Google is celebrating the life and work of Pakistan’s revered philanthropist with a customized Doodle, which depicts him as an elderly man standing on a street alongside an ambulance, a woman and child and a hospital.
Abdul Sattar Edhi was born in Gujarat, Western India, on 28 February 1928. By the time he was 30, he had moved to Pakistan, and planted the seeds of what grew into the world’s largest network of volunteer ambulances.
Upon moving to Pakistan, Edhi took notice of the country’s poor health and education services and set out to improve conditions of the underprivileged. In 1951, he established the Edhi Foundation which is funded by private contributions to provide basic emergency services. The Foundation had the slogan “live and help live”. Within the decades, Edhi ambulances have become a symbol of friendship and compassion throughout Pakistan.
The foundation has expanded its work into other countries, as well, and has offered assistance to people affected by disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Edhi Foundation currently runs about 1,500 ambulances — making it the world’s largest volunteer fleet of ambulances— whilst also operating orphanages, women shelters, rehabilitation centers and other vital services to people in need.
Edhi died in July 2016 of renal failure in the Pakistani city of Karachi. He would have turned 89 today.