The hand that keeps on giving: Abdul Sattar Edhi

 By: Salman Junejo  Date:
The hand that keeps on giving: Abdul Sattar Edhi
At the frail age of 85, while most men of that age and disposition are either bed ridden or enjoying retirement in relative peace and calm. Abdul Sattar Edhi defies odds, he refuses to say no and quit the welfare work which he is known to be synonymous for so many years. Some people call him a philanthropist, while other call him a social worker but most importantly he’s a humanitarian through and through. He serves the down trodden masses without any discrimination, without any linguistic, tribal, ethnic or religious bias and favoritism.

Edhi came from humble beginnings, born in the city of Bantva which is now Gujrat. Edhi was no stranger to human suffering as he encountered it first hand when his mother suffered from mental illness and physical paralysis. In 1947, he decided to relocate to Pakistan, Karachi, finding himself without any resources or a roof on his head in a new city, he started his journey to dedicate his life wholly towards the rehabilitation and welfare of the common people who lives in abject poverty. It is astounding what he has achieved in a time of few decades (60 years). He single handedly via his Edhi foundation transformed the face of modern welfare in Pakistan.

Ever since its inception Edhi Foundation, headed by Abdul Sattar Edhi, his wife Bilquees Edhi and their sons are running the largest welfare organization in Pakistan, if not in the larger South Asian Sub-Continent.

The numbers, the mere facts and figures are of immense source of happiness for any Pakistani and to make them soar with pride to know that Edhi Foundation has rescued over 20,000 abandoned infants, rehabilitated over 50,000 orphans and has trained well over 40,000 nurses. Not only that, Edhi Foundation also has the distinction of raising one of the largest fleet of ambulances that is owned by a private welfare organization in the world.

But at its core, Edhi is a guardian angel of the poor and of those that don’t have anyone to look after them. Such is the character, honesty and the integrity of the man that people from all walks of life, handsomely and regularly donates to his charity organization without the fear or worry that their donation would go in vain and not to the right deserving people.

Edhi's selfless dedication and service to Pakistan’s poor come from a belief which is deeply embodied in his Muslim faith but his motto in charity is not just for people from the Muslim faith. Edhi says “No religion is greater than humanity”.

Today, countless Karchi'ites and Pakistanis credit Edhi for their survival and yet the man’s character remains firmly grounded and humbled. Even though he has been recommended by the Nobel Peace Prize, he vows to keep his mission of serving; Quote “…God’s children without any personal self interest or discrimination.” End quote.

Yet today, it is sad to know that Mr. Edhi struggles for his life, finally his old age has caught up with him yet his determination remains ever so strong in servicing Pakistan’s people. It is without a shadow of doubt that people like Edhi don’t come so often and every so often, when they do, they change things, they change the status quo. It doesn't matter if you agree with them or not, you can’t help but to stop and take note of their accomplishments. Edhi for sure is without any doubt, is a hand that keeps on giving! and as Pakistanis we are proud of him and thankful at the same time.

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