The UN Refugee Agency’s national partner, Australia for UNHCR, and humanitarian and development organisation, Islamic Relief Australia, have announced a three-year strategic collaboration for their work in support of refugees and asylum seekers.
Australia for UNHCR and Islamic Relief Australia will leverage their respective areas of expertise and networks of generous Australian donors, corporates and civil society to raise much-needed funds for UNHCR’s emergency assistance and humanitarian relief programs.
Joint projects and initiatives that acknowledge key Islamic charitable giving practices will be identified and developed to raise awareness about the situation and needs of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide and connect the Islamic and wider Australian community in support of the 82.4 million people displaced globally.
The collaboration is part of a wider Islamic Philanthropy initiative by UNHCR. Since starting the UNHCR Refugee Zakat fund in 2019, UNHCR globally has raised over $90 million dollars for refugees. Zakat is the mandatory alms given by Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth each year, particularly to the poor and most vulnerable.
To commence the collaboration, projects to assist with the humanitarian crisis in Yemen will be of the highest priority. Currently two out of three Yemenis require humanitarian assistance, due to six years of conflict, food insecurity, natural disasters, and disease.
Naomi Steer, National Director of Australia for UNHCR, said: “This alignment of our two organisations in a time of unprecedented global displacement acknowledges the significant impact the Islamic community plays in global humanitarian relief, and we look forward to working with Islamic Relief Australia to reach new supporters for UNHCR’s vital work and right now helping provide critical lifesaving support to suffering people in Yemen.”
Walid Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Relief Australia said: “Islamic Relief Australia’s collaboration with Australia for UNHCR is an important strategic commitment to supporting refugees and displaced people around the world. We believe that this collaboration will enable both charities to enhance their respective humanitarian programs in support of refugees, pursuant of their mission and core values.”
Peter Gould, Islamic Philanthropy Ambassador of Australia for UNHCR, said: “I’m delighted to see the work of Australia for UNHCR and Islamic Relief Australia come together in this collaborative effort. It reflects the Australian Muslim community’s desire to be part of UNHCR’s global effort to support refugees and displaced people. UNHCR is a trusted and efficient organisation, fully Zakat compliant and donors can have peace of mind that it will maximise support for those who are counting on us.”