Abdul Sattar Edhi, referred as 'Baba (Father) Edhi, A 'Richest poor man', and the 'Angel of mercy' was a Pakistani humanitarian, philanthropist, a saint who founded the Edhi Foundation, which runs the world's largest volunteer ambulance network, free Educational services, orphanges, homeless shelters, animal shelters, rehabilitation centres, hospitals, free kitchens (Langar Khana), mourge services, across Pakistan.
Edhi was born on February 28, 1928 in, Gujrat, undivided India. When Edhi was just 11, his mother became paralysed. Young Edhi devoted himself for looking after all her needs. Her persistent woeful condition left a lasting impression on young Edhi. His studies were also seriously affected and he could not complete his high school level. For him the world of suffering became his tutor and source of wisdom. He devoted his life for humanity.
Formation of Edhi Foundation
Edhi, after formation of Pakistan in 1947, moved to Karachi, where he established a free dispensary for the poor in 1948. He established an orphange in 1949. Edhi's charitable activities expanded in 1957 when an Asian flu epidemic swept through Pakistan and the rest of the world.
Edhi worked 67 years of his life for suffering humanity. He was referred as 'angel of mercy' and 'Mother Teressa' of Pakistan. Edhi was registered as a parent or guardian of more than 20,000 adopted children of whom he was also a caretaker. In 2013, The Huffington Post claimed that he might be "the world's greatest living humanitarian"
Edhi Foundation, one of the Largest international humanitarian network
Edhi Foundation is the largest humanitarian foundation in Pakistan and one of the best social welfare service providers across the world running on non-commercial, non-political, and non-communal basis, serving round-the-clock without any discrimination of color, class, and creed.
Today Edhi foundation runs many charity services like;
- AMBULANCE SERVICE: Edhi runs worlds largest fleet of volunteer ambulance service. It also holds the record of holding largest ambulance service of the world. it also provide services of Air Ambulance, Marine Ambulance and mortuary as well.
- Free Hospital: Edhi foundation runs a free hospital service including;
- OPD, lab services, consultancy clinic,Pre-diabetic center,nursing training center,immunization center,patient utility center
- Edhi Homes & Orphange Centers: Edhi runs the largest network across Pakistan, of shelter homes for homeless and orphanages. It has 18 Edhi homes and Orphanages across Pakistan. That is accomodating 8,500 orphans, and homeless ladies and gents.
- Edhi Children Services: Edhi child adoption centre and child care services dates back to 1949. For this purpose, exclusive cradles have been placed outside all Edhi Centres, across the country with a view to keep the abandoned and illegitimate babies in these cradles. Edhi Foundation is giving over 250 babies or children for adoption annually. Till date, over 23,320 babies and children have been provided to the childless couples and families.
Extra Ordinary Humanitarian services
- There is an unending list of Edhi Founation services, just providing a checklist of all other services to avoid it becoming bulky.
- Charitable Shop
- Educational Services
- Langer Service (Free Kitchen)
- Edhi Animal Hostel
- Missing Persons Service
- Marriage Bureau Service
- Refugees Assistance
- Edhi Rikshaw “Rozgar” Scheme
- Rehabilitation Center
- Welfare Centers
- In-House Bakery
- Rooti Plant
- Edhi Mourge
In 1965, Edhi married Bilquis, a nurse who worked at Edhi Trust dispensary. Together They had four children, two daughters and two sons. Bilquis later becoame Bilquis Edhi,also started helping Edhi in his charity work. She also devoted her life to Edhi Foundation and successfully carrying his legacy after his death in 2016. Edhi was the simplest man ever lived, who always wore very simple khaddar and 'hawai chappal' all his life. stayed all his life in a very small two room apartment.
After spending whole life in serving the suffering humanity, This 'Angel of Mercy', The Saint and The 'Richest poor man', 'BABA Edhi' left this temporary world for his eternal abode on 08th of July, 2016. As of 2020, total Annual charitable spending of Edhi Foundation is approximatelt PKR 2.5 Billion (USD14.5 million)
Honors and Awards
Edhi was a person above all the Awards and accolades. He never wished to be praised or awarded. He never felt excited to be awarded or praised. But the whole world kept him chasing and praising. London Peace Award (2011), London, Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bedfordshire (2010), UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize (2009), Honorary doctorate from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006). Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1986), Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services (2000), UAE, 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), Peace Award (2004), Mumbai, International Balzan Prize (2000) for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood, Italy, Peace and Harmony Award (2001), Delhi, Seoul Peace Prize (2008), Seoul, Peace Award (2005), Hyderabad Deccan, Gandhi Peace Award (2007), Delhi, Honorary doctorate from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006).
It is an un-ending list. I have included just a few;
Moiz ur rehman Award (2015), The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sindh (1989), , Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan (1989), Nishan-e-Imtiaz, civil decoration from the Government of Pakistan (1989), Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C), Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992), Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during the 1980s, Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society, 2013 Person of the Year by the readers of The Express Tribune, Jinnah Award for Outstanding Services to Pakistan was conferred in April 1998 by The Jinnah Society. Khidmat Award by the Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences, Bacha Khan Aman (Peace) Award in 1991,
- In 2011, Syed Yusuf Raza ,The then PM of Pakistan, recommended 'Baba' Edhi for a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- in 2016, a petition signed and moved by 30,000 people for a Nobel Peace Prize for Edhi.
- Malala yusufzai, quoted that "as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, I have nominated Abdul Sattar Edhi for Nobel Peace Prize".
- Besides all honors and awards, Edhi all his life maintained that "there is no better award than, serving the humanity."
Tribute to 'Baba (Father) Edhi'
Urdu Poet Khalid Irfan has written a poem as a tribute to 'Baba' (Father) Edhi. It says
'Baba' you do'nt need any Nobel'
'there's no honor in this whole world that can match your stature'
'you have ruled the hearts of people'
'you do not need any recognition Baba'
'you have re-defined humanitarinism'
'humanitarianism was your passion'
'you are the savior of mankind'
'you are the father of every orphan'
'you are the shelter of every homeless'
'you are the hope of every weak and poor'
'you are in the hearts of each and every one of us'
'baba you're larger than any nobel prize'
I have tried to convey the summary of the poem, however orginal poem in urdu is below for reference.