Skills Rethink director Shagufta Nasreen shares her inspiration

PUBLISHED: 09:18 10 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:18 10 August 2016


I remember a time when I was a sub-editor on the Daily Jang London and used to travel from East Ham to London Bridge in 1995.

It was a very ordinary morning when I got on to a Northern line train from Bank Station and saw a very humble elderly person sitting opposite me, wearing a black cotton Pakistani dress and flip flops. The man was Abdul Sattar Edhi! I got up and told him how much I was inspired by his work, he appreciated my compliments and said, it is possible only with the blessings of Allah!

For me the day was very special because I met a very noble man who set an example for all of us, how to be a good human. He was a philanthropist, social activist and, above all, a great humanitarian who founded the Edhi Foundation almost 60 years ago. He was its head for almost six decades.

Edhi washed decomposed bodies of the victims of violence in Karachi with his own hands, when even their own families were reluctant to touch them. He set up free hospitals, dispensaries, orphanages, nursing homes for elderly people, rehabilitation centres for drug addicts and a great ambulance service for people in need. Yes he was a Pakistani, and I am proud to have been born in Pakistan and to share the soil with this great person, but, in reality, he was an international hero who touched the souls of millions and inspired countless worldwide.

Abdul Sattar Edhi used to say his religion is humanity and that his mission was to help needy people around the world, and he did just that. In a society where making money regardless of right and wrong is becoming a trend, Edhi showed how to be rich in humanity and rule the hearts of billions. He led by example and taught a lesson of love and care. He served people regardless of their colour, creed or nationality, and set standards of selfless service to others.

Malala, a teenage Nobel laureate, has nominated Edhi to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Edhi has won our hearts a million times over whether he is awarded the Nobel Prize or not, but we hope that his great service to humanity is recognised for future generations. More from Shagufta

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Newham Recorder