Julia Glassford Regional Manager, Western Cape Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete, Gift of the Givers director, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Julia Glassford Regional Manager, Western Cape Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete, Gift of the Givers director, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Gift of the Givers hands over R10m renovated hospital ward in Mitchells Plain

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Aug 7, 2020

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Cape Town - Relief organisation Gift of the Givers (GOTG) officially handed over the R10 million dedicated Covid-19 ward at the Lentegeur Psychiatric and District Hospital in partnership with the Department of Health.

The month-long renovation commenced in June with the official plaque unveiling ceremony and renaming of the Carnation Ward, now, Freesia Ward, coinciding with the organisation’s 28th anniversary.

The 60-bed facility is equipped with appropriate Covid-19 treatment such as oxygen machines and other essential resources.

GOTG founder Imtiaz Sooliman said that the organisation was founded on a Thursday night in Istanbul, Turkey in 1992 and upon the instruction of a spiritual leader.

“He said ‘I’m not asking you, I’m instructing you to form an organisation, the name will be Gift of the Givers. You will serve all people of all races, religions, classes, cultures, of any geographical location and of any political affiliation. But you will serve them unconditionally, you will expect nothing in return, not even a thank you. This is an instruction for you for the rest of your life and remember that whatever you do, is done through you and not by you’,” said Sooliman.

“I never intended to form any organisation. He spoke in fluent Turkish. I don’t speak a word of Turkish, but I understood every single word that he said.”

The organisation has since been instrumental in its disaster relief support interventions with approximately R3.2billion spent in aid to millions of people across 44 countries.

As many as 180 hospitals and health centres across South Africa have benefited, of which was the R10m refurbishment of the entire wing at the hospital.

“The name of the ward is Freesia. It is a flower that grows anywhere and everywhere. It is very colourful and I think the name is very apt because I think of the community that worked for this day,” said Allied Health and Pharmacy manager Mohamed Sonday.

The project took an astounding four days to receive the go-ahead from the relevant departments.

“That’s an incredible achievement to do that in four days and you can see the co-operation, the willingness; no mistrust, no ego. Everybody just has faith and trust for the sake of the people,” said Sooliman.

“Let’s show the public-private partnership can work. We don’t have to buy a billion hospitals. We’ve got lots of old hospitals that are top quality. All we need to do is give some tender love. It’s about maintenance and management.”

Health Department head Keith Cloete added: “I think it’s quite important to recognise that facilities like these are needed.

“When we invest in facilities for Covid-19, it is not only for Covid-19 - it is for what will come after it.

“We will be able to care for patients way beyond Covid.”

Cape Argus

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