Creating a Zakaat fund for students university expenses
Q: I am currently doing volunteer work at a Muslim children’s orphanage near my area. I have found that many of the children leaving the orphanage after grade 12 are having difficulties finding funds for studies and accommodation. These youths are either placed at a Muslim youth home/ to live with a family willing to provide accommodation for them/ with their own family if possible and for some (as no placement are found) may go into a non-Islamic home (which is very problematic!). Some of these children are provided with some funds from the orphanage but this is reported to also be problematic as fees are not paid on time, they struggle to get finances for accommodation, stationary etc. My aim is to open a zakaat fund and use the money to pay fees for stationary/ varsity fees/ transport as these youths (who I am very close to even after they leave the orphanage) are struggling to get these funds from the organisation as the organisation is only able to support children till matric. Thus my aim is to open a fund to pay for these youths. Can I go ahead and do this? Are these youths zakaatable? Will I be able to open a zakaat fund collecting my own zakaat and of family members that are willing to assist with their zakaat and pay for studies/ accommodation/ stationary/ transports for these Muslim youths? I will use the zakaat for each of the grade 12’s leaving the orphanage to secure their studies etc? Please advise? Alternatively please provide me with guidance on what can be done?
A: The better thing for youth that have come of this age is that they should learn to stand on their own. A child who has come of age is no longer called a yateem.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.