A rose among thorns, a light in the darkness, numerous phrases and words could be used to describe the legend that was Abdul Sattar Edhi, but none will be enough to truly describe the person and the humanitarian work he did all his life. He passed away on July 08, 2016. Here are a few facts about the life and accomplishments of the late great Abdul Sattar Edhi;
- Edhi Foundation – his life’s success: The Edhi Foundation is one of the largest ambulance services in the world founded in 1951. It is now also one of the largest and perhaps oldest humanitarian foundations in all of Pakistan. The Edhi Foundation today has around 300 clinics and 2000 ambulances all around Pakistan. The foundation also provides free legal aid and any other thing to help out those in need. The foundation has been accredited with saving hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives.
- Edhi and Humbleness: Several public encounters, documentaries and interviews have showcased how the founder of a foundation with millions of dollars, leads his own personal life. He resided in a very humble two bedroom apartment located in an old part of Karachi. He himself has admitted that he owns only 2 pairs of clothes and does not take any money from the foundation.
- Spending time with those in need: The day to day tasks of the man himself, would be to educate orphan children, bathing the handicapped and the dead, going to any unfortunate incident himself and in the evening he would be seen sharing food with anyone and everyone at the free community meal also known as Langar, arranged by his own organization.
- Travelling abroad isn’t always easy: While taking trips to foreign lands, Mr. Edhi has been detained several times by security forces and airport security. He has been detained at the JFK airport in New York for 8 hours, at the Toronto airport for 16 hours, and was also arrested by Israeli occupant forces when he entered Lebanon and was denied entry into Gaza for relief efforts.
- Love for candy: According to film maker Bassam Tariq, he tried very hard to get Mr. Edhi to agree for an interview, however in the end he states that it was perhaps the M&Ms that won over the heart of Mr. Edhi.
- Inception: Edhi Foundation was started with a total investment of PKR 5,000 ($1,500 in 1951) Mr. Edhi also had a free medical dispensary that was managed by Mr. Edhi through his own savings. Through his dedication and hard work, soon several people donated to his humanitarian cause. Not many of us have what it takes to work for others instead of ourselves.
- International Organization: The Edhi Foundation is not only found in Pakistan. The organization is an international one and provides any and all help whenever they can. The Edhi Foundation has run several relief operations in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa and has also aided the United States of America when it was hit by a hurricane in New Orleans.
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