#EntrepreneurSpotlight! Edhi Foundation

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In my search for social entrepreneurs that have made a difference in the world, I came across the name Edhi of the Edhi Foundation, based out of Pakistan. First of all I thought “who of any social conscience would live in Pakistan?”

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However, I soon found out what an amazing social activist Abdul Sattar Edhi is within the nation and in global terms. Born in 1928 in the state of Gujrat, India, Edhi was compassionate and humanistic, but his compassion became social activism after his mother died when he was 19 years old. He thought of welfare centers for the homeless, disabled and the mentally ill and when he migrated to Pakistan in 1947 he began to make his vision a reality.

Through an appeal for funds he started a free pharmacy, he built a free maternity home, then a free ambulance service. He kept appealing for public funds and as the confidence in his “Edhi Trust” grew, his funds increased as well. In 1965 he got married and his wife, Bilquis Edhi began to head the various ‘women’ oriented charities ranging from the maternity homes to orphanages.

In a nation run rampant with stereotypes and religious extremism, the Edhi Foundation is a source of light and humanistic hope. We may be bound by an image of Pakistan created by the popular “Homeland” series, but we have to appreciate that this one man, against all odds, created the world’s largest ambulance system!

Even with a traditional Islamic background Edhi remains liberal in his thoughts and progressive in his actions. He supports the progress of women, education and social advancement irrespective of caste, creed, religion and race.

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Having travelled a large part of the world I have always felt that the media at times creates limits on the minds of the less travelled. The ability to appreciate differences is lessened and this is just tragic. Pakistan has been made infamous by the series ‘Homeland’ and while many aspects of the program can be appreciated, the stereotypes depicted are just that…stereotypes.

The Edhi Foundation is counteractive proof to this fact; it’s an internationally active charity having funded various global relief campaigns including aid:

→ to those in need during the civil war in Lebanon during 1983.

→ to the famine-stricken areas in Ethiopia during 1985.

→ to the earthquake victims of Armenia, USSR during year 1989.

→ to Kurd refugees.

→ through providing blood bags for Japanese earthquake victims during 1994.

The Edhi International Foundation has branches in U.S.A., England, Japan, Bangladesh and the UAE, helping raise funds for those in need especially in the developing parts of the world.

Today the Edhi Foundation has various charities set up within Pakistan to aid those in need including medical centers, ambulances, small business set-ups, empowerment of women centers, adoption units, rehabilitation hubs, local area food banks and more.

Last month we featured Anna Wilkinson who beat the odds of a 70% hearing disability and set up a rehabilitation center in the UK. It is these less known social entrepreneurs that we have to bring to light.

Also Explore:Entrepreneur Spotlight: Cynthia Koenig @ Wello

On September 8, 2014, that Alicia Keys song, “We Are Here” was released. She hoped to get fans and people to understand how they could bring the causes they support to the forefront. She created the hashtag “#WeAreHere”.

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For this post we ask you to speak up and let us know the people and causes you care about. Get in on the #WeAreHere hashtag. For me, I am here to talk about the Edhi Foundation and how it can help break the negative stereotypes the media creates #WeAreHere.

I am a digital marketing consultant with a focus on small and mid-sized enterprises. I believe the focus of every business should be on creating a consistent brand identity online and offline.

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