“Because of you, a little Pakistani girl orphaned at birth dared to dream. Because of you, I am an independent woman with graduate-level education and a place in the world to call my own.” – Edhi Baby Rabia Bano
The “Mother of Pakistan,” Bilquis Edhi, left us on Friday, leaving a void in our hearts forever. A nurse by profession and philanthropist and humanitarian by heart, she was a shelter for thousands of abandoned babies in Pakistan. Famous for her ‘jhoola‘ project, she set up 300 jhoolas/cradles outside various Edhi centers for people to leave their unwanted babies. Through this simple action, she was able to save 42000 lives. 42000 lives that are now healthy and have found the loving home they deserved.
She changed the lives of many and changed them for the better. She cared for the children as her own and looked after them until they were sent off to live an even better life with their new parents, in homes they would feel loved and wanted.
Out of the thousands of lives she impacted, these 3 stories struck a chord with us & will move you to tears.
1. Rabia Bano
Named after Bilquis Edhi’s mother, Rabia Bano was left in the Edhi jhoola 28 years ago. Today, she holds a master’s degree in Cyber Security and Data Privacy Law from a law school in the US. She is currently working as a Senior Privacy and Compliance Analyst at Nike.
Bilquis Edhi found her, took her in, and gave her an identity and a home.
Rabia penned a heartfelt note for her ‘bari amma’ as she called Bilquis, telling the world that it is all because of her that she is now an independent woman with a graduate degree. She found loving parents who gave her everything she could’ve ever wanted.
“Because of you, a little Pakistani girl orphaned at birth dared to dream. Because of you, I am an independent woman with graduate-level education and a place in the world to call my own. You gave me an opportunity. You awarded me a chance to dream, and you presented me with freedom,” writes Rabia Bano.
“Losing Bare Abbu (#AbdulSattarEdhi) was tough, but your loss has made me feeling orphaned again today… ” she added.
Rabia concluded by saying she will forever be “a proud Edhi baby.”
A deaf and mute little Indian girl of age 10 or 11 who accidentally crossed over to Pakistan. She was taken to the Edhi center where Bilquis Edhi raised her as her own. Bilquis Sahiba named her Geeta when she realized the little girl was Hindu. She noticed her gestures, for example, touching feet, etc.
Bilquis Edhi would take her to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Karachi and later procured Hindu gods posters for Geeta to set up a private temple at the Edhi center.
In 2015, Geeta was finally taken to her country to seek her parents, and several DNA tests later, she found her birth mother. Geeta and Bilquis continued to share the same close bond regardless of being separated by a border.
3. Naaday Ali
Singer and Actor Hadiqa Kiani, broke stereotypes when she adopted her son, Naaday Ali from Edhi center. Upon Bilquis Sahiba’s demise, the Dobara actress took to Instagram to reminisce the time she found the light of her life, all thanks to Bilquis Edhi.
“She took the world’s burden on her back and stood up to simply help the world become a better place. I believe that Allah (SWT) made her a vessel of aid to people in need, I also believe that Allah (SWT) made her the vessel, my source, to bring me to my son Naaday Ali,” she wrote.
“She trusted me with being a mother and I, like so many others touched by Mrs. Edhi’s grace, will forever be grateful,” the actress added.
If we could pay heed to the words of Abdul Sattar Edhi and take a pledge to help others as part of our everyday lives, we may be able to make a difference as he did. We must build it into our everyday lives rather than thinking of doing it tomorrow. Because tomorrow never comes. That is what Edhi Sahab and Bilquis Sahiba spent their lives doing. They were out there helping a girl who was ill the day they got married. They were saving lives even on the momentous day of their lives.