Pakistan is one of the most philanthropic nations in the world, contributing 1% of its GDP to charitable donations. Research shows that it donates about Rs. 240 billion to charities each year.
This culture of giving in the community is further driven by Islam’s emphasis on charity in the form of Sadaqa, Zakat, and Fitrana. Among the many non-profit organisations engaged in charitable work in the country, Abdul Sattar Edhi Foundation is by far the most well-known welfare trust operating in Pakistan today.
Graana.com outlines all relevant details of Edhi Foundation below, including the services it offers.
Overview of Edhi Foundation
Edhi Foundation operates all across the country and offers the best facilities and social services. It focuses on fighting for human rights, regardless of class, race and religion. Its underlying mission is to serve humanity, which it believes is the “supreme religion”.
Volunteers provide their services in maternity homes, Edhi homes, and ambulance operations to help run the foundation. The organisation also actively participates in world events by helping refugees or those affected by civil wars and natural disasters. Additionally, they offer food items and medical equipment to those in need.
About Abdul Sattar Edhi
One of the greatest philanthropists in history, Abdul Sattar Edhi, started Edhi Foundation in 1951 as a little dispensary in Mithadar, Karachi, where he used to give away medicines.
When Edhi was 11 years old, his mother was diagnosed with a poor mental health condition and got paralysed. He devoted himself to looking after all her needs: cleaning, bathing, changing clothes and feeding. The challenge of his mother’s health issues inspired him to devote his life to serving humanity.
In 1957, he opened the first Edhi Foundation welfare centre. He was the only director of the foundation until his passing in 2016. Bilqees Edhi, his wife, continued to manage a maternity home (that is a part of Edhi Foundation) until her death in 2022.
His son, Faisal Edhi, currently manages and oversees the foundation, which continues to be the most well-known name in the charitable sector in Pakistan, carrying on his father’s legacy.
Bilquis Baon Edhi
Bilquis Bano Edh, one of Pakistan’s most prominent philanthropists and a trained nurse, received the unofficial title of ‘Mother of Pakistan’, and shared the 1986 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service with her husband.
Her organisation provides numerous services in Pakistan, including an emergency department and hospitals in Karachi. Over 16,000 unwanted infants have been spared by her and her husband’s foundation.
Services Offered by Edhi Foundation
- Ambulance Service
- Hospital Services
- Edhi Homes & Orphanage Centres
- Langer Service (Free Kitchen)
- Educational Services
- Children Services
- Rehabilitation Center
- Graveyard Services
- Marriage Bureau Services
- Missing Person Services
- Edhi Animal Services
- Refugees Assistance
The first ambulance used by Edhi Foundation was a converted Hillman pickup truck, earning it the nickname “Poor Patient Ambulance”.
After sixty years, the Edhi ambulance service has developed into the largest network of ambulances in the world, with a total of 1800 vehicles available throughout Pakistan. The foundation is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest fleet of ambulances.
It also has an air ambulance service comprising 2 aircraft and 1 helicopter. Moreover, it has a marine ambulance service, with 28 boats to aid people affected by natural disasters.
To contact an Edhi ambulance in an emergency, dial 115.
Edhi Foundation offers hospital services for unprivileged people, which include:
- Free Consultancy Service
- Laboratory Tests
- Pre Diabetic Centre
- Nursing Training Centre
- Immunisation Centre
- Patient Utility Centre
Edhi Homes & Orphanage Centres
In Pakistan, Edhi Foundation has built 18 homes (seven of which are in Karachi). These have been used to accommodate 8500 abandoned and orphaned boys and girls, mentally challenged and physically disabled adults, as well as homeless and defenceless men and women, including victims of domestic abuse.
Following are the cities in Pakistan where Edhi homes have been established:
- Karachi – 7
- Multan – 1
- Lahore – 3
- Islamabad – 1
- Peshawar – 1
- Quetta – 1
- Chitral – 1
Langer Service (Free Kitchen)
For many years, Edhi Foundation has arranged Langers, or free meals, at various locations in Pakistan, mostly in the cities of Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi. These kitchens provide food for thousands of people, mostly including those belonging to the low-income class, with the aid of charitable donations gathered from all over the nation.
This initiative aims to reduce professional begging. Daily meals are provided in crowded, impoverished regions, and anyone who is unable to eat due to poverty, unemployment, or other social issues is welcome to take advantage of a free lunch once every day.
People are expected to steer professional beggars seeking food to these soup kitchens rather than giving alms at traffic signals.
Elementary, primary and secondary education is provided in several areas of Karachi, including Old Sabzi Mandi, Noor Shah Colony Mirphur Khaas, and Masjid Road Nawabshah. Students from the rural parts of Sindh have the chance to receive basic education at these Edhi houses.
These centres are currently serving a sizable number of students in Karachi, with classes ranging from first grade to matric. Matric results show that most students from these institutions receive over 80% score on average.
A significant number of children receive early education at Edhi Elementary School, which was established in 2002. The school offers classes from nursery to fifth grade.
Over 511 students are currently enrolled in Mirpur Khas’ Bilquis Edhi Middle School. It offers education from preschool to eighth grade. The Government of Sindh’s Education & Literacy Department has registered this school.
The majority of Edhi Centers have baby cradles set up to provide shelter for abandoned infants. These babies are then placed in the homes of deserving families who are looking to adopt. The confidentiality of all records is strictly maintained.
Along with other services, Edhi Foundation is also planning to introduce rehabilitation centres for addicts soon.
In Pakistan, the main network for the burial of deceased bodies or unclaimed coffins is run by Edhi Foundation. Numerous cities in Pakistan, including Lahore and Rawalpindi, as well as those in the United States (including New York) have arranged graveyards.
With a count of more than 58,000, Edhi has the honour of holding the world record for delivering the final required bath (ghusal) before shrouding the coffin himself and making all the necessary arrangements for their burial.
These services also extend to non-Muslims, in accordance with their own religious traditions. In addition to these services, large and air-conditioned mortuaries have been built in Karachi to hold unidentified bodies for a short period of time before performing funeral rituals, if necessary.
Missing Person Services
There are many children and people with mental disabilities who are abandoned or separated from their families, as a result of social issues.
Edhi Foundation either makes local announcements, arranges press advertisements, or uses its own wireless network, state radio, and TV channels to help these individuals return to their homes.
Edhi Animal Services
The original purpose of Edhi Homes was to help the underprivileged or ill people. However, Edhi Centers also began to provide shelter to animals who have been cruelly abused or are handicapped, lame or severely injured. These also include stray dogs and lost animals that have nowhere else to go.
Edhi Foundation developed a separate treatment facility in response to the rising number of these stray animals, which has now expanded into a small zoo. It is located on Super Highway in Karachi, and veterinarians and other volunteers care for these animals.
When refugees from other nations were compelled to seek refuge in Pakistan, Edhi Foundation offered them aid. Refugees from the following nations have been given help so far:
Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, is home to numerous welfare trusts, but it is especially significant in achieving Abdul Sattar Edhi’s purpose.
As already mentioned, his organisation’s journey started in the city and developed from there. Thus, it serves as Edhi Foundation’s headquarters.
Edhi Head Office Address: Sarafa Bazar, Boulton Market, Mithadar, Karachi
Phone Number: +92 (21) 32413232
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