Since its inception, Edhi Foundation has helped thousands of people every day. Behind this vast organisation are devoted employees who have made it their life’s mission to bring a positive difference in the world. And these people are still working hard to make sure Edhi’s legacy remains intact. We spoke to some of these heroes to understand the challenges they face, ask them what they feel about working at Edhi Foundation and what keeps them going. Dr Jamal Asif, a 47-year-old practitioner, has been working as the ICU ward in-charge at the Edhi Centre for the past 18 years. “When I joined Edhi, I had an MBBS degree,and I completed my post graduation while working at Edhi Foundation. I am an ENT consultant now and other than my eight-hour shift at the Edhi Centre, I practice privately at various other hospitals.” Dr Jamal could earn more if he gave up his job at the centre and focused on his private practice but he says he’s never considered that an option because he’s committed to the cause of the foundation. Talking about Edhi, Dr Jamal shares: “On the day I first saw Edhi sahib, he was sitting outside on a charpoi underneath the big tree in the courtyard. I parked my car as usual and after a quick glance went inside to my office. His simplicity was such that I mistook him for one of the residents of the Centre. His simplicity and humbleness are incomparable.” Will people like Dr Jamal, Ayesha or Guddu ever get recognition for their work? Probably not. But they don’t want recognition. All they ask for is our support to help continue Edhi’s legacy “Never in my life have I come across a person who is so humble despite being one of the most well-known personalities of the country. There must be thousands of good deeds that Edhi sahib carried out, for which no records are maintained. But all our actions are being recorded by the Supreme Being, and that should be motivation enough to support Edhi Foundation,” he adds. Ayesha* was a homemaker before she joined the organisation three years ago. The 48-year-old joined the organisation so she could help people. “When all my kids got married and moved out, I wanted to do something useful with my time. I started coming here, and now I am the in-charge of the women’s section at the Centre.” Ayesha’s section houses around 100 women. “All the women who end up here have heart-breaking stories. We get all kinds of cases. Some women have run away from abusive families, and others kicked out of their homes. Some are young, some pregnant, some old and some severely sick. In the beginning, these women’s suffering would get to me, I would feel deep despair, but then I realised that if I am weak I can’t help these people, so I hardened my heart and my resolve.” Ayesha, who works 12-hour shifts and is responsible for everything that happens at the centre, has immense admiration for Bilquis Edhi who she calls Ammi. “Ammi visits frequently and keeps an eye on everything we do. Her primary concern is that we treat the resident women with respect and that all their needs are catered too. She thinks of them as her own children. Ammi has struggled a lot in life and has put in a lot of hard work to help the underprivileged. We can only try to emulate the example that has been set by Edhi and his wife. We can’t become like them, but we can at least support their cause.” Jan Muhammad, also called Guddu, is a 39-year-old caretaker at the Edhi Village — a facility that houses around 1,400 mentally and physically challenged boys and men. Working at the Edhi Foundation for the past 16 years, Guddu has a large frame, a booming voice and a spring in his step while he takes us around the facility for a tour. “I’ve done many jobs here from providing emergency support, to travelling to the Wagah border for the prisoners’ exchange. Some of the admitted men here are drug addicts. They stop taking drugs while they’re with us, and we see them getting better,and their families pick them up,” he says. “Some of them start abusing drugs again and keep returning. Edhi wanted the residents to be busy. We give them jobs they can do. Some men help in the upkeep of the place, some help in gardening and cleaning. Most of these men are talented people!” he added. Guddu, who remembers Edhi fondly, says, “There can never be anyone else like him!” Edhi’s demise left a big vacuum in our society, and his absence has affected the collection of donations. It was his phenomenal charisma that encouraged people to donate, and although people still donate,it is not the same. “I sometimes feel like standing on the road and making appeals on the loudspeaker, telling all Pakistanis to come forward and donate openheartedly. Life is so uncertain. We think of saving for tomorrow, do we even know if we will be alive tomorrow?” Ayesha lamented. Will people like Dr Jamal, Ayesha or Guddu ever get recognition for their work? Probably not. However, they do not want recognition. All they ask for is our support to help continue Edhi’s legacy *name has been changed to protect the privacy of the person in question. The writer is currently working as a Senior Strategic Writer for Asiatic Public Relations Published in Daily Times, June 10th 2018.