Serving Selflessly the Poor, Rejected And Destitute: Abdul Sattar Edhi

Posted on April 4, 2014


Abdul SattarEdhi is 82 years old. 60 years ago, he stood on a street corner in Karachi and begged for money for an ambulance, raising enough to buy a battered old van. In it, he set out on countless life-saving missions.

Gradually, MrEdhi set up centres all over Pakistan. He diversified into orphanages, homes for the mentally ill, drug rehabilitation centres and hostels for abandoned women. He fed the poor and buried the dead. His compassion was boundless.

He would hurtle round the province of Sindh in his poor man’s ambulance, collecting dead bodies, taking them to the police station, waiting for the death certificate and, if the bodies were not claimed, burying them himself. He and his organization have buried over 200,000 dead bodies. recovered these stinking cadavers “from rivers, from inside wells, from road sides, accident sites and hospitals… When families forsook them, and authorities threw them away, I picked them up… Then I bathed and cared for each and every victim of circumstance.

MrEdhi discovered that many Pakistani women were killing their babies at birth, often because they were born outside marriage. So MrEdhi placed a little cradle outside every Edhicentre, beneath a placard imploring: “Do not commit another sin: leave your baby in our care.” MrEdhi has so far saved 35,000 babies and, in approximately half of these cases, found families to cherish them. Once again, this practice brought him into conflict with religious leaders. They claimed that adopted children could not inherit their parents’ wealth. MrEdhi told them their objections contradicted the supreme idea of religion, declaring: “Beware of those who attribute petty instructions to God.”

Edhi Foundation is the largest and most organized social welfare system in Pakistan. Foundation works round the clock, without any discrimination on the basis of color, race, language, religion or polictics. The Foundation modifies the phrase “Live and let live” to “Live and help live”.

Note from Rafik Beekun.  This article was written based on material from the following newspaper article published in the UK.   You may also go here to visit the website of the Edhi Foundation.