A Living Legend: Abdul Sattar Edhi

A man worthy of a Noble Peace Prize and maybe more!

By Almas Akhtar, TMO

220px-Abdul_Sattar_Edhi“Edhi” is a household name in Pakistan, a name which is a source of comfort and trust for the poor  people of Pakistan. Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi is a world renowned social worker from Pakistan who has been helping the sick, poor, mentally unstable, orphans, drug addicts of Pakistan for the last 60 years. Edhi is not a human being, he is more than that–maybe an angel living on our earth. He is a simple man who owns few clothes, lives in a small three bedroom house in the old Mithadar neighborhood of Karachi; but he, his wife, and his children, and thousands of volunteers run the Edhi Foundation. They have one goal “live and help live.” This foundation was the dream of a humble man who wanted to help humanity. He started the non profit Edhi Foundation with Rs 5,000 ($60) and an old van as an ambulance in 1951.

Today there are over 300 Edhi Centers within the country and offices in almost 25 countries around the world. The Edhi Foundation has saved 20,000 abandoned babies uptil now and 50,000 orphans have been housed in Edhi Homes. Almost a little over 1 million babies have been delivered in Edhi Maternity Centres. Maulana Edhi does not take a single penny from the government. It is believed that the people of Pakistan trust him more than the government and donate thousands of rupees to his foundation. A couple donated their two villas in Clifton, Karachi to the Edhi Foundation, which has been transformed into a girls’ school and women’s shelter. A few Pakistanis in England donated four buildings in United Kingdom worth 1.4 million pounds. These buildings have been converted into Edhi Foundation’s UK offices and shelter houses.

The Edhi Foundation has the world’s largest free ambulance service according to the Guiness Book of Records. Edhi is helped by his wife Bilquis Edhi in running the maternity homes, orphanages and adoption centers. A cradle is placed outside all Edhi Centers for unwanted babies, the Missing Person Service posts bulletins for missing people on radio, TV and the internet. The Animal Centre takes care of unwanted and ailing pets. Public kitchens all over the country feed the hungry.Edhi himself bathes unclaimed bodies for burial.The Edhi Morgue in Mithadar is the largest morgue in the country. “Apna Ghar” is the house for drug addicts where they are provided medical and psychological help.

Maulana Edhi has recieved the Lenin Peace Prize, the Bazlan Prize and UNESCO’s Madanjeet Singh Prize for Humanity. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani officially sent a nomination to Nobel Committee in November 2011 to award the “2012 Noble Peace Prize” to Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi. He has recieved the Nishan e Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan in 1989. He will continue to work for the sick and needy weather he gets the Noble Peace Prize or not, but it would be a worldwide recognition of the Edhi Foundation and it’s programs. The Nobel would be  a tribute to a living saint of our times ….Abdul Sattar Edhi. “It is the Humanitarian Revolution we need, let’s spread the word,” said Mr. Edhi.


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