Humanitarian and founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, has been awarded the prestigious Global Citizen Award by the international citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners. The award ceremony took place in London on Friday, 11 November 2016, and marked the closing of the 10th annual Global Residence and Citizenship Conference at the iconic Savoy Hotel.
Since the Foundation’s beginnings in August 1992, Dr. Sooliman has grown the Gift of the Givers into Africa’s largest disaster relief organization — raising more than ZAR 2 billion (USD 150 million) in live-saving aid for 42 countries around the world including war-ravaged states such as Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Bosnia. His team of 200 provide medical assistance, equipment and supplies, as well as high energy and protein supplements, food and water to millions of people each year. During the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the organization sent four rescue teams and aid materials to the country. At one point in 2011, they were the only international aid group providing food parcels to Somalia, airlifting 180 tons and shipping 2000 tons of aid.
Even more remarkable is the organization’s cutting edge innovation and invention. The Gift of the Givers designed and developed the world’s first and only containerized hospital comprising 28 units as well as the world's first groundnut-soya high energy and protein supplement which is used in the treatment of severe malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, TB, cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating conditions. The foundation also established Africa's largest open source computer lab. In Syria, which is the main focus of the foundation’s relief efforts at the moment, they have established two hospitals and are running a program to upgrade and transfer their skills to doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says the Global Citizen Award is given each year to an inspirational individual who has made an extraordinary contribution towards improving the global community. “Dr. Sooliman is certainly a worthy recipient of the award as his work is innovative and visionary. He has demonstrated extraordinary courage and commitment, and the work of his foundation has had a significant impact on the lives of the most vulnerable in our global community.”
The Global Citizen Award consists of a specially made commemorative medal, an award certificate signed by the president of the independent Award Committee and a USD 50,000 monetary prize, of which USD 25,000 is donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and USD 25,000 is given to a charity of the Award Laurette’s choice.
Upon receiving the award, Dr. Sooliman thanked Henley & Partners, saying the accolade was an important acknowledgement of the significant work being done by African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) internationally. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the continent and all that we can do. Being honored with a prestigious award like this means we have the global stamp of approval which helps build faith and confidence in others to support African NGOs in the future,” he said.