Humanity First

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Humanity First
FounderMirza Tahir Ahmad
TypeInternational non-governmental organization
Registration no.England & Wales 1149693
Advancement of health and saving of lives
Prevention and relief of poverty
Overseas aid/famine relief
OriginsLondon, United Kingdom
Area served
Worldwide - Registered in 52 countries
MethodDisaster Relief and Long Term Projects
Increase $5,590,710 (2017)[1]

Humanity First is an international charity that provides disaster relief and long term development assistance to vulnerable communities in 52 countries across 6 continents. The organisation is run by volunteers with diverse skillsets across the world and has access to thousands of extra volunteers worldwide. Volunteer staff in all areas (operations, expert medics, engineers and teachers) often pay their own expenses to support the international projects.

The organisation differentiates itself in the aid industry with a high level of efficiency. Extensive use of volunteers, partnerships and global sourcing result in high levels of funds going straight to projects. Similarly, the value of the aid delivered (projects as well as free man-hours of doctors, engineers and teachers) is greater than the value of donations received. Uniquely, volunteer staff often pay their own international expenses.

As immediate disaster responses conclude, the charity also often begins rehabilitation services through orphan care, water infrastructure and vocational training.[2]

The organisation gained Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.


The charity is based upon the preservation of human life and dignity. Its objectives are to:

  • Relieve suffering caused by natural disasters or man-made conflicts
  • Promote peace and understanding based upon mutual tolerance and respect
  • Strengthen people's capacity to help themselves

1994 Origins[edit]

The concept of Humanity First originates from a desire to provide aid on the basis of need alone, irrespective of race, religion, colour or political allegiance. The organization was established in London, UK, and registered in 1994 by then worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad. Ahmadiyya is a global reform movement within Islam, with 20 million followers, one of its objectives is "establishing peace at all levels of society and to protect the basic human rights of all people".[3]

Growth and Present Situation[edit]

Humanity First grew into a multi-national aid agency and non-profit charitable organization, often working with other agencies such as the Red Cross, Oxfam, and Save the Children. The organization has access to thousands of volunteers across the globe. Humanity First today has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Two Areas of Focus[edit]

The organization splits its work into two areas;

  • Disaster Relief
  • Human Development (long-term sustainable projects)

Disaster Relief[edit]

Disaster relief covers the provision of humanitarian aid, medical relief, shelter, food and safe water in response to both man-made and natural disasters. Examples in the last 10 years include responses to the following: Kobe earthquake in Japan, Kosovo War, 1999 İzmit earthquake in Turkey, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia[4][5] and Sri Lanka, Hurricane Katrina,[6] and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake[7][8] in Pakistan. More recently, they have responded to catastrophic flooding in Suriname, Guyana[9] and Kenya, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami and the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London, UK.[10]

Table of Disaster Relief Work (Non-Exhaustive)
The table below illustrates disasters that HF have been involved in and level of assistance they have provided to local victims:

Disaster Year Countries Affected Scale of Disaster People Assisted Nature of Help
Kosovo 1997 Kosovo, Albania, Serbia 10k killed, 850k displaced > 10,000 Medical, Food, Clothing
Izmit Earthquake 1999 Turkey 17k killed, 60k homeless 15,000 Medical, Shelter, Food, Clothing
Gujarat Earthquake 2001 India 20k killed, 166k injured, 600k homeless 5,500 Medical, Shelter, Food, Clothing
Asian tsunami 2004 Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia 220k killed, 1.6 Million homeless 30,000 Medical, Shelter, Food, Clothing
Hurricane Katrina 2005 United States 1.8k killed, Millions homeless 1,050 Medical, Shelter/ Re-Furb, Food, Clothing, IT
Kashmir Earthquake 2005 Pakistan 80k killed, 3.3M homeless 60,000 Medical, Shelter, Food, Clothing, Counseling
Latin American Flooding 2005-06 Suriname, Guyana 30k displaced and homeless 10,000 Food, Clothing, IT
Peru Earthquake 2007 Peru 250k homeless 2,000 Food, Clothing, Shelter
Cyclone Sidr 2007 Bangladesh 5k killed, 34k injured, 500k affected 7,000 Medical, Water, Food, Clothing, Shelter
Kenya Post-Election Violence 2008 Kenya 1.5k killed, 600k displaced 2,500 Medical, Food, Clothing
Cyclone Nargis 2008 Burma 146k killed, 1M displaced 2,000 Clothing, Water
Gaza Violence 2009 Gaza, Palestine 7k killed or injured, 100k homeless 7,000 Food, Education
Sumatra Earthquake 2009 Indonesia 4k killed or injured, 1.2M displaced 1,000 Medical, Food, Shelter
Cyclone Aila 2009 Bangladesh 8.5k killed or injured, 1M homeless 1,600 Food, Water, Clothing, Shelter
Haiti Earthquake 2010 Haiti 230k killed, 300k injured, 1M affected 55,000 [11] Medical, Water, Orphan Care, Shelter
West African Ebola virus epidemic 2014 Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, Senegal 11.3k killed, 28.6k infected 200,000 treated [12] Medical, Water, Orphan Care, Shelter
Grenfell Tower fire 2017 London, UK 72 deaths, 74 hospitalised, hundreds displaced Assistance at shelters, and food, water and clothing at the tower site. Funds also raised for family assistance.
Syrian Civil War 2014–Present Syria, Jordan 498k killed, 7.6m internally displaced, 5.1m refugees 7,500+ (2014-2016) refugees.[13] Refugees provided with shelter, food, healthcare, and education for children
Rohingya crisis 2017–Present Bangladesh refugee camp 650,000 refugees 30,000+ Medical treatment, emergency water and sanitation, and regular hot food

List updated in 2014 expect for Syrian Civil War, Rohingya crisis and Grenfell Tower additions.

Human Development[edit]

Humanity First approaches its human development projects with long term sustainability as a priority. The projects are rooted in a community deeply affected by a natural disaster, war, or poverty. After the relief phase of the project has subsided, Humanity First works with the community to identify viable opportunities for growth and recovery.

Human development programs can be categorized under the categories of: 1) Health & Medical Programs, or 2) Educational & Vocational Programs. Health & Medical: Designed to provide much needed health and medical services and supplies to some of the world's most vulnerable populations. Educational & Vocational Programs: Designed to help create capacity and self-sufficiency through providing support for primary education for children and vocational training for adults in various under-privileged communities around the world

The organisation splits its long-term work into seven programmes:

  1. Food Security
  2. Knowledge for Life
  3. Orphan Care
  4. Knowledge for Life
  5. Water for Life
  6. Global Health
  7. Gift of Sight

Examples of Long-term Project Work
Humanity First runs a number of long-term projects largely in Africa and Asia:

  • Food Security - 'Feed a Family' - provision of basic necessities to deserving and vulnerable families, normally for a fixed period of 6 months. Over 700 Tonnes of food and aid has been shipped to Africa for poor families. HF is now establishing a Feed a Village program; it has also established a Feed the Homeless program in the heart of Montreal.
  • Knowledge for Life - 'Learn a Skill' - The purpose of Learn a Skill programme is to strengthen people's capacity to help themselves. So far the programme has been providing assistance on the ground through the following projects: IT Centres, Sewing / Tailoring Centres, Construction Trades and Management skills. As of 2013, Humanity First was running over 30 training centres in 16 countries with 39,347 student recipients.
    • Humanity First Ahmadiyya Vocational College (HFAVC) is established in 2010 in Monrovia Liberia by Humanity First USA. Currently it offers 10 vocational trades with dedicated workshops to train hands on. It is first of its kind institution in Liberia which offers scholarships and other facilities to students. Masroor Agriculture and Technical Institute (MATI) is a new vocational college in Liberia established in 2013 and will start working early 2014. Humanity First Liberia website and its projects are funded by Humanity First USA.
  • Orphan Care - running and support of orphanages covering the needs of orphans including accommodation, education, food, clothing and health. Orphan programmes are currently running in Gambia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Benin.
  • Water for Life - set up or repair of water pumps to provide clean and safe drinking water to remote villages in underdeveloped regions. Humanity First are working on these projects with Water Aid and IAAAE and have built or refurbished over 420 pumps and filter units in West Africa, Latin America and Asia.
  • Gift of Sight - work with a network of hospitals to provide sight treatment ranging from glasses, treatment of infections and in extreme cases, operations to rectify cataracts. Humanity First USA sent a team of eye doctors and volunteers to San Juan Sacatapequez, Guatemala in 2010 to conduct a successful cataract surgery camp. The 2nd mission took place in October 2011 in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Over 30 cataract surgeries were performed and 125 patients were examined and given donated spectacles. The Gift of Sight program plans annual trips to underserved nations worldwide to provide free eye care and train local doctors for sustained care.


The organisation is known for its high level of efficiency. Extensive use of volunteers, partnerships and global sourcing result in high levels of funds going straight to projects. Similarly, the value of the aid delivered (projects as well as free man-hours of doctors, engineers and teachers) is greater than the value of donations received. Uniquely, volunteer staff often pay their own international expenses.

Spending is subdivided from the organisation's two areas - long-term work in human development and short-term disaster relief. Volunteer staff in all areas (operations, expert medics, engineers and teachers) often pay their own expenses to support the international projects.

Spending by Project Category, 2017 ($)[14]
Project Category Total ($)
Disaster Relief 732,837
Gift of Sight 143,259
Knowledge for Life 443,603
Food Security 473,781
Medical Program 1,590,309
Learn a Skill 282,965
Orphan Care 86,965
Water for Life 452,447
Refugee Assistance 573,668
Social and Community Services 82,518
Other Projects 18,118


  1. ^ "Humanity First Resources (Annual Reports 2013-2017)". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  2. ^ "Humanity First Homepage". Humanity First. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  3. ^ "About the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community". Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize Page. 2018-07-07. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  4. ^ Tsunami Relief Database – Humanity First International Archived 2007-08-04 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Independent Sector | Charitable Organizations Respond to Tsunami Crisis Archived 2007-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Breaking News, World News & Multimedia". Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  7. ^ Journalism jobs and news from Archived 2007-04-16 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ SHAPE Media Library: Sweets and X-rays - 23 January 2006
  9. ^ Gina | Government Information Agency | Guyana Archived 2007-04-21 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Humanity First - Japan Tsunami". Archived from the original on 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  11. ^ "Morden charity marks year making a difference in Haiti". Wimbledon Guardian. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  12. ^ "Annual Report 2014 - Humanity First". Humanity First UK. 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  13. ^ "Annual Report 2016 - Humanity First". Humanity First UK. 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  14. ^ "Humanity First Resources". Humanity First. Retrieved 2018-09-13.

New IT Centre in Guyana US Affiliation & Registration UK School Donor to HF Sierra Leone youth affiliation US Charity Directory listing German Wikipedia entry Haiti team from HF UK Haiti team from HF Canada[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]