A Hero for Humanity: Abdul Sattar Edhi

This article has also been published on the Express Tribune Website at the following link: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/9152/edhi-we-love-you/

On 28th November 2011, the Prime Minister of Pakistan nominated Abdul Sattar Edhi for a Nobel Peace Prize. For Pakistanis and most other people in the world, Abdul Sattar Edhi is a name that requires no introduction. The founder of the largest welfare organization in Pakistan 'The Edhi Foundation', he has been referred to as an inspiration, a savior and a living saint. For those who know his story, he is no less than a living legend who has overcome the odds to accomplish not a selfish goal but one that has helped millions see a glimmer of hope through the darkness.




The journey started when Edhi was eleven years of age. His mother got paralyzed and mentally ill. Edhi took full responsibility of caring for all of her needs, from changing, bathing and feeding her to being there as a source of support. Despite his caring, unfortunately his mother died when Edhi was 19, and it affected him to such an extent that he could not complete high school.  Instead of growing bitter that no one had helped them when they were in need, Edhi instead focused on what he could do considering the millions of other helpless and suffering people out there. With little resources and a big dream, Edhi set off to beg on streets for money with which he bought his first ambulance, an old van. Equipped with the prayers of those whom he helped, and continuing forward on mission, the Edhi Foundation today runs the worlds largest ambulatory service.

At the age of 20, Edhi volunteered at a charity in Karachi. However, he was appalled to learn that the charity only helped a certain sect of people, ignoring the other needless. He protested against discrimination towards the poor, and set up his own charity shop instead. However he earned the enmity of the sect he had protested against, and considering his life was in danger he left Pakistan and begged his way through Europe. Becoming an admirer for the Welfare State System, he decided that if the government couldn't help the people, he would do whatever was in his capacity to fulfill that gap.

The remarkable journey that followed has helped Edhi operate not just the largest ambulatory service in the world, but also run free orphanages, old peoples homes, medicine dispensaries, clinics, rehab centers, women shelters and home for abandoned babies. Edhi has not only touched lives in Pakistan but has helped people in Middle East, Africa, Europe and even USA. He has won countless national and international awards for his humanitarianism and philanthropy. Speaking on the news on Monday, Edhi said he was honored to having been nominated the Nobel Peace Prize as the prize money and recognition would further his aims of helping others. Edhi said he plans on giving the Pakistani government a plan for a welfare system for the poor. Best of all, the Edhi Foundation doesn't take any aid from the Pakistani government to maintain its independence. There is indeed a lot that our government, and people around the world, can learn from the selfless, true hero for humanity that is Abdul Sattar Edhi, who commands the respect of millions including that of the author of this article.