Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about giving zakaah to sponsor orphans and he replied:
Orphans who are poor are among those who are entitled to zakaah, so if the zakaah is given to their guardians, this is sufficient, if they are trustworthy. So their guardians may be given what will cover their needs and he may buy what they need himself. End quote.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 18/346
He also said:
But there is a point which should be noted: some people think that all orphans are entitled to zakaah funds, and that is not the case. Orphans are not one of the categories of people who are entitled to take zakaah, and an orphan has no right to zakaah unless he falls into one of the eight categories of those who are entitled to zakaah.
As for simply being an orphan, an orphan may be independent of means and have no need of zakaah (end quote).
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 18/353
He also said:
We must understand that zakaah is not for orphans as such; zakaah is for the poor and needy, and the other categories (mentioned in the aayah). An orphan may be rich; his father may have left him wealth that makes him independent of means, or he may have an income from social security and the like which makes him independent of means.
Hence we say that the orphan’s guardian should not accept zakaah if the orphan has sufficient wealth to make him independent of means.
As for charity, it is mustahabb to give it to orphans even if they are independent of means. End quote.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 18/307