Pakistan's celebrated humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away
Prominent Pakistani philanthropist, social activist, humanitarian and ascetic Abdul Sattar Edhi who dedicated his life to humanity and social services passed away after a long battle with kidney disease. He was 88.
He was the founder and head of the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan and ran the organization for the better part of six decades with his wife, Bilquis Edhi. He was known as Angel of Mercy and was considered Pakistan's "most respected" and legendary figure.
Edhi dedicated his entire life for the service of poors. He masterminded Edhi Foundation - Pakistan’s largest welfare organisation almost single-handedly, entirely with private company and donations. He was also known as the “Father Teresa” of Pakistan.
Despite the vast sums of money that passed through his charitable foundation, Edhi lived modestly with his family in a two-room apartment near the headquarters of his foundation. Edhi donated his eyes and asked his family to bury him in the clothes he wore at the time of his death.
Facts about Abdul Sattar Edhi :
Edhi was born in 1928 in Bantva in the Gujarat, British India to a family of memon traders. During partition he had migrated to Karachi, Pakistan. n 1951, he started his welfare mission by opening his first home for homeless and sick in the Kharadar area.
When he was just eleven, his mother became paralysed from a stroke and she died when Edhi was 19 so it was his personal experiences and care for his mother during her illness that caused him to develop a system of services for old, mentally ill and challenged people.
- Autobiography: “Abdul Sattar Edhi, an autobiography: A mirror to the blind”.
- Awards and Honours: Nishan-e Imtiaz (Pakistan’s highest civilian honour), Pakistan Civil Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, International Balzan Prize, UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize (2007), Gandhi Peace Award (2007) and London Peace (2011) Award.
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.
The foundation owns and runs Pakistan's largest ambulance service (operating 1,500 ambulance and offering 24-hour emergency services), nursing homes, orphanages, clinics and women's shelters, along with rehabilitation centres and soup kitchens.
It also runs more than 330 welfare centres in rural and urban Pakistan which operate as food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children and clinics for the mentally handicapped.
Geeta and the love of Edhi Foundation :
Geeta (hearing and speech impaired girl) when she was just 7 or 8 years old, she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. She was adopted by the Edhi Foundation’s Bilquees Edhi and lived with her in Karachi.
After learning that Geeta was an Indian citizen, Edhi left no stone unturned to locate Geeta’s family in India. Finally Geeta returned India last year around October, she is is yet to find her real parents.