Founders Message

A Message from Dr. Yusuf Islam


A warm welcome to Small Kindness.

One main reason that I began this charitable concern back in 1999, was the feeling that too much institutionalisation was happening in the world of charity and relief, the human touch was somehow getting further and further away from the management of the major aid organizations.

When I returned to music in 1997, it was in Sarajevo directly after the devastating war in the Balkans. I felt I had a duty as an individual to do what I could to help, it’s one of the reasons I set up my own charity, Small Kindness. It’s not always necessary to make grand gestures; sometimes the smaller things can have a bigger impact. Another concern was, when giving to a charity: where was my money going? It was important that as a donor, 100% went to the needy. So that’s what we did, it’s what we still do.

We take care of administration costs separately so that we can act with integrity and you can trust that your donations will go to those who need it most. Thank you for your time and support

Dr. Yusuf Islam

A Brief Biography

Yusuf Islam, the celebrated British Muslim educator, philanthropist and humanitarian, was born in London and grew up above the family shop in the exciting West End theatre district. He is also still known and admired by millions for his music and lyrics as Cat Stevens.

Following a bout of TB early in his career, he undertook a search for peace and spiritual truth. After almost drowning in the Pacific Ocean at Malibu, Yusuf was gifted an English translation of the Qur’an by his elder brother, David. His quest for answers was fulfilled and he embraced Islam in December 1977.

One of the world’s most famous converts to Islam, Yusuf’s inspirational songs have provided the soundtrack for generations of people the world over.

His pioneering work in education and humanitarian relief has been recognised through a range of prestigious awards, including the Man for Peace Award in 2004 from a committee of Nobel peace laureates and, in 2007, the Mediterranean Prize for Peace. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers named him Songwriter of the Year two years in succession in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he received the Ivor Novello award for Outstanding Song Collection. In 2014 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His most recent publication, ‘Why I Still Carry A Guitar’, won the Best International Non-Fiction Award at last year’s Sharjah International Book Fair. He holds honorary doctorates in Philosophy and Law from the universities of Gloucestershire and Exeter.

Yusuf has participated in a number of major charity concerts in recent years, including Nelson Mandela’s AIDS benefit concert (2003); the Voices for Darfur concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall (2004); a fund-raising concert in Jakarta to aid the victims of the tsunami (2005); the Adopt-A-Minefield awareness concert with Sir Paul McCartney (2005); and Live Earth (2007). He has also recently completed hugely successful tours of Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Canada, USA and South America following the release of three critically acclaimed albums: An Other Cup (2006), Roadsinger (2009) and Tell ‘Em I’m Gone (2014).

He has also contributed tracks to various charity CDs to raise awareness of and funds for humanitarian causes. These have included ‘Hope’ (2003) for the charity War Child to aid the victims of the Iraq war and ‘Amazon Tribe – Songs for Survival’ (2008) in support of Survival International, the human rights organisation for tribal peoples. In 2013 he contributed an instrumental piece for Srebrenica Memorial Day.

Yusuf is the founder of Islamia Primary School, Islamia Girls Secondary School and Brondesbury College – all eminent educational institutions. He founded Small Kindness in 2000 after a friend invited him to the Balkans the previous year where he witnessed first-hand the humanitarian disaster faced by so many children and families. The Yusuf Islam Foundation, through which he directs his philanthropic work, is engaged in establishing a cultural, exhibition and wellbeing space in London – The Maqam Centre promises to be a landmark addition to London’s multicultural landscape.

Yusuf currently lives in Dubai with his family. To find out more about Yusuf’s latest work please visit