SA relief agency honoured

International advisory firm Henley & Partners honoured Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of disaster relief agency Gift of the Givers Foundation, with the prestigious Global Citizen Award in London on Friday for demonstrating extraordinary courage and commitment through his humanitarian work.

Sooliman was accorded particular praise for his contribution towards improving the global community and “his tireless efforts to develop Gift of the Givers Foundation into Africa’s largest disaster relief organisation”, the award organisers said.

Dr Christian Kälin, group chairperson of Henley & Partners, said Sooliman’s foundation had had a significant effect on the lives of the global community’s most vulnerable.

The foundation boasts a team of 200 medics and volunteers providing medical assistance, equipment and supplies, which include high-energy and protein supplements, as well as food and water, which are distributed to millions of people each year.

In their citation, the award organisers said the foundation was being acknowledged for raising millions in funding to carry out life-saving assistance in 42 countries around the world, including war-ravaged states such as Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Bosnia.

Sooliman thanked Henley & Partners, saying the accolade was an acknowledgment of the work being done by African nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) internationally.

“Being honoured like this means we have the global stamp of approval, which helps to build faith and confidence in others to support African NGOs and our work in the future.”

The award consists of a specially designed commemorative medal, an award certificate and a $50 000 (R719 238) cash prize, of which $25 000 is donated to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The other $25 000 is given to a charity of the recipient’s choice.

Gift of the Givers was also acknowledged for “its design and development of the world’s first and only containerised hospital – comprising 28 units – and for producing the world’s first peanut-soya high energy and protein supplement, used in the treatment of severe malnutrition, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating conditions,” the citation read. 

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