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Our Story

The plight of war torn Bosnia moved a community in Nottingham to come to the assistance of those caught up in the conflict.

The unrest in the Balkans was at its peak in the early 90s and with images of the instability filling TV screens, a small groups of volunteers went out to collect money, clothes and supplies for the people of Bosnia. They worked tirelessly to pack trucks full of supplies and these first convoys of aid were, in many cases, driven by the volunteers themselves to Bosnia.

Alhamdulillah, these efforts came together and became known as Muslim Hands.

Today, Muslim Hands has grown to be one of the UK's foremost charities. Working in over 50 of the world's poorest countries and with field offices in over 30, Muslim Hands annually spends in excess of £7,000,000 on projects ranging from disaster relief and medical aid, to education and tree plantation. Read more about How Your Money is Spent.

Millions of people across the globe have and continue to benefit from the work MH carries out. With your ongoing support our work is able to continue.

Explore the story of Muslim Hands, 18 years in the making....

1993

01

The plight of war torn Bosnia moved a community in Nottingham to come to the assistance of those caught in the conflict.

The unrest in the Balkans was at its peak in the early 90s and with images of the instability pouring in, a small band of volunteers went out to collect money, clothes and supplies for the people of Bosnia. 

They worked tirelessly to pack trucks full of supplies and these first convoys of aid were sent by the volunteers to Bosnia.

Alhamdulillah, these efforts came together and became known as Muslim Hands or MH for short.

Elsewhere...

  • Medical and ambulance services for Kashmiri refugees set up

1994

02

Fierce fighting in Kashmir forced entire families to uproot themselves from their homes and livelihoods to find security.

Muslim Hands established the Muzafarabad Medical Centre in 1994 to serve refugees and locals with basic medical help. 

Alhamdulillah, this achievement in the early years of MH proved to be a critical investment when the devastating earthquake hit the area in 2005. 

Still running after 15 years it has served more than 300,000 patients with checkups, medicine, medical tests and an ambulance service that the community could otherwise not afford.

Elsewhere...

  • Peshwar, Pakistan: Primary school for Afghan refugees estbalished
  • Wazirabad, Pakistan:Technical vocational training centre set up
  • Gambia:Primary school opened
  • Medical clinic opens in rural Gujrat, India
  • 200 year old Behrambeg college is renovated and reopened after 50 years

1995

01

The orphan sponsorship scheme starts in Africa, Asia & the Balkans. The scheme aims to provide needy oprhans within the region with a sound level of education/training to enable them to work and earn a living when they leave school or college.

Sponsorships not only cover the fees, books and clothing etc, but also provides monthly stipend to the needy family.

Read more about our orphan sponsorship scheme here: Orphan Care

Elsewhere... 

  • Kashmir: Four vocational training centres are set up in for women, helping widows and other needy women to help themselves by learning livelihoods skills
  • Sringar, Kashmir: Blood banks installed in hospitals
  • Afghanistan: Free book banks
  • Medical clinic setup on bombshelled Kashmir border

1996

04

By 1996, MH had significantly increased the number of countries to which aid was distributed. The main activity in this year was to establish long-term projects where funds could reach a larger number of people for a longer period. This included schools, dispensaries and safe water supplies.

Elsewhere...

  • Africa, Asia & the Balkans: Muslim Hands Orphan Sponsorship Scheme starts
  • Kashmir: 4 vocational training centres for women set up  helping widows and other needy women
  • Muslim Hands work in Somalia stepped up as most aid agencies pull out
  • Medical clinic setup on bombshelled Kashmir border
  • First computer literacy centre opened in Wazirabad, Pakistan, catering for students of various ages, and trains local teachers
  • Clinic developed in Gujrat to accommodate a minor surgeries unit

1997

01

MH medical teams operated on dozens of children in Pakistan with cleft lips and palates. This corrective surgery helps children lead a normal life, where they otherwise would have difficulty speaking, eating and integrating into their community.

A team of professionals including plastic surgeons and nurses visited poor areas in Lahore to conduct the operations free of charge.

Elsehwhere...

  • Iran-Afghanistan border struck by killer earthquake. MH teams with Iran Red Crescent fly in urgent aid. 100 new beds and medical equipment given to local hospital
  • Somalia: 10 feeding centres run for victims of drought
  • Muslim Hands Orphan Sponsorship Scheme is great success, reaching 1200 families in two years.



1998

03

In July, one-third of Bangladesh was submerged with the most devastating floods of the decade. Muslim Hands distributed food, medicine, clothes and medical camps were organised in and around Dhaka. By boat, MH workers reached otherwise inaccessible villages. 

A comprehensive programme for rebuilding homes, repairing infrastructure and installing hand-pumps was initiated. The housing project reached out to the neediest segments of society with low-cost homes built of bamboo, clay and corrugated metal sheets.

Elsewhere...

  • In Kashmir trainees at vocational centres form a cooperative
  • A small business generation scheme provides rickshaws
  • Tanzania: The construction of a madrassa in Karanga accomodates well over 100 children

1999

01

After NATO started the bombing of Kosova and refugees started flooding over the borders to Albania, Muslim Hands were on the ground distributing food parcels, blankets and mattresses.  Conditions were dire, but timely attention to sanitation reduced illnesses by 50% in the Tirana refugee camp. MH employed 45 sanitation workers to run a 24-hour clean-up operation.  

An Educational Play Therapy Programme helped more than 1000 children in Tirana with sleep disorders and behavioural problems.

Mosques provided an access point to the refugees lodging with Albanian families, who despite their state of poverty, gave shelter to those in need. 

MH deployed 12 ambulance units with 15 doctors and drivers to provide a 24 hour medical service. When refugees flooded back into Kosova, MH accompanied them with a convoy consisting of 42 trucks, each carrying 20 tons of essential food and medical supplies. 

Elsewhere...

  • Earthquake, Turkey: Muslim Hands was operational immediately. 12'000 meals per day served to homeless in Adapazari
  • Eye-care: Eye-camps examine and treat more than 750 catract sufferers
  • Bangladesh: 470 new homes built for homeless families

2000

01

Muslim Hands responded immediately to the Mozambique floods of 2000, sending two ex-military four-wheel drive ambulances from the UK. A medical team, mobile medical units and food parcels were taken to remote communities.

With infant malnutrition at epidemic proportions, nutritionists were employed at centres to administer high energy feeding and nurse young children back to health.

A low cost housing programme helped build new homes from local materials, giving families shelter that could last 30 years.

Elsewhere...

  • Muslim Hands continues to work with Chechen refugees throughout 2000, providing regular food, clothing, fuel distribution and financial support to the severely sick and injured in hospitals in Tbilisi and Akhmeta in Azerbaijan.
  • Four schools are established for Chechen refugee children
  • The sacking of Grozny: Muslim Hands provides regular food, clothing and shelter to 7000 refugees in Georgia.
  • Drought in Balochistan, Pakistan: Four temporary feeding centes fed 30'000 people.
  • Library & computer literacy centres established in Gambia
  • Ethiopia: Food & medicine distributed. Five wells and water storage projects.

2001

01

MH began the initiative of the 'Eid Gifts Programme' where donors are able to send a gift to a poor Muslim child for only £10. A total of 4,400 eid gifts were distributed to children across a wide variety of countries including Palestine, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Gambia, Sudan, Senegal, Mexico, Albania, Kosova and Chechnya. Each of the gift boxes contained items such as new shoes, clothes and a school bag.

Elsewhere...

  • Palestine: Al-Aqsa intifida plunged Palestinians into deeper poverty. Alongside food parcels medical clinics set up in Al-Khalil, School bus service for orphans and 100 university students are sponsored
  • India Earthquake: 60,000 people recieved vital food supplies and 1,000 families recieved tents. 42 new homes also built
  • Small loans scheme started in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • New school built in Skenderaj, Kosovo
  • Over 850 tubewells installed in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Gambia and Senegal

2002

01

Donations received in response to the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, 2002, were used for a multi-purpose approach to rebuild the communities affected. Food parcels, clothing, bedding and household kits were distributed to households. At community level, emergency medical care and mobile medical units were dispatched. 300 mosques were renovated and new homes were built. The small loans scheme helped people regain self-sufficiency.

Elsewhere...

  • US led war on Afghanistan bought further suffering to impoverished Afghans. 400 tonne food convoys immediately sent in via Pakistan
  • Emergency medical clinics, mobile medical units and ambulance service set up to serve Kabul, Kandhar, Jalalbad, Chaman and Peshwar. 100 school kits and 300 wheelchairs distributed
  • Azerbaijan and Lebanon: bringing the total number of families supported to 1,800 in 17 countries worldwide
  • New school extension built in Jersualem 

2003

02

Alhamdulillah, Muslim Hands was one of the few charities allowed to operate in Iraq.

A large number of projects were completed and MH was able to rehabilitate four schools in Fallujah and orphanages in Baghdad and Mosul.

Vital equipment for the gynaecology department, blood banks, clinical laboratories and four operating theatres were also supplied.

Our unique homeless centre for teenage girls provided protection  from the dangers of the Baghdad streets.

As the bombing extended into 2004, Muslim Hands was able to continue to deliver aid across Iraq, even in Fallujah, Najaf and Karbala. MH provided the Fallujah City Water Treatment Plant with a large water pump. Food distribution was also carried out to Al-Rashad Elderly Home, Elweeyah Orphanage, Wazeeryah Orphanage and Al-Tufulah Orphanage on a monthly basis. 

This was made up of a variety of projects, from a training programme for Iraqi NGOs to giving financial support for Hajj pilgrims.

Elsewhere...

  • Kashmir and Pakistan: Helping the disabled in the developing world was a focal commitment of MH in 2003. MH set up rehabilitation and vocational training centres and provided financial grants in order to turn disabled people's skills into businesses.
  • Gambia: MH launched a scheme to assist Gambian Fisherwomen in becoming self sufficient and self employed workers.

2004

01

The Bam earthquake in 2003 killed more than 45,000 and left 100,000 homeless.

Qurbani meat was distributed to 32,000 people on behalf of donors and other charities. For sanitation, 30 latrines and 20 field showers were installed.

A Muslim Hands office was opened in Jiroft to supervise disease prevention and rebuilding programmes. The Mayor of Bam gave Muslim Hands four acres of land to construct an orphanage and school for 100 children.

Elsewhere...

  • Darfur, Sudan: Muslim Hands sets up camps for 100,000 refugees in Kalima and Mosai. As well as distributing water, food and shelter, lanterns are distributed, medical centres set-up and temporary schools founded
  • Bangladesh: Muslim Hands provides aid and new housing to some of the 2 million made homeless by the worst floods seen in 20 years
  • Indonesia: Read about how the Tsunami that struck Indonesia completely changed the life of 13-year-old Suryadi here: Tsunami Orphan Suryadi

2005

01

Green Ribbon Week was launched in order to raise awareness of the plight of the suffering of countless children of war in some of the most devastated countries in the world such as Afghanistan, Kashmir, Iraq and Sudan.

Through a wide variety of fundraising projects, Green Ribbon Week enjoyed attention nationwide as the young and old alike came together for a variety of activities from bungee jumping to funfairs, school cake sales and street collections.

Through the funds raised, 75 children in Afghanistan were fitted with prosthetic limbs at a MH Orthopaedic and Prosthetic Clinic in Kabul. Schools in Iraq were provided with sports equipment to help children feel a sense of normalcy in their difficult living conditions and Sudanese children in Darfur were granted vaccinations and health care.

Elsewhere...

  • MH Iraq was able to refurbish orphanages and elderly care centres with food, fuel, mobility aids, staff salaries and refurbishment. Twelve Iraqi organisations benefitted from training courses set up in Baghdad, Amman and Jordan by way of capacity building and management training programmes for Iraqi aid organisations and NGOs. 
  • Safe water, an electricity generator and water treatment plant in Baghdad were also set up as well as care homes supporting the elderly and disabled.
  • Earthquake in Indonesia: Less than 6 months after the Tsunami of 2004, an earthquake hit Indonesia, killing 5,500. By virtue of the continued relief effort after the Tsunami, MH was able to despatch Emergency Response Teams from Jakarta, Aceh and Medan. 
  • Kashmir & Pakistan: The strongest earthquake for 100 years hits the region killing almost 80,000 people and leaving miliion homeless. MH teams operate camps helpings tens of thousands of survivors and begun construction of shelters

2006

01

An economy in ruins, endemic poverty and Israeli bombing rendered the humanitarian situation desperate in Gaza, Palestine.

MH handed out vital food supplies, tents and water storage tanks. Medical equipment was provided to Al-Wafa Hospital to cope with the growing burden under siege.

In Lebanon, mobile medical units were purchased and deployed in Saida and surrounding areas. Over 6000 food parcels, hot food and medical care were provided to the thousands displaced by the bombing in Saida, Tyre and Beirut.

MH provided safe water tankers & mobile power generators for southern villages after existing electric water pumps were disabled.

Elsewhere: 

  • Pakistan: Muslim Hands established seven large refugee camps to cater for over 60,000 homeless people during the Pakistan Earthquake providing emergency medical assistance and sending over 250 workers and volunteers to the Muzaffarabad area. Muslim Hands set up temporary medical clinics and three new schools in aid camps.  

 

2007

01

MH has been fortunate enough to be working in Gambia, Senegal and South Africa since its earliest days and by 2007 through your continued support, was able to serve 18 of the poorest countries in Africa.

As well as emergency aid, MH provided schools, adult literacy classes, medical clinics, health sanitation projects, dispensaries, maternity clinics, ambulance services, infant mortality reduction programmes, counselling about childcare, HIV/AIDS awareness and vaccination projects.

Elsewhere: 

  • Bangladesh: Cyclone Sidr brought destruction to already poor and needy communities living along the coastal areas of Bangladesh. MH Bangladesh response teams in Barguna, Pirojpur, and Patuakhali were immediately despatched to relieve victims with food, shelter, clean water, medicine and transportation
  • Iraq: Muslim Hands rebuilds schools across Maysaloon, Ishtar and Al Kindy in Iraq to serve over 1,150 students
  • MH Afghanistan renovates the obstetrics and gynaecology wards at the University Teaching Hospital in Jalalabad where 1,500 patients are treated each month
  • MH Palestine opens a new office in Gaza

2008

02

MH organised a sponsored walk along the Great Wall of China. The sponsored walk took place in July in the summer of 2008.

Fundraising took place up and down the country in order for walkers to raise money for 'Innocent Children of War' which was the focus of Green Ribbon Week 2008.

Elsewhere...

  • MH responds immediately to natural disasters Sichuan earthquake in China, Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh and Cyclone Nargis in Burma with the provision of food, clean water, medical aid, sanitation equipment and utensils.
  • Afghanistan and Nepal: Benefit from the safe water scheme providing wells, sanitation equipment and educational workshops to drought stricken regions of the countries
  • MH opens a School of Excellence in Mali, as well as Vocational Training Centres in Afghanistan and Indonesia. MH expands and provides boarding facilities to schools in Nepal and China. MH also provides school equipment and stationary to 2,000 students in 20 of the poorest schools in Gaza, Palestine
  • MH has over 1,000 orphans sponsored through our orphan sponsorship campaign during Ramadan. 
  • MH began a livelihoods 'Cereal Aid' project in Mali providing 10 large farming families across Sikasso and Segou provinces with a chance to generate an income from what they know 
  • MH extends the infant mortality reduction campaign to Sri Lanka and 10 other countries including Indonesia, China and Kashmir
  • Indonesia: Read about how a hernia patient from birth was given a new lease of life thanks to an operation facilitated by MH donors here: Returning to Normality in Indonesia

2009

02

Conflict in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo caused a humanitarian catastrophe as tens of thousands of civilians were driven from their homes to the countryside leaving them vulnerable and in danger.

MH UK and South Africa immediately provided refugee camps with urgently needed shelter, food and medical supplies, helping families in and around Goma, the provincial capital bordering Rwanda. 

Elsewhere...

  • Gaza war: MH office in Gaza assisted in the worst hit area of Jabaliyya by distributing food and medicine. Al-Shifa hospital and five other hospitals were supplied with medical equipment and medicines

2010

01

The devastating Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh left at least 179 dead and over 400,000 people homeless. Experienced in emergency relief, MH Bangladesh urgently dispatched aid teams to villages travelling by boat through treacherous conditions.

Teams distributed vitally needed aid supplies to District Satkhira, and the areas of Shyamnagar Upazila, where over 90% of people had their thatched houses and mud huts completely demolished. 

MH Bangladesh immediately began reconstructing homes and distributed clothing, medicine and food to over 1,000 families.

Elsewhere...

  • Pakistan floods: Muslim Hands responds to the disaster throughout the country, working in Khaybar Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, AJK and FATA 
  • Muslim Hands Pakistan provided over 361,500 people with cooked food and distributed 33,400 family food parcels. MH field clinics treated over 114,500 patients. Immediately after the emergency phase MH constructed 600 homes
  • Haiti earthquake: MH was present on the ground in Port au Prince within a matter of days distributing food and water to 20,000 people. With local volunteers, MH began rescue operations and cleared bodies from the rubble. Three schools were also established in the area

2011

01

As the military took control of the country in 2011, further civil unrest within the Ivory Coast forced over a million people from their homes. As looting continued across the country, the situation for civilians became dire, with a shortage of food, water and basic amenities. 

Over 150,000 refugees fled to Liberia where they sought security and protection from escalating violence.

Working in the Nimba region, MH Liberia supported displaced families across Saclepea, Boutuo and Karnplay Camps with monthly food packages and safe water.

Elsewhere...

  • Libyan crisis: MH teams worked with the UNCHR at Shousa refugee camp mear Ras Ajdir. At the Djerba airport Muslim Hands provided upto 5,000 people with food everyday
  • East Africa famine: MH distributed food, water medicine and tents to over 50,000 refugees and IDP's in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Water tankers were used to supply camps in Ethiopia and Somalia. Read more about our work in the region in our blog series: Our Work in East Africa 
  • Japan tsunami: MH volunteers based in Nagata (near Tokyo), filled a bus with food and other essential items and distributed them to stranded families in the Fukushima Prefecture
  • Afghanistan: Read about how Muslim Hands had provided Vocational Training in Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh: Watch this video to how we've helped to transfrom lives in Bangladesh: Ishaq's Brand New Rickshaw