Dr Imtiaz Sooliman was born in Potchefstroom and qualified as a medical doctor at the then University of Natal Medical School in 1984. Sooliman gave up his career as a medical doctor to pursue the field of humanitarian aid, which for him transcends the boundaries of race, religion, culture, class and geography.
In 1992, he founded the Gift of the Givers Foundation. Since then, the charitable and relief organisation has undertaken relief work in more than 44 countries after natural disasters such as earthquakes as well as assisting people in war-torn countries. Besides the Middle East, Eastern Europe and many countries in Africa, ‘Gift Of The Givers’ teams have also assisted during natural disasters in India and Pakistan.
Relying almost entirely on donations and the obligatory ‘zakat’ tax paid by Muslims, ‘Gift Of The Givers’ has provided almost 4 billion rand worth of aid to drought-stricken areas, ranging from mobile hospitals, food hampers, and digging boreholes. The organisation is impartial and apolitical, and aims to serve with compassion, kindness and mercy and is the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent.
Dr Sooliman won the prestigious South African of the Year Award run by the Daily Maverick newspaper in 2021.