Gift of the Givers founder looks back on 27 years

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman during an interview about what he deems his calling on November 15, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Thapelo Morebudi

It started as a simple instruction from a spiritual leader and has grown into a global humanitarian organisation that has contributed R2.8 billion in aid to 43 countries.

This includes disaster intervention, the establishment of search-and-rescue, aquatic and medical teams, and 20 other categories of projects.Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman on Tuesday looked back on 27 years of humanitarian aid since founding the organisation on August 6, 1992.“It started in Istanbul in Turkey on August 6, 1992. It was a Thursday night at around 22:00,” Sooliman recalls clearly.

“It was after prayer that the Sufi spiritual master Muhammad Safer Efendi told me: ‘My son, I’m not asking you, I am instructing you to form an organisation, and the name will be Gift of the Givers, and you will serve all people of all races, of all colours and of all religions, of all classes and of all cultures; you will serve any person of any political affiliation, and in any geographical location, and you will serve them all unconditionally. You will not expect anything in return – not even a thank you.’”

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