100 World Class South Africans: Imtiaz Sooliman

2013-07-10 12:02

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Humanitarian superhero

They set up a hospital in war-torn Syria and dispatched rescuers after Haiti’s earthquake.

In 2011, they were the only organisation giving food aid in Mogadishu, Somalia.

They rescued Mozambican flood victims, rebuilt houses after Khayelitsha’s New Year fires, distributed aid packages to the families of Marikana miners.

‘We help people unconditionally, regardless of culture, class, colour, religion, politics or geography,’ says Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

GOTG, the largest disaster relief organisation in Africa, mobilises its volunteer teams immediately disaster strikes.

Within an hour, a network of specialists – search and rescue teams, medical and trauma personnel – is at the ready.

Missions are headed by Sooliman himself, a GP who left his private practice in Pietermaritzburg in 1994.

This, after his Turkish Sufi master instructed him to start humanitarian work. ‘All over the world, our doctors and engineers are praised not only because they are highly skilled but because they show such heart, passion and commitment.

Victims are amazed how our teams touch them, hug them and show them so much compassion.’

Gift of the Givers is now involved in over 21 categories of aid – including feeding schemes, water purification, bursaries, self-help farming schemes and HIV/Aids counselling.

The organisation has Africa’s only ‘life locator’ to detect people alive under rubble, and designed the world’s first and largest mobile hospital (deployed in Bosnia).

They’ve also created primary healthcare clinics in containers all over South Africa.

Sooliman says he does it ‘because I’d like to think that someone else would do it for me.’

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