Humanitarian to a Nation: Edhi remembered on his fifth death anniversary

 Humanitarian to a Nation: Edhi remembered on his fifth death anniversary

Abdul Sattar Edhi remembered on his fifth death anniversary

The fifth death anniversary of philanthropist and social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi is being observed today across the country.

Early life of Edhi

Abdul Sattar Edhi was born in 1928 in Dhobiwar quarters of a small village of Bantva near Junagarh, Gujarat (India). He was number three among four brothers and a sister. His father was Abdul Shakoor, a small-scale cloth trader who belonged to the Edhi tribe of the Memon community.

At the age of 11, Edhi’s became inclined towards philanthropic work while looking after his mother who was suffering from paralysis. For the next eight years until her death, young Abdul Sattar devoted all his energies to look after her and took on himself responsibilities of personal care that a physically handicapped person requires.

Edhi’s humanitarian work

Immediately after the Indian partition, Edhi, along with his family, migrated to Karachi and settled in a Memon neighbourhood called Mithadar.

In 1948, he became deeply involved in the charity work, as a rich businessman had established a dispensary in the neighbourhood. He started collecting medicines from that dispensary and distributed them among the poor and needy. Later on, he decided to establish a free dispensary; some of the members of the Memon community supported him in the endeavour.

In 1951 he purchased a van which he named as the Gharib van (van for poor). He bought it for Rs. 2,400. At that time, he had the total amount of Rs. 3,000 in his bank account. He allocated the rest of the money for paying the salary of the driver.

He used the van for collecting/finding unclaimed and decaying dead bodies/corpses. He used to give them the ghusal (the Islamic ritual of bathing the dead bodies before burial).

Establishment of the Edhi Foundation (1974)

Till 1974, Edhi philanthropic network had expanded to such a scale that he decided to get the organization registered under the name of the “Edhi Trust.” The organization grew over time into the most vibrant social welfare institution
of the country. Edhi made an appeal to the public for funds, which triggered an enthusiastic response. He managed to collect donations of Rs. 200,000.

The dispensary from which Edhi had launched his humanitarian mission in the early 1950s had developed into a large building with three stories. The emergency centre and office occupied the ground floor, whereas dispensary and maternity homes were on the upper floors. The trust owned 80 ambulances. The number of vans had increased to 175. The number of Edhi centres had risen to 24. The annual funding of the Edhi Trust had increased to 50 million rupees. The free dispensaries had been providing treatment services to 500 patients per day on average.

Edhi donated his eyes

Doctors at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) on Saturday transplanted corneas of the country’s greatest charity icon, Abdul Sattar Edhi, into two blind people who were waiting for an eye donation, said SIUT officials and the his family.

In his will, the widely respected social worker had wished that his organs be donated to the needy after his death. “While other organs could not be given away due to his poor health, his eyes have been donated,” said Faisal, the late Edhi’s son.

Final resting place

Edhi, who would have been 89 on Tuesday, died on 8 July 2016. He was given a state funeral, attended by tens of thousands of people.

Edhi buried in the grave, he dug several years earlier.

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