinarStandard, growth strategy firm working with UNHCR on the production of the report, said “The Refugee Zakat Fund has gained substantial momentum since its launch earlier this year. With its expansion to Bangladesh and already exceeding the original target of US$26 million for 2019, the Refugee Zakat Fund is gearing up to showcase the impact it can have on the lives of millions of displaced families.”
For more information about the Refugee Zakat Fund, click on the following link:
To download UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund 2019 Mid-Year Report, click on the following link:
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. He began writing in 1975 publishing The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues as Special US Correspondent for the Arab News ArabNews.com, at TheArabDailyNews.com, and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday, the Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronical, and Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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