In 2016, we increased our humanitarian efforts in some of the world’s most challenging environments. As the war in Syria entered its sixth year, our £26.6 million emergency response programme supported over three million vulnerable people living in Syria as well as refugees in three neighbouring countries. In Iraq and Yemen, as the crises continued to shatter lives, we provided life-saving aid, often in areas that other organisations are unable to access.
The year also witnessed scores of natural disasters, from earthquakes in Afghanistan and Italy, to flooding in Mali, Somalia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and a tornado in the USA. In response to every emergency, Islamic Relief was able to swiftly assist those affected, thanks to the generous support of our donors.
Our total income for the year reached £110.4 million, an increase of 4.5 per cent from the previous year. Around 47 per cent of our charitable expenditure was used to protect life and dignity, reaching seven million people in their moment of need by providing emergency food, water, shelter and medical care. We also empowered disaster-prone communities to protect themselves before a crisis occurs, improving the security of over 150,000 people in Bangladesh and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) alone.
In 2016, we also delivered 35 sustainable development projects, improving the standard of living and opportunities for people in some of the world’s poorest areas. We empowered over 180,000 people to earn a living worldwide, and provided access to education for 322,000. Our health projects served 292,000 people globally, and this year were honoured to open the Islamic Relief Oncology Centre of Excellence at the new Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in South Africa.
Our Ramadan and Qurbani programmes set new records in 2016, and we welcomed the 50,000th child onto our orphan sponsorship scheme. Our climate adaptation projects and campaigns for action on climate change offered practical help and real hope for communities that are hit first and hardest by environmental changes. Our advocacy work this year also pushed for world leaders to secure peace and protect the most vulnerable people caught up in conflict.
None of the above would have been possible without the generous support of our donors and partners, and the efforts of our staff and volunteers around the world. We are truly grateful for, and humbled by, the trust placed in us, as together we look forward to another year of serving humanity.