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Remembring of the life of Abdul Sattar Edhi: the most compassionate man you never heard of

3 min read

Good Stuff
Remembring of the life of Abdul Sattar Edhi: the most compassionate man you never heard of
Source: Twitter

Regarded by many Pakistanis as a national hero, he devoted his life to aiding the poor. The foundation he set up in 1951 continues his charitable work.

Edhi was known in Pakistan as “Angel of Mercy” and “Pakistan’s Father Teresa”

Abdul Sattar Edhi was a Pakistani philanthropist, ascetic, and humanitarian who founded the Edhi Foundation. The foundation runs hospitals, homeless shelters, rehab centres, and orphanages across Pakistan, as well as the largest fleet of ambulances in the world. He died 8 July 2016, aged 88.

Abdul Sattar Edhi Pakistan's 'Father Teresa' who has 'adopted' 20,000 children. Source: Facebook/ThisIsZinc

The partition of India led Edhi and his family to migrate to Pakistan in 1947

Born in Gujarat, British India, Edhi moved to Karachi after the partition of India, where he would establish a free dispensary for Karachi’s low-income residents. Edhi’s charitable activities expanded in 1957 when an Asian flu epidemic swept through Karachi. Donations allowed him to buy his first ambulance the same year. He later expanded his charity network with the help of his wife Bilquis Edhi.

Bilquis Bano Edhi, wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi (seated behind), is a humanitarian, a social worker and one of the most active philanthropists in Pakistan. She and her husband lived in just two rooms at the foundation.
Bilquis Edhi continues to head the foundation: Bilquis Bano Edhi, wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi (seated behind), is a humanitarian, a social worker and one of the most active philanthropists in Pakistan. She and her husband lived in just two rooms at the foundation. Source: edhi.org

Main photo: ExpressTribune.pk Sources: Telegraph, edhi.org

What is the Edhi Foundation?

The Edhi Foundation is currently the largest welfare organisation in Pakistan. Founded in 1951, to date it has rescued more than 20,000 abandoned babies, rehabilitated some 50,000 orphans and has trained more than 40,000 nurses. It also operates the world’s largest ambulance service with 1,500 vehicles.


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

Even though incredible amounts of money pass through the foundation, Edhi lived with his family in just two modest rooms next-door to the foundation headquarters.
He has been recognised for his work both at home and abroad with such accolades as 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.


The Edhi Foundation is funded solely by private donations.

Edhi supported and promoted opportunities for women.

Although he admitted he had "never been a very religious person” , he was known in public as Maulana Edhi – a respectful title for a religious scholar, usually an elderly person with a beard. Edhi supported and promoted working opportunities for women. Of the 2,000 paid workers at the Edhi Foundation, 500 are women.

Children and teachers seen in one of the many facilities built by the Edhi Foundation.
Education and schools are areas the foundation takes seriously. Children and teachers seen in one of the many facilities built by the Edhi Foundation. Source: edhi.org

10 inspirational quotes from Abdul Sattar Edhi

  1. “My religion is humanitarianism, which is the basis of every religion in the world.
  2. "Appearance is a distraction, surrendering it develops truth and humility in abundance.”
  3. “So, many years later there were many who still complained and questioned, ‘Why must you pick up Christians and Hindus in your ambulance?’ And I was saying, ‘Because the ambulance is more Muslim than you’.”
  4. “Empty words and long praises do not impress God. Show Him your faith by your deeds.”
  5. "I do not have any formal education. What use is education when we do not become human beings? My school is the welfare of humanity.”
  6. “The dead has only one place to go… up. Wherever you bury them, they will go the same way, up.”
  7. “The Holy Book should open in your souls, not on your laps. Open your heart and see God’s people. In their plight you will find Him.”
  8. “Never take anyone’s death to heart… Remember God by the equality with which He implements it. Nobody is different, the richest to the poorest, from here to the end of the globe face it equally. What an example of equality.”
  9. “Those who believed in changing the world were either hungry by circumstance or practiced deprivation by choice.”
  10. “Chasing after desires creates inner turmoil. When the devil becomes a guide, dacoits (armed robbers) and gangsters are manufactured. He makes men fight against their souls to survive expensive items and most lose everything in the face of his strength. The internal enemy can only be overcome by a personal revolution.”
Make an Impact

Donate now direct to the Edhi Foundation

The Edhi Foundation has always been solely supported by private donations. If you wish to contribute towards their work, you can do so directly, here.