Sunday, June 23, 2013

Abdul Sattar Edhi - A Living Saint.

Abdus Sattar Edhi

I am pretty sure will not be able to make people realize how much I am inspired by this personality. I am sure I won't have words to describe what a great human being he is, well I don't even need to as his work speaks for himself. What I do know for sure and can tell is that we as a nation are short of good people, sincere people who can be an inspiration and role model for us young generation, we need people like him to stay with us as long as possible, and I pray to Allah that PLEASE DON'T TAKE HIM AWAY FROM US, and that he has a long and healthy life ahead.

I have met Abdul Sattar Edhi just once. It was an interview we were conducting for a local urdu teen magazine. I couldn't really ask many questions; All I did was to sit beside him, listen to what he was saying, staring at him just to make myself realize what an important day it is for me...sheerly because of the fact that I was overwhelmed by his personality, I was sitting infront of a person who had such a strong will power, who actually did something for people and his country, who we all love and respect, who is one of the most inspiring personalities around the globe and who we all shall thank till the day Pakistan exists.

The start of Edhi Foundation.
Abdul Sattar Edhi began his philanthropic career in 1951, by purchasing a small shop, which he converted into his first free dispensary. He collected funds by standing on street corners and begging for money, which he later used to purchase his first ambulance. Armed with basic medical training, Mr. Edhi drove around the streets of Karachi administering free basic health care to anybody who needed it, and earned a reputation for being a selfless aid to the injured and unwell.

Abdus Sattar Edhi

This was just a start. Soon thereafter, Abdul Sattar Edhi founded the Edhi Trust and Foundation, with an initial sum of a mere five thousand rupees. Regarded as a guardian for the poor, Mr. Edhi began receiving numerous donations, which allowed him to expand his services; he opened a maternity center and a nursing school. As his funding increased, Mr. Edhi expanded his networks of clinics, opened adoptions centers, soup kitchens and shelters for children and battered women. To this day, the Edhi Foundation continues to grow in both size and service, and is currently the largest welfare organization in Pakistan. Since its inception, the Edhi Foundation has rescued over 20,000 abandoned infants, rehabilitated over 50,000 orphans and has trained over 40,000 nurses. It also runs over three hundred and thirty welfare centers in rural and urban Pakistan which operate as food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children and clinics for the mentally handicapped.

Why it all started? 
He was born in 1928, in the city of Bantva in what is now western India. Edhi's first interaction with human suffering occurred at the age of eleven, when his mother was physically paralyzed and later suffered from mental illness. Edhi spent his waking hours caring for her, and her worsening health and eventual death left a lasting impact on his life. In 1947, at the age of 19, Mr. Edhi's family was forced to flee their hometown and relocate to Karachi. Finding himself in a new city without any resources.

How things change.

How things change really if you are sincere in whatever you do, starting with begging on streets for an ambulance. Founded the organization with five thousand rupees, and today people trust him blindly with funds. I remember him telling that there was a person who gave away 20 million rupees and didn't want his name to be mentioned or any receipt because he trusted Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Biggest Ambulance Service in Asia.
Edhi Foundation runs the world's largest ambulance service and operates free nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, women's shelters, and rehab centers for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals.[9] It has run relief operations in Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus region, eastern Europe and US where it provided aid following the New Orleans hurricane of 2005.

Abdus Sattar Edhi

The Edhi Foundation is also the leading source of emergency medical assistance in Pakistan with the world's largest fleet of over eighteen hundred ambulances, twenty eight rescue boats and two airplanes. Additionally, they also run twenty-four hour medical dispensaries, a missing persons hot line and own the largest morgue in Pakistan.

The Edhi Foundation has also worked extensively in international relief, including donating to victims of Hurricane Katrina, cyclone relief in Bangladesh, aid to tsunami-impacted regions in 2003 and ambulance services in Afghanistan. The Edhi foundation has centers in the United States, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Yet, Edhi is a simple man.
Yet Edhi has remained a simple and humble man. To this day, he owns two pairs of clothes, has never taken a salary from his organization and lives in a small two bedroom apartment over his clinic in Karachi. Due to his unassuming nature and immense contribution to the well being of his fellow citizens, Mr. Edhi has become a folk hero for many Pakistanis.

Abdus Sattar Edhi

The people of Pakistan are indebted to him for his unwavering commitment to the social welfare of Pakistani's and share in his vision for a brighter future for our country. Mr. Edhi is a living testament to the innumerable good that can come out of one mans vision and dedication to achieving a better life for his fellow citizens.

Abdul Sattar Edhi was married in 1965 to Bilquis, a nurse who worked at the Edhi dispensary. The couple have four children, two daughters and two sons. Bilquis runs the free maternity home at the headquarter in Karachi and organizes the adoption of illegitimate and abandoned babies.

International Awards.

Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1986)
Lenin Peace Prize (1988)
Paul Harris Fellow from Rotatory International Foundation, (1993)
Peace Prize from (USSR former) for services in the American earthquake disaster, (1998)
Largest Voluntary Ambulance Organization of the World - Guinness Book of World Records (2000)
Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services (2000) UAE
International Balzan Prize (2000) for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood, Italy
Peace and Harmony Award (Delhi), 2001
Peace Award (Mumbai), 2004
Peace Award (Hyderabad Deccan), 2005
Wolf of Bhogio Peace Award (Italy), 2005
Gandhi Peace Award (Delhi),2007
UNESCO Madan jeet sing Peace Award (Paris),2007
Peace Award Seoul (South Korea), 2008
Honorary Doctorate degree from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006)
UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize (2009)
Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize (2010)
Peace Award (London), 2011

National Awards.
In November 2011, Edhi was recommended for a Nobel Peace prize by the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.

Abdus Sattar Edhi

Silver Jubilee Shield by College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan, (1962–1987)
The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sind, Pakistan, (1989)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz, civil decoration from Government of Pakistan (1989)
Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during eighties by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan, (1989)
Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992)
Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C)
Khidmat Award by Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences
Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society.


  1. I just recently read his biography by Tehmina Durrani and his story really made me cry and inspired me to do social work. He truly is a hero!

  2. May Allah Ta'alah keep grant him health and prosperity. Aameen.

    In a nutshell, one can't help but one wonder about ALL the wondrous work he has done. That too, selflessly. He sure is a HERO in the true essence of the word.