Abdul Sattar Edhi was
born in 1928 in a small village of Bantva near Joonah
Garh, Gujrat (India). The seeds of compassion for the
suffering humanity were sown in his soul by his mother's
infirmity. When Edhi was at the tender age of eleven,
his mother became paralyzed and later got metally ill.
Young Abdul Sattar devoted himself for looking after
all her needs; cleaning, bathing, changing clothes and
feeding. This proved to be a loosing battle against
the disease, and her helplessness increased over the
years. Her persistent woeful condition left a lasting
impression on young Edhi. The course of his life took
a different turn from other persons of his age. His
studies were also seriously affected and he could not
complete his high school level. For him the world of
suffering became his tutor and source of wisdom.
Edhi's mother died when he was 19. His personal experience
made him think of thousands and millions, suffering
like his mother, around with nobody to look after
them. He thought that he had a call to help these
people. He had a vision of chains of welfare centers
and hospitals that could be opened to alleviate the
pain of those suffering from illness and neglect.
He also thought of the in-human treatment meted out
to the mentally ill, the insane and the disabled persons.
Even at this early age, he felt personally responsible
for taking on the challenge of developing a system
of sevices to reduce human miseries. The task was
huge; he had no resources. But it was something that
he had to do even if he had to walk to the streets
with a cap in hand to beg for this purpose.
Edhi and his family migrated to Pakistan in 1947.
In order to earn his living, Abdul Sattar Edhi initially
started as a pedlar, later became a commission agent
selling cloth in the wholesale market in Karachi.
After a couple of years, he left this occupation and
with the support of some members of his community
decided to establish a free despensary. He became
involved in this charity work. However, soon his personal
vision of a growing and developing system of multifarious
services made him decide to establish a welfare trust
of his own and named it "Edhi Trust". An
appeal was made to the public for funds. The response
was good, and Rs. 200,000 were raised. The range and
scope of work of Edhi Trust expanded with remarkable
speed under the driving spirit of the man behind it.
A maternity home was established and emergency ambulance
service was started. More donations were received
as people's confidence in the activities of the trust
grew. With the passage of time, masses gave him the
title of the "Angel of mercy".
Abdul Sattat Edhi was married in 1965 to Bilquis,
a nurse who worked at the Edhi dispensary. The couple
have four children, two daughters and two sons. Bilquis
runs the free maternity home at the headquarter in
Karachi and organizes the adoption of illegitimate
and abandoned babies. The husband-wife team has come
to share the common vision of single minded devotion
to the cause of alleviation of human sufferings and
a sense of personal responsibiliy to respond to each
call for help, regardless of race, creed or status.
Despite his enormous fame and the vast sums of money
that passes through his hands, Edhi adheres to a very
modest lifestyle. He and his family live in a two
room apartment adjacent to the premises of Foundation's
headquarter. Neither Edhi nor Bilquis receives any
salary, The live on the income from government securities
that Edhi bought many years ago to take care of their
personal needs for the rest of their lives, thereby
freeing them to devote single mindedly to their missionary