Gift of The Givers
We were blown away by the humility of this determined dynamo who gets things done.
Most of us, if called to form a humanitarian organisation, would probably start with food parcels on a local street corner or some medical supplies for a rural clinic.
Dr Sooliman’s first mission after receiving the call to this work was into war-torn Bosnia in 1992, supplying 620 tons of food aid and 160 tons of blankets, warm clothes and sleeping bags.
The following year they designed and constructed a made-in South-Africa, first-in-the-world, containerised mobile hospital which they delivered to Mostar, Bosnia, along with 200 tons of medical supplies. The hospital was a unique feat of South African engineering, which received international acclaim.
The signs of faith
Dr Sooliman’s faith is deep, strong and a driving force in his life and work. But, unlike so many religious leaders today, his faith is inclusive and welcoming of those who think and believe differently. He said that if a person claims to follow God (whatever faith he belongs to) and advocates exclusion, violence, pride, etc, then do not follow him. But if his actions demonstrate love, compassion, humility and kindness, then follow him. Dr Sooliman is such a man.
A passion for people
Dr Soliman is proudly South African and celebrates what South Africa and South Africans are capable of. His ability to organise and mobilise others is formidable. His integrity is unquestioned. His passion is directed towards people rather than projects. He is not out to fix the world’s problems but to respond to the world’s needs. His stories of big projects are laced with tales of individuals whose lives have affected his and to whom his organisation’s work is directed. We are privileged to have him in our midst.
Better human beings
My takeaway challenge was not to emulate Dr Sooliman’s work. That is a calling for a few. The challenge, I think for all of us, is whether we can become better human beings in a world that so desperately needs the values by which Dr Soliman and GOTG live.