The Preparedness for Humanitarian Disasters Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, brought together the Centre for Global Surgery at Stellenbosch University and the Gift of the Givers Foundation. Over two days, participants delved into the experiences and insights of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, which has provided humanitarian assistance to over 45 countries for more than 30 years. Discussions revolved around the challenges faced in conflict zones, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic, covering topics such as medical care adaptation, logistical complexities, and the mental well-being of volunteers. Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, emphasized the organization’s commitment to selfless service and praised the dedicated team and volunteers who contribute to their humanitarian efforts.

The conference also highlighted the unique position of South Africans as agents of positive change in global crises. Contrary to the perception of Africa as a needy continent, South Africans displayed resilience, generosity, and a spirit of Ubuntu, fostering a community-driven approach to support one another. The event concluded with a gala dinner, fostering networking and partnership opportunities. The conference left attendees motivated and inspired to enhance collaboration and make a greater impact through research and compassionate care, embodying the spirit of service to humanity.

Ruan Cannon who is a lecturer and our 2nd year Disaster Management students attended the conference as part of our Real World Learning engagement for students.  Stenden South Africa strives to keep abreast of industry and current global developments.