Press Release

Choose Orphans Unconditionally

Zakat Foundation of America Reimagines Orphan Sponsorship

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The world watches as crises unfold each week. Children are orphaned in many cases before they even realize what’s going on. Humanitarians and charitable organizations waste no time in sending aid.

That aid empowers children who were made powerless. It puts them in a position to receive an education, new and clean clothes, nutritious food, and invaluable health care. All it takes, in so many cases, is the click of a button. See an orphaned or vulnerable child’s face on a humanitarian organization’s website and click on it. Know who gets the help. 

But selecting an orphan to sponsor should not be reduced to a browsing experience, akin to a swipe left, swipe right interaction.

“In a world consumed by vanity and dominated by touched-up photos in the media, our ability to see the humanness in one another has vanished” said Amna Mirza, the organization’s chief marketing officer. “When I saw that playing a role in the orphan sponsorship world I knew I had to make a change.”

There are at least 153 million orphans in the world. Thousands are not chosen because of the way they look. The Foundation says looks should be irrelevant when helping a child in need.

Zakat Foundation of America says no more.

We invite you to reimagine orphan sponsorship with us. We say no more choosing orphans from pictures. No more choosing the cutest orphan. No more choosing the youngest orphan. We want you to choose orphans unconditionally, to choose with love.

“There is no room for bias — conscious or unconscious — when offering help,” Mirza said. “In a humanitarian organization, there is even less room for conditional support. We have seen that younger girls with fairer skin and lighter eyes were sponsored more often than older boys with darker skin. It had to end.”

It’s an ambitious goal, but the true goal of humanitarian work is to fight the issue at the source — not at the surface — so we can eliminate the issue altogether. Zakat Foundation of America has removed all photo selection options for orphan sponsorship because all orphans and vulnerable children deserve to be cared for and loved unconditionally.

“It’s a risky move to remove orphan photos, as many of our donors enjoy the experience of seeing an orphan’s picture before they sponsor the child,” said Khalil Demir, the organization’s executive director. “But I know that goodness and human kindness will prevail, and our donors and people just like them will choose to love and support an orphan unconditionally.”

Zakat Foundation of America, in all its work, seeks to embody that mentality in using Zakat and Sadaqah to improve people’s lives, regardless of race, creed, color or gender. It supported more than 634,000 orphans in 15 countries, and the orphan sponsorship program is still growing. Donors’ financial support provides food, education, hygiene, and other urgent aid to the sponsored child. Most of all, it provides hope and a promising future.

Every cent donated to the orphan sponsorship program goes directly to orphans and vulnerable children. A full 100% of the donation is used to feed, clothe, educate, and provide health care for these children, with no overhead costs pulled. It costs just $50 a month — which is less than $2 per day — to sponsor a child.