Thursday, February 9, 2012

Abdul Sattar Edhi

Abdul Sattar Edhi, NI (Urdu: عبد الستار ایدھی, Gujarati: અબ્દુલ સત્તાર ઇદી), or Maulana Edhi, is a Pakistani philanthropist. He is head of the Edhi Foundation, the world's largest ambulance help service and charity . Together with his wife, Bilquis Edhi, he received the 1986 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. He is also the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize and the Balzan Prize. Edhi is a Muslim of the Memon community. Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan conferred a honoris causa degree of Doctor of Social Service Management in 2006 for his services. In September 2010 Edhi was also awarded an honorary degree of Doctorate by the University of Bedfordshire.

Early Life
Edhi was born in 1928 in Bantva in the Gujarat, British India.

At the age of eleven, his mother became paralyzed and later grew mentally ill and died when he was 19. His personal experiences caused him to develop a system of services for old, mentally ill and challenged people.

Edhi and his family migrated to Pakistan in 1947. He initially started as a pedlar, later became a commission agent selling cloth in the wholesale market in Karachi. After a few years, he established a free dispensary with the help from his community. He later established a welfare trust, "Edhi Trust".

Abdul Sattar 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.

Charity Work
Edhi Foundation runs world's largest ambulance service and operates free old people's homes, orphanages, clinics, women's shelters, and rehab centers for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals. It has run relief operations in Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus region, eastern Europe and US where it provided aid following the New Orleans hurricane of 2005.

In November 2011, Edhi was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize by then Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.

Travel issues
In January 2008, US immigration officials interrogated Edhi at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York for over eight hours, and seized his passport and other documents. In January 2009, Edhi was refused entry to Gaza by Egyptian authorities.

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