As we continue to examine lessons of leadership, we focus on the life of Abdul Sattar Edhi. Edhi is an excellent example of servant leadership and the selfless concern for others.
Abdul Sattar Edhi was a Pakistani philanthropist and humanitarian who was born in 1928 in Bantva, India and died in 2016 in Karachi, Pakistan. He considered Pakistan his home. He was influenced by his mother who taught him charity by giving him 1 coin for his daily food and 1 coin to give to a poor person. When he was 11, his mother became paralyzed and mentally ill. He cared for her until her death, which gave him the passion to help people suffering from illnesses.
He then founded the Edhi Foundation which now, even after his death, runs the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network along with homeless shelters, animal shelter, free nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and orphanages across Pakistan. Beyond Pakistan he extended support to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 1985 famine in Ethiopia. Besides this, he was a strong proponent of religious tolerance.
Despite his enormous fame and the vast sums of money that passed through his hands, Edhi adhered to a very simple and modest life style. He lived with his family in a two-room apartment adjacent to the Foundation’s headquarter. Due to his ascetic lifestyle he only owned two pairs of clothes and never earned a salary from his organization. Edhi shunned publicity for the fear of becoming haughty. He was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize but he never won it. When asked by Express Tribune if he wondered why he hasn’t won the Nobel Peace Prize, he simply answered, “I don’t care about it. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I want these people. I want humanity.”
Throughout his life, he set examples for the world to follow through his actions. We share with you some of his quotes which we believe will leave you inspired.
“No religion is higher than humanity.”
“People have become educated, but have not yet become human.”
“My religion is humanitarianism, which is the basis of every religion in the world”
“When you stop living for luxuries, you understand the real meaning of life”
– Abdul Sattar Edhi