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ArtsCharity

Artists for Orphans: A New Initiative That Brings Together Art and Charity

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ArtsCharity

Artists for Orphans: A New Initiative That Brings Together Art and Charity

The most touching thing I heard was someone said they appreciate that we’re raising funds while preserving the privacy and dignity of the vulnerable people we’re aiming to help – that we didn’t post any pictures of crying children to help them, but rather focused on positive photos of the beauty of the Islamic world.

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The most touching thing I heard was someone said they appreciate that we’re raising funds while preserving the privacy and dignity of the vulnerable people we’re aiming to help – that we didn’t post any pictures of crying children to help them, but rather focused on positive photos of the beauty of the Islamic world.

A wonderful new initiative involving artists from the Muslim world has come together to support orphans, in an inspiring move of solidarity and charity.

Take a look at this new initiative, called For Yatim, here – a collection of amazing photographers and artists who are raising funds for orphans and families in Beirut who recently lost their loved ones in recent events, and also for Palestinian orphans.

To do that, they are offering beautiful art prints that people can buy for their homes. But more importantly, 100% of the proceeds go towards charities for the cause.

This initially started as a small personal project by Osama Hashmi – who by profession comes from the technology and social impact space in Seattle in the United States. But in Ramadan, with the effects of the COVID crisis in the Syrian refugee community becoming more adverse, him and a number of other photographers from around the world did a special campaign to help the Karam Foundation.

By using printers around the world, they were able to work around COVID-related flight restrictions and offer free worldwide shipping. That campaign became a success and they raised thousands of dollars for the cause.

Now they’ve just started a third campaign, this time also including Islamic art.

TMV interviewed Osama briefly on the project to learn more.

Your work seems very different from this project – can you tell us how you got into starting this project?

Yes, it’s quite different indeed. I work as an innovation consultant in the social impact space – so it’s helping clients find new solutions relating to climate change, financial inclusion, mental wellness, economic prosperity, etc. But I also love photography, and because of my work, I’ve gotten a chance to travel and build a small collection of photographs myself.

After an Umrah in February of this year, I felt strongly to want to help orphans through any means I could. So initially I just put together this site to do a small fundraiser through friends and family selling prints of my own photography.

In Ramadan, I figured we could try a campaign again but this time invite other photographers from around the world to participate too. Alhamdulillah, many amazing and renowned photographers responded, and the whole project took off from there.

Now we have even more artists in our new campaign, including people whose works I’ve admired, Alhamdulillah.

Why did you pick the cause and foundations to work with?

I’m sure like a lot of us out there, in August I was feeling quite depressed and rather dejected with recent world events, and I really felt that we should do something to help Lebanon and Palestinians all over the world. Through supporters and friends, I was connected to some really great charities and organizations helping Palestinian orphans and helping families rebuild in Beirut. Sometimes, when something feels right, the heart fills with light and energy… I just felt this was the right cause worth working towards right now.

And then, alhamdulillah, so many other renowned photographers and artists joined in on that idea – and helping orphan families in Beirut and Palestinian orphans have brought a special type of energy into our works.

We selected three charity partners for this: The GiveLight Foundation, which is running orphanages all over the world, Al-Makan in Lebanon, which is a community directly helping the families, and Helping Hand (HHRD). All three organizations are passionate and care deeply about ensuring the benefit reaches the right people in the best way.

What do you feel is different or special about this project, compared to other such fundraisers?

I think it’s the quality of the work, and the passion of everyone involved in these campaigns – we try to offer the rarest, best works we can, work with the best artists we can, and use museum-grade printers around the world to deliver stunning quality. We want everyone who would choose to support orphans to have the very best item in return for that generosity.

One of our artists in Ramadan said: “The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) loved orphans so much… if we have to help orphans, take my best work” and somehow that thinking has stuck into every aspect of the project.

The specific set of people, for example, that have come together for this new campaign – is I think it’s quite unprecedented, and seeing all of those people standing together for a cause is inspiring, even to me.

How is the response to the project?

Alhamdulillah, I’ve never done a project where people email the customer service line with duas! The response and overwhelming positivity around this from the community have been very humbling. In a month since we launched the campaign in Ramadan, we raised more than $13,000. And I’m really touched with how involved the supporters have been with us at every stage.

The most touching thing I heard was someone said they appreciate that we’re raising funds while preserving the privacy and dignity of the vulnerable people we’re aiming to help – that we didn’t post any pictures of crying children to help them, but rather focused on positive photos of the beauty of the Islamic world.

And even though our new campaign just launched a couple of days ago, it’s great to see the energy of the artists and community around this.

Are you planning future campaigns or projects?

It seems clear that there is something to this concept that is resonating with the community really well, and I’m just taking it all in to see what we can do step by step, possibly support more causes and charities for orphans too.


Their campaign is going on for a few more weeks, and some of the artworks are only available for a limited time. To support them (and the orphans ultimately), check out the beautiful photo prints at ForYatim.com – and consider buying some works as a gift.

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