Rohingya women make jute bags with UNHCR logo on them

Rohingya refugee women learn how to make bags and other products from jute, an environmentally friendly material grown locally, in Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh. Sanowara, 35, came to Bangladesh in 2017. She used to work as a tailor in Myanmar and is happy to use her skills in the jute factory. She earns enough to buy clothes and footwear, as well as fish and meat for her family. “We cannot survive only eating lentils and mashed chilies our whole life,” she said. “We need money to buy fish, meat and medicines … that’s why I like working in this factory.” © UNHCR/Kamrul Hasan

New York – During a high-level joint event organized on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Dr. Muhammad Al-Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), represented by Dr. Mansur Muhtar, Vice President for Operations and Dr Hiba Ahmed, Director General of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) announced the launch of the Global Islamic Fund for Refugees (GIFR).

A first-of-its-kind Shariah-compliant financing tool, the GIFR aims to provide innovative sustainable financial resources to support developmental and humanitarian assistance to displacement crises. The GIFR was launched with an initial capital investment by ISFD and UNHCR, inviting various interested entities and individuals to donate to the fund.

Director General of the ISFD Dr. Hiba Ahmed stated: “The GIFR offers a unique opportunity to invest in responding to the developmental and humanitarian needs of millions of forcibly displaced people.” She added: “We are proud to launch the GIFR in partnership with UNHCR, which will pave the way for initiatives and efforts to assist forcibly displaced persons and host communities in IsDB member countries.”

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, commended the humanitarian partnership with IsDB and said: “Over 100 million people have fled for safety due to the devastating effects of war, conflict, persecution, discrimination and the climate emergency with increasing needs for humanitarian assistance and sustainable solutions.” He added: “Innovative and sustainable funding is essential to ensure that help reaches people in need. The GIFR is a new approach that will not only help refugees but is also another tangible example of the strong solidarity that exists throughout the Islamic world with refugees.”

As part of the Global Islamic Fund for Refugees, donor contributions will be invested and the proceeds from investments will be utilized to respond to forced displacement situations. Donors who contribute US$10 million or more to the Fund, will be able to join the GIFR Steering Committee and take part in the decisions to allocate funds in support of humanitarian efforts in IsDB member countries, which produce and host the largest number of refugees and displaced persons in the world.

For more information, please contact:

  • In Dubai: Khaled Kabbara, Communications Officer – GCC Countries, UNHCR,, +971 50 641 0868
  • In New York: Kathryn Mahoney, Global Spokesperson,, +1 347 574 6552
  • In Geneva: Yuko Narushima, Global Spokesperson,, +41 79 863 7327

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