Abdul Sattar Edhi, the 86-year-old living legend, lives in the austerity that has been his hallmark all his life.
He was born in 1928, in the city of Bantva in what is now western India. Mr. Edhi’s first interaction with human suffering occurred at the age of 11, when his mother was physically paralyzed and later suffered from mental illness. Mr. 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. This was the moment Mr Edhi, finding himself penniless on the streets of Karachi, set out on his life’s mission.
He volunteered to join a charity run by the Memons (the religious community to which his family belonged). There he was appalled and angered to discover that the charity’s compassion was confined to Memons. He confronted his employers, telling them that “humanitarian work loses its significance when you discriminate between the needy”.
He began his organization 66 years back in 1948. He set up a small medical centre of his own, sleeping on the cement bench outside his shop so that even those who came late at night could be served. He stood on a street corner in Karachi and begged for money for an ambulance, raising enough to buy a battered old van. In it, he set out on countless life-saving missions by shifting injured people to hospitals. And has since then developed a service which attracts funds of $5 million per year, with no government assistance.
Today, his radio-linked network includes 500 ambulances throughout Pakistan, and he has also set up 300 relief centers, 3 Air ambulances (Helicopters), 24 hospitals, 3 drug rehabilitation centres, women’s centres, free dispensaries, baby cradles, free drug and blood banks, maternity clinics, adoption programmes, graveyard services and soup kitchens that feed 100,000 people a month. he has also paid for and supervised the training of 17,000 nurses. (ALL FREE OF COST)
Yet Mr. 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.
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 the country.
Edhi Organization – The Largest Welfare Organization in Pakistan