We are grateful to the Ramon Magsaysay Award
Foundation for selecting us to receive this highly prestigious Award in recognition of our
humble humanitarian services.
The human being is the finest creature of the Almighty. Unfortunately, by certain
deeds, he has fallen to the lowest state. However he deserves our sympathy and attention.
Serving humankind in distress is worship of God.
We bow our heads in humility to Allah for guiding us in rendering
this service to people. We began as individuals, and by God's grace our work now is an
institution. Today's Award, I believe, is not for us as persons. It is for the services we
have rendered. We will consider it as a debt, always reminding us to pay it back by more
devotion to humanity. You may be interested if I briefly describe the scope of activities,
steadily expanded, by our trust.
My wife, BILQUIS, runs the Center for Shelterless, including
abandoned and innocent newly born babies. Some 1,039 such children have been taken care of
so far by the center. Childless parents can adopt these children. Through this center,
unique parent-children relationships are established on a purely humanitarian basis.
Old, sick, crippled and shelterless persons find abode in the Edhi
Home in Karachi. It currently accommodates some 1,700 such individuals. Our objective is
to spread a network of homes for the shelterless in other cities of Pakistan, e.g Lahore,
Quetta and Peshawar.
For poor and sick persons our institution provides free, emergency
ambulance services. Eighty ambulances are in operation, covering all of Pakistan. At a
distance of every 100 miles an Ambulance Center has been organized. At these centers a
fully equipped medical team is stationed to provide temporary treatment. The Edhi
Foundation has been set up to carry out the work in an orderly way and without
interruption. We intend to open similar centers in other big cities in Asia: Bombay,
India; Dacca, Bangladesh; Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Three round-the-clock dispensaries and maternity homes function under
the management of the Edhi Trust. Here first-aid services are provided for accident cases.
Some 150,000 individuals receive these services monthly, without any obligation on their
My wife looks after a free maternity home of 100 beds in the suburbs
of Karachi. Over 300 delivery cases, on an average, are attended to every month. Mrs. EDHI
also manages a nursing department for less educated and poor widows so that they can earn
an honorable livelihood rather than extend their hands for help. These poor women are
trained here for six months. During this period a stipend equivalent to US$25 is paid them
per month. The women are specially trained to clean dead bodies before burial as per
Islamic law. Hundreds of such women have been trained and are now earning their livelihood
with respect and honor.
Our scope of activities include picking up dead bodies wherever found
and regardless of the cause of death. If no heir or relative of the deceased is found,
burial is done by the trust. When it is a police case, prompt assistance of authorities is
sought and burial is arranged.
Genuinely jobless persons willing to work and earn their livelihood
are provided temporary assistance equivalent to US$20 per month for food and other needs.
Crippled and elderly patients are given wheelchairs, beds, crutches, bed-urine pans and
urine chairs for use in their homes, at a reasonable charge when they can afford to pay,
but free in genuinely destitute cases.
It is gratifying to inform you that, with Allah's blessings,
construction of a house for shelterless girls on a plot of about six hectares is in full
swing and is expected to be completed within the next two years. When finished, this house
will accommodate hundreds of destitute girls. There they will be given training in
driving, first-aid, maternity and child care, washing of dead bodies, and attending
crippled and mentally retarded persons.
We are obliged to the people of Pakistan who generously donate funds
equivalent to over US$2 million annually, funds which provide the resources for carrying
out our activities. I am happy to declare that the money from this Award will be used to
establish another foundation in Pakistan.
May Allah bless you and us and guide us to give our utmost to the
best of all his creatureshuman beings.