The Legacy of Pakistan’s Own Hero: Abdul Sattar Edhi and his Ambulance Men
We all have the power to make a change. It is when we lead by example, dedicate our lives to a cause we truly feel compassionate about, and strive to have a following that we truly become successful in our cause.
Abdul Sattar Edhi is a selfless humanitarian who leads by example. He reminds us that there is still good in the midst of war and violence. Edhi’s altruism in the fight to give life to others has been recognized by the people of Pakistan, and even beyond its borders. Thousands have petitioned for Edhi to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize award. One can see comments on his Facebook support page vying for a greater award; greater accolades; greater recognition for what he has done for the welfare of fellow Pakistanis.
Edhi is often regarded as a “living saint.” He himself had humble beginnings. Edhi was born in Gujurat in 1928. Having to care for his mother at a young age, he set out to work as a cloth peddler and encountered the youth of destitute Pakistan. This strengthened his cause, and he resolved to help people through their suffering; something the government did not do.
In 1947, amidst the partition of India and Pakistan, he and his family were forced to flee in 1947 to escape mob violence and ethnic cleansing. He saw the suffering of millions and at only 20 years old, he found himself with no money in Karachi, inspired to set out on a mission to live for others. He volunteered to join a charity run by a religious community to which his family belonged.
However, Edhi faced many trials and tribulations along the way. He found that the Memons confined their charity to other Memons, and he would not “discriminate the needy.” He then set out for Europe, and although he was offered a job in London, he vowed he would do something for the civilians of Pakistan. He would create a welfare state in Pakistan. And that is what he set out to do.
In his own ambulance, he would collect corpses, and if the bodies were not assigned an identity, he would bury them himself. He discovered the practice of newborn children being aborted or killed at birth because they were born outside marriage, so he set out to save them. Outside each of his centers, he would place a sign to ask people to leave their children in his care, and has found families to care for them as well. He has saved over 35,000 newborns.
Today, the Edhi Foundation has spread its influence outside of Pakistan, and he has led relief missions across the world, providing aid in national disasters like the Nepal Earthquake and in the Lebanon war. Edhi and his ambulance men have witnessed the horrors of reality, yet they have saved countless lives. His free dispensary of medical care grew to be what is known as the worlds “largest fleet of emergency services.” He has highlighted the importance of free medical care for destitute areas of Pakistan. Countless people donate to his Edhi Trust, to help fund the medical care his centers provide. His foundation has diversified its operations, as it is a network of shelters for orphans, abandoned widows and the elderly, sick, mentally disabled, and drug and assault victims. The Edhi Foundation is a leader in social service, and this is due to one mans vision to create change and advocate for the underprivileged.
Edhi is a man who represents many of the causes we support. His organization is made of thousands of woman workers. He supports womans rights and gender equality. He fights for the voices of youth to be heard and aims to eradicate stigmas in society associated with levels of wealth, and the impoverished. He does not discriminate religion or culture; he only wants a better vision for mankind.
To Edhi, awards and accolades are superficial. His vision has spread across the world, from the United States to even Japan. His operations are inspiring in how they reveal the legacy of a hero; a humble hero who made many sacrifices to help the impoverished people of Pakistan and beyond. Edhi says, “No religion is higher than humanity.” His profound wisdom, humble nature, and advocacy truly evoke the good in us all. He is someone who encompasses the ideals of service above self, and he is someone we must all emulate in order to fight discrimination, and foster kindness and love for humanity, in spite of our differences.
Photo Attribute: Wiki Commons