‘Giver’ - a true humanitarian

2016-05-04 06:00
Imtiaz Sooliman gives an   inspirational speech at the 23rd Alan Paton Lecture. PHOTO: nicole john

Imtiaz Sooliman gives an inspirational speech at the 23rd Alan Paton Lecture. PHOTO: nicole john

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IMTIAZ Sooliman gave an inspirational speech at the recent 23rd Alan Paton Lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives have hosted numerous guest speakers over the years including, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

This year the theme was “Human Rights and Humanitarianism” and Sooliman provided insight into the work his organisation, Gift of the Giver (GoG), has done over the years.

GoG was established over 20 years ago and is the largest disaster response organisation on the African continent.

It has offered support to people in need across the globe to the tune of R1.4 billion in 41 countries.

Sooliman, a qualified medical doctor, explained that before he began his organisation in 1992 he was given a task by a spiritual leader in Turkey who told him to form an organisation that helps all people.

“He told me that I will serve all people, irrespective of race, religion, culture, creed or geographical location.”

So when he returned to South Africa he did exactly that. His organisation made history in numerous sectors and boasts 101 awards. However through all this Sooliman said his workers look at every individual with “love, kindness, compassion and mercy” regardless of where in the world they are from.

“We don’t see anything, but a human being. We all bleed the same blood. Problems come in when you start to think in boxes and put labels on groups of people,” he said.

GoG workers are dedicated to responding as quickly as possible to every corner of the world where there is a need.

Sooliman said the work they do is not done so that it can be reported about, and teams have often found themselves in places where no other disaster relief teams have been to before.

“We go where the need is greatest, not where the flock runs,” he said.

Sooliman explained that when he was given the task to start this organisation he was told the work will be done through him not by him.

“The spiritual leader told me that I am just the vessel to get the work done. I don’t do any of this work on my own.

“It’s through the help from South Africa and through the grace of God Almighty,” he said.


The work they do is not done so that it can be reported about, and teams have often found themselves in places where no other disaster relief teams have been to before.

‘We go where the need is
greatest, not where the flock runs’

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