Imtiaz Sooliman, a medical doctor practising in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, visited a Shaikh in Istanbul in 1992. The Sufi teacher gave him a message that would dramatically change the lives of countless people.
‘To my absolute astonishment he told me I would help people for the rest of my life. He then instructed me to form a humanitarian organisation called the “Gift of the Givers”, and repeated the phrase “the best among people are those who benefit mankind”.’
Almost 30 years later Gift of the Givers, Africa’s largest humanitarian and disaster agency, has a reputation for speedy responses to floods, war, famine, fires, tsunamis, kidnapping and earthquakes. Well known for their interventions in South African and international disasters, teams of volunteers have undertaken missions to places such as Bosnia, Palestine, Japan, Haiti, Indonesia, Malawi and Mozambique. In the last few years they have turned their attention to the poorest South Africans – they have put up hospitals, run clinics, dug wells, drilled boreholes, built houses, offered scholarships and provided shelter, food and psychological succour to millions.
Originally published in 2014, the book has been brought up to date to continue the extraordinary tale of an organisation that has become a South African legend – the first to intervene in so many devastating situations and bring hope to those who have lost everything. Gift of the Givers’ reputation for direct, honest and non-partisan solution-finding has become a beacon of hope in South Africa.