Pakistani foundation wins Bahrain’s Isa Award for Service to Humanity

King Hamad presenting the award to Faisal Edhi (BNA)

King Hamad presenting the award to Faisal Edhi (BNA)

By Habib Toumi

Manama: The Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest charity foundation known worldwide for its humanitarian work, was awarded the Isa Award for Service to Humanity in its fourth edition 2018-2019.

The biennial award was established in 2008 by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in commemoration of his father, the late His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa and in recognition of individuals who have dedicated their lives to humanitarian work.

The Edhi Foundation was shortlisted along with several other qualifiers from other countries by an international jury.

The General Secretariat of the award in cooperation with the jury conducted intensive field research covering the work sites of the foundation, reviewing methods of providing services and verifying the records of achievements

The $1 million award, along with a medal of pure gold and a high certificate of appreciation, were presented by King Hamad to the late winner’s son, Faisal Edhi, the head of the Edhi Foundation, at a grand ceremony in the Bahraini capital Manama.

King Hamad during the ceremony (BNA)

King Hamad during the ceremony (BNA)

“We are pleased to congratulate the Edhi Foundation on winning the award for its outstanding humanitarian services in the charitable, medical and relief fields. We appreciate, here, the great efforts made by those in charge of the foundation in furthering its noble message as wished for by its late founder, Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi, whose name will remain immortal through his sacrifices, and whose contributions will remain an exceptional model of outstanding humanitarian work,” King Hamad said at the award presentation ceremony.

Shaikh Mohammed (BNA)

Shaikh Mohammed (BNA)

In his speech, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Deputy Premier and Chairman of the board of trustees of the award said the decision was based on the jury’s findings after two years of “professional and transparent research and deliberations.”

“The Abdul Sattar Edhi Foundation is a project that richly deserves the award, in appreciation and recognition of its ongoing humanitarian work in all parts of Pakistan,” he said.

“The foundation’s work includes providing treatment to the sick, helping the needy, housing the homeless, educating poor children and saving them from delinquency or exploitation.”

Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck (BNA)

Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck (BNA)

Jury member Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, from Senegal, said that the beauty of the award is its non-political aspect.

“Moreover, its real significance lies in the recognition of exceptional people making positive changes in their communities. I strongly believe that public recognition should not go only to super stars, but also to those who make sacrifices to help the neediest through tangible actions,” she said.

Faisal Edhi said he was pleased with the award, saying that it was “a contribution from the Kingdom of Bahrain to the world to encourage humanitarian actions and initiatives aimed at making the world better place to live.”

Faisal Edhi (BNA)

Faisal Edhi (BNA)

The foundation that serves human beings from all races, religions and nationalities without distinction, was founded by Abdul Sattar Edhi, a well-known Pakistani philanthropist, ascetic, humanitarian, and social activist.

He is known as the “Father of the Poor” and “The Angel of Mercy”, and has been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace.

According to a press release by the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, Abdul Sattar Edhi, highly revered and respected in his country, dedicated his life to serving the poorest people. He established a giant charity foundation that sponsored the building of maternity hospitals, morgues, orphanages, shelters and a nursing home. Until his death on July 8, 2016, he dedicated his life and that of all his family members to the service of people.

At the beginning of his life, he was engaged in his father’s textile trade. But he soon abandoned his father’s profession and, with his friends, set up a small one room clinic in the Methadar District of the old city of Karachi. He owned a small ambulance car and started driving around the city, transporting patients and those wounded in accidents to hospitals. From this humble beginning in 1951, he succeeded in establishing an institution that attracted thousands of volunteers who donated their time and effort to helping others.

His sons and daughters currently manage 300 emergency centers spread across Pakistan. They operate a 24-hour fleet of 1500 ambulances, 28 rescue boats, and three small ambulance airplanes (two of which are rented and the third belongs to the Edhi’s). The Foundation receives 6,000 calls daily asking for ambulance service, which are answered by 200 call center persons.

The Edhi Foundation has orphanages attached to primary and secondary schools; homes for the disabled, rejected and displaced children, and drug addicts; and shelters for abused women. There are also maternity centers, family planning centers, training institutes for nurses, blood banks, a tuberculosis clinic and a tumor hospital.

The Foundation provides several medical services, running 8 free-of-charge hospitals, several ophthalmology hospitals, diabetes centers, surgical units, a small cancer hospital and several mobile clinics, as well as two blood banks in Karachi alone.

The foundation also provides food and other necessities for prisoners. There are 15 centers under the name of “Beitna” that provide shelter services to needy children, and runaway and psychiatric patients. It also runs a large number of childcare centers for children of unknown descent, under the name of “Cradle of Children”, where approximately 20,000 children are housed. This is in addition to a number of orphanages that are homes to 50,000 orphans.

The Foundation runs 330 care centers in Pakistan’s rural and urban areas, providing food, shelter and rehabilitation for abandoned women and children, as well as medication for mentally ill patients.

The Foundation has provided relief work in Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and the United States (during Hurricane Katrina in 2005).

Before his death in 2016, the late Abdul Sattar Edhi founded the 50-kilometer Edhi project, which aims to provide essential services to rural and urban residents. The project focuses on saving the lives of accident victims on the internal and external roads of all areas of Pakistan.

The late Abdul Sattar Edhi and his charity foundation have received tens of local and international awards and honors including a doctorate from the Karachi Charity Foundation with the Excellence decoration, the Human Rights Award from the Government of Pakistan, the Agassai Jar Award, a prize from the Lenin Peace Foundation, the International Foundation for Peace and Brotherhood Foundation Award, and the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Humanitarian Medical Services from the UAE.

The Isa Award for Service to Humanity has achieved a great deal of success in its three previous editions, showing remarkable humanitarian work and achieving distinction amongst international awards. It emphasizes humanitarian openness to various races and religions and avoids politics and conflict of any kind.

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