Dr Imtiaz Sooliman took time off from his role as founder and director of the Gift of Givers Foundation to support and celebrate his wife and co-founder of the foundation, Zorah Bibi Sooliman who was graduating.
She graduated with a master’s degree in counselling psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on Monday.
For her thesis, Sooliman examined the lived experiences of Muslim women in a polygamous marriage in Durban and surrounding areas.
“I’m proud of her achievement,” said Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
Throughout her life, Sooliman has been an advocate for women’s empowerment, independence and education. She continuously encourages women to pursue their passions, “We must use our abilities and skills to contribute to the communities we come from and make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.
Passionate about helping others, Sooliman established a counselling service – the Gift of the Givers Careline for women in polygamous marriages who are “distraught and broken” by the actions of their husbands.
She is also gathering the experiences of women who are struggling and intends to share this knowledge with the community, “particularly men and religious leaders so that they understand – to provide education to them and the community.”
The careline has grown immensely and now extends to the public free of charge through telephone and face-to-face counselling.
Sooliman has been at the forefront of the foundation since its inception in 1992. Very early in their marriage, she raised her four daughters and only son while her husband flew off to war zones delivering aid to those who needed it the most. She remains the anchor of the family and is still quite active in the foundation.
She advised other scholars to work hard, be disciplined, determined and keep focused on the end goal.
She expressed gratitude to her supporters, “The road has been long, but I finally got here with the help of my children, my husband, friends, family, colleagues and most of all, God.”