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Home » Karachi

Abdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistan’s ‘Father Teresa’ who ‘adopted’ 20,000 children

Karachi: Abdul Sattar Edhi was an award-winning philanthropist and humanitarian. Known in Pakistan as “Angel of Mercy” and “Pakistan’s Father Teresa” for his social work that also won international acclaim, Edhi established a welfare foundation almost six decades ago that he oversaw together with his wife, Bilquis Edhi, says a report of Cameron Macphail published in The Telegraph.

Edhi, was born on February 28th 1928 in a small village of Bantva near Joona Garh in the Gujarat district of then British-ruled India but moved to Karachi shortly after Pakistan was formed.

Edhi was deeply affected by the death of his mother when he was 19. He never finished school but later said that the world of suffering became his tutor.

He noticed that many Pakistanis lacked medicine, education, and other essentials, and he made it his life’s mission to help others. In 1951, he established the Edhi Foundation, which is funded solely by private donations.

By the time of his death on July 8th 2016, Edhi was registered as a parent or guardian of nearly 20,000 children.

It was announced that the State Bank of Pakistan would issue a commemorative coin of 50 rupee (38p) in memory of Edhi as a small token of appreciation for his selfless services for the country.

What is the Edhi Foundation?

The Edhi Foundation is currently the largest welfare organisation in Pakistan. Since its inception, it has rescued more than 20,000 abandoned babies, rehabilitated some 50,000 orphans and has trained more than 40,000 nurses.

It also runs the world’s largest ambulance service (operating 1,500 vehicles) and Edhi ambulances are welcomed as friendly neighbours throughout Pakistan.

In 2005 the Foundation donated $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

Despite the vast sums of money that passed through his foundation, Edhi lived modestly with his family in a two-room apartment adjacent to the headquarters of his foundation.

His work earned him numerous awards at home and abroad, including the Gandhi Peace Award, the 2007 Unesco Madanjeet Singh Prize, the 2011 London Peace Award, the 2008 Seoul Peace Award and the Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Service.

Known in public as Maulana Edhi – a respectful title for a religious scholar, usually an elderly person with a beard – he supported and promoted working opportunities for women. Out of the 2,000 paid workers of his Edhi Foundation, around 500 are women.

A Muslim by birth, Edhi said in 2009 that he had “never been a very religious person”. When asked why he helped people of all creeds, casts and religions he replied: “Because my ambulance is more Muslim than you.”

Google honours Edhi on his 89th birthday

Although there is some confusion over his actual birth date (Edhi himself was unsure and believed he was born between 1926 and 1928), Google has chosen to honour him with a doodle on February 28th.

The Google Doodle will appear in the UK and some other European countries, as well as Pakistan, the US, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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