Dr Imtiaz Sooliman was born in Potchefstroom, in South Africa’s North West Province, on 07 March 1962.
He attended Sastri College in Durban and matriculated in 1978, going on to study medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Medical School, qualifying as a medical doctor in 1984.
Dr Sooliman commenced private practice in Pietermaritzburg in 1986, but chose to close his flourishing practice in mid-1994, choosing instead to focus his attention on Gift of the Givers Foundation, which he had founded in early August 1992. His establishment of Gift of the Givers Foundation was the consequence of a message Dr Sooliman, then aged 30, received from Sufi Sheikh Muhammed Saffer Effendi al Jerrahi, his spiritual leader in Istanbul, Turkey, who called on him to serve all people of all races, of all religions, of all colours, of all classes, of all political affiliations and of any geographical location… a calling he honoured then and continues to honour today.
His endeavour in this regard has seen Gift of the Givers Foundation emerge as one of the most respected humanitarian organisations in the world and is today the largest disaster response agency of African origin anywhere on the continent.
Since 1992, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman has steered the organisation to many Notable Achievements and World Firsts, including:
- Implementing 21 different categories of projects;
- Delivering well in excess of R3,5 billion rand of aid;
- Coming to the assistance of millions of people in no fewer than 44 countries across the globe, inclusive of South Africa;
- Designing and developing, in 1993, the world’s first and only containerised mobile hospital of its kind, which was deployed in Bosnia and has been compared by CNN to any of the best hospitals in Europe;
- Designing the world’s first containerised primary health-care unit in 1994;
- Innovating the world’s first groundnut-soya high-energy and protein supplement, known as Sibusiso Ready Food Supplement, in 2004. The supplement has proved ideal for people suffering from such conditions of HIV/AIDS, TB, malnutrition, cancer and other debilitating disorders;
- Heading the first organisation in the history of South Africa to have received R60 million from Government for the design and successful roll-out of 204 000 food parcels;
- Alleviating problems associated with a ravaging drought in South Africa by drilling 400 boreholes in just 18 months, from 2018; and
- Rescuing 64-year-old Ena Zizi alive, after being trapped under rubble for eight days without food or water, little oxygen and a fractured hip, in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake of 2010. This was a world first for an African organisation involved in earthquake search and rescue outside Africa.
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