On January 1st, 1928, a child was born to Abdul Shakoor Edhi and Ghurba Edhi in Bantva, Gujrat in British India. That child would go on to be one of humanity’s greatest servicemen, Abdul Sattar Edhi.
‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ – Mahatma Gandhi.
Never has a single quote so eloquently described an individual. The child, as an eleven year old, felt his first major trauma when his mother was paralyzed and his second, when his mother passed at 19. This made Edhi realize the value of humanity.
After migrating to Pakistan, he started off as no more than a travel salesman. In spite of this, the vision he had for mankind’s welfare pursued him. He managed to amass a following that helped him in attaining enough resources to start a dispensary, a service that persists to this day, providing medical care to those who can’t afford it. It is also where he met his wife, Bilquis Edhi, who worked as a nurse in the Edhi dispensary; their common love for mankind brought them together into matrimony. He fathered four children with her, who continued to be an active part of The Edhi Foundation. A well-known story about them is the peculiar nature of their honeymoon. The newlyweds found a girl with head injuries and abandoned their leisure time to treat her, which speaks volumes about their belief in their cause.
The small time project evolved into one of the largest humanitarian projects in history, being the largest volunteer ambulance network in the world, with more than 1800 ambulances on hand, as well as air and water support.
In 2006, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Social Service Management and later in 2010; the University of Bedfordshire also awarded him with an honorary Doctorate. He and his wife pioneered the project ‘Jhoola’, which provided shelter for abandoned children. The Edhi Foundation also manages free nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, women’s shelters, food kitchens, and rehabilitation centers for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals all across the country.
Written by Zohaib Hussain