Abdul Sattar Edhi is recognized as one the greatest philanthropists of the millennium. Mr Edhi was born on 28 July 1928 in Bantva, Gujrat before partition. He didn’t come from a wealthy background but a considerate one. As written in his biography he would receive one paisa for his meals and another for charity. Edhi devoted his years of teenage and carefree days in taking care of his mother who was struck by a stroke and became paralyzed. She passed away in 1947 when Edhi was only nineteen years old.
His personal experience of his mother’s deteriorating physical and mental state brought him closer to the sentiments of people going through the same which later led him to establish a caretaking system for the old, mentally and physically ill. He migrated to Pakistan and started working as a peddler. Later, he became a commission agent selling cloth. After a few years, he established a free dispensary with the help of his community.
Contribution To The Community
Abdul Sattar Edhi is the founder of the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network. This fleet includes 1800 ambulances, 28 boats and 2 aeroplanes. In 1997 the foundation made it to the Guinness book of world records as the ‘largest volunteer network.’ In his words, he describes that he literally ‘begged’ people for donations and they gave. He bought his first ambulance and drove it around himself to help anyone. He set up his Edhi foundation with just $500. Today the foundation outpatient hospitals, adoption centres and offers burial for the unidentified bodies.
He initially started his humanitarian work in Karachi and built various centres offering various services. He actively worked for women and placed a cradle in front of each centre to reduce female infanticide. Abdul Sattar Edhi is the saviour of 50,000 plus children who were either abandoned or orphans. By the law of Pakistan, a father’s name is necessary for paperwork. Edhi gave his name to hundreds and thousands of people and ‘fathered’ them. He also fought for the rights of orphans and won a case to give orphans the right to having identity cards. He established over 300 welfare centres across the country over the years. Edhi also began a 24- hour working medical dispensary for people in need.
- Founder of the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network.
- The foundation outpatient hospitals, adoption centers and offers burial for the unidentified bodies
- He actively worked for women and placed a cradle in front of each center to reduce female infanticide.
- He is the saviour of 50,000 plus children who were either abandoned or orphans
- Gave his name to hundreds and thousands of people and ‘fathered’ them
- Won a case to give orphans the right to having identity cards
- He established over 300 welfare centers across the country over the years
- 24- hour working medical dispensary for people in need.
- A hotline for the missing people and shelters for women and elderly.
- His work was not only limited to Muslims but also to non
Abdul Sattar Edhi was also known as the Richest Poor Man on Earth
His extraordinary works also include a hotline for the missing people and shelters for women and elderly. The largest morgue in Pakistan was also set up by Mr Edhi. Apart from his busy schedule Mr.Edhi spent times with the orphans at the ‘Edhi Homes’. And was popularly referred to as ‘nana’ (grandfather). His work was not only limited to Muslims but also to non-Muslims. When asked ‘why do you help the non-Muslims’ he would reply ‘because my ambulance is more Muslim than you’. In another interview, Abdul Sattar Edhi claimed that he has driven no car other than an ambulance. He was also named as the angel of mercy for his selfless services for mankind.
- Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1986)
- Lenin Peace Prize (1988)
- Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International (1993)
- Peace Prize from the former USSR, for services during the Armenian earthquake disaster (1988)
- Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services (2000), UAE
- International Balzan Prize (2000) for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood, Italy
- Peace and Harmony Award (2001), Delhi
- Peace Award (2004), Mumbai
- Peace Award (2005), Hyderabad Deccan
- Gandhi Peace Award (2007), Delhi
- Seoul Peace Prize (2008), Seoul
- Honorary doctorate from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006).
- UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize (2009)
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize (2010)
- Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bedfordshire (2010)
- London Peace Award (2011), London
- Silver Jubilee Shield by College of Physicians and Surgeons (1962–1987)
- Moiz ur Rehman Award (2015)
- The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sindh (1989)
- Nishan-e-Imtiaz, civil decoration from the Government of Pakistan (1989)
- Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during the 1980s by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan (1989)
- Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992)
- Jinnah Award for Outstanding Services to Pakistan was conferred in April 1998 by The Jinnah Society. This was the first Jinnah Award conferred on any person in Pakistan.
- Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C)
- Khidmat Award by the Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences
- Bacha Khan Aman (Peace) Award in 1991
- Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society
- 2013 Person of the Year by the readers of The Express Tribune
In the honor of his 89th birthday, google changed its logo to a doodle of Mr Edhi. It also hailed Edhi’s ‘super-efficient’ ambulance saying “In celebration of Abdul Sattar Edhi, let’s all lend a hand to someone in need today”. He was loved across the globe, people were disheartened to not see Mr Edhi receive a noble prize for his countless services for the community. In 2014 nominations a hashtag #NoblePrizeforEdhi was created to which he replied in an interview with the express tribune newspaper
“I don’t care about it. The Nobel Prize doesn’t mean anything to me. I want these people, I want humanity.”Abdul Sattar Edhi
The Edhi foundation’s logo says “live and helps live”. Mr Edhi practiced what he preached and was an inspiration for many. Apart from his huge fame and fan following he led a simple life and had only one goal: Help the community.
Mr Edhi died on 8th July 2016 after a prolonged illness. He was offered a medical treatment abroad by the Pakistani government but instead, he chose to be treated in a government hospital in Karachi. Then-Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif declared a day of mourning following his death and announced a state funeral for him. The Pakistani nation was hit with sadness bearing such unfortunate news. Some describe themselves to be orphaned hearing the news of his death. He was also given a guard of honour and 19 guns salute. After his death, his son followed into his footsteps to keep the message of his father alive.