Gift of the Givers Foundation came into being on August 6, 1992. It commenced as a disaster response NGO. The first project being a response to the war in Bosnia, previously part of ex-Yugoslavia. Our involvement in supplying relief aid was over a three year period from August 1992 to July 1995.
In August 1992, we supplied 31 containers (620 tons) of food aid and in November 1992 we supplied eight containers (160 tons) of blankets, warm clothes and sleeping bags. All these items were shipped from South Africa to Turkey, then to Croatia and into Bosnia. We worked closely with the Bosnian Government to facilitate the distribution of all our relief supplies.
In 1993 we designed, developed and deployed the world's first containerised mobile hospital in Mostar, Bosnia. This hospital was a unique feat of South African engineering and to date, the only one of its kind in the world. A CNN journalist equated the South African container hospital in Bosnia to any of the best hospitals in Europe. This was in 1993. This was the prototype, our flagship project and a huge achievement for an organisation that was only founded seven months previously. The hospital received international acclaim and international recognition.
The containerised South African mobile hospital was transported from Durban, South Africa, to the port of Trieste, Italy, on the South African naval vessel, SAS Outeniqua. This cost was carried by the South African Government. From Trieste, the hospital was sent to the port of Ploce, Croatia, by ship. This expense was carried by the Gift of the Givers Foundation.
Thousands of lives were saved, thousands were operated on and treated, and hundreds of new babies were born here. This was a 28-container, state of the art mobile hospital with its own generator, own ambulance and own patient bus. The containers were stand alone units comprising of the following facilities: two theatres, an intensive care unit, an x-ray unit, a burns unit, a physiotherapy unit, a casualty unit, orthopaedic wards, an outpatient unit, a dental unit, sterilisation unit, incubator unit, etc. In the x-ray unit a special lead wall was built to prevent radiation penetration to the outside and exposure to unsuspecting patients. A dark room was also built in this unit to develop x-ray films on site instantaneously.
In 1995, additional aid was provided to families of the victims of the Srebrenica massacres.