UKZN Medical class of ’89 raises R130 000 for communities affected by recent violence
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By MaryAnn Francis
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) medical class of 1989 - comprising key leaders in the medical community at provincial, national and global levels as well as those in academia and the private sector - fundraised R130 000 within a week to assist communities affected by the recent violence and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The donation was handed over to Gift of the Givers (GOTG). One of the largest disaster response, humanitarian organisations in Africa, GOTG is renowned for providing critical assistance and relief in war-torn or disaster-stricken communities around the world.
Professor Ncoza Dlova, Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine, thanked her class for rising to the challenge so swiftly. “What an amazing sense of togetherness and family care you have displayed. Positivity is rising from the dust and debris seen over the last few days. This is true resilience of the human spirit.”
Professor Mergan Naidoo, Academic Leader for Teaching and Learning in the School of Nursing and Public Health, said: “In response to the KZN crises, the class felt that they should support a worthy cause. Many of us had interacted with Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and GOTG previously, so we knew the organisation would immediately assist as they always do when the impact of violence is being felt in communities.”
Professor Mahendra Daya, a senior consultant and a reconstructive plastic surgeon at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central hospital, challenged everyone in the class to contribute and set a target of R100 000. Classmates from around the world deposited funds into the account of the GOTG, and within three days more than R130 000 had been deposited,” said Naidoo.
Many classmates have a long history of assisting their local communities, including Dr Keith Shongwe, CEO of HealthCover Pty Ltd, who chairs a charitable trust in Pretoria called Emseni Trust. Delighted with the class venture, Shongwe commented: “This is a wonderful initiative. GOTG has an excellent record of good governance and providing immediate support to communities in need. It was our pleasure as a class to donate.”
Shongwe and his team at Emseni Trust have raised more than R12 million over the last two years for poor communities and various organisations.
GOTG head, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman thanked his alma mater. “Thank you for the generous gift to our organisation. I want to mention that although each of you qualified from the medical school five years after I did, you’ve made huge strides in academic achievement. May all of you be blessed and guided in leading our health profession. This is a true example of what professionals can do in the interests of the health and welfare of our communities.”
The class of ’89 challenges all other UKZN Medical School classes to either meet or better their donation to Gift of the Givers.
Funds can be deposited into the following GOTG account:
Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg branch, account number: 052137228, Branch Code: 057525, Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ