Pakistani’s are known for their generosity and philanthropy. In honour of independence day, we decided to highlight 5 people who strive to bring change to their communities.
Faisal Edhi’s name is well known in every area of Pakistan, so it would be unfair to not include him in such a list. Son of the late Abdul Sattar Edhi, Faisal Edhi currently runs the Edhi foundation . Not only does he head the daily affairs of the Edhi foundation, which has more than 300 welfare centres all across Pakistan, he ensures that the foundation's efforts are not limited to only Pakistan. Earlier this year, he proved that humanity is far more important than politics, as he penned a letter to Modi offering assistance to India during their Covid-19 crisis. In May, during the peak of the Al-Aqsa bombings in Palestine, he planned to visit himself for relief efforts using a fund of Rs30 million that he collected. He stated, “We want to take part in the relief work in Palestine via the Edhi Foundation. Five people, including my son Saad Edhi [and myself], will be going to Palestine.” Faisal Edhi is the true embodiment of a Pakistani hero.
Ramzan Chippa also needs no introduction, yet it is important for us to recognise him as the hero he is. Founder of the NGO Chippa, he has received many awards for his contribution to Pakistan, including the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz. Today, his welfare organisation has over 500 ambulances, assisted by Chippa volunteers,oxygen cylinders and first aid kits. These ambulances are present at more than 150 locations, and always available to help those in need.
Currently the first female Ombudsman in the KPK Government, Rukshanda Naz works against harassment of women, especially in the workplace. She is a human rights lawyer and has also worked as the COO of the Aurat Foundation for 16 years, after which she also served as the UN Women Provisional Head for FATA. Her most prominent contribution has to be the shelter she opened for vulnerable survivors of domestic violence in KPK, including women who have fled from Afghanistan. Moreover, she has also published some legal frameworks, including a “gender review of the political framework for women political participation.” Her efforts for women rights and peace, both domestically and internationally, make her a true hero.
Muhammad Sarim Raza
Muhammad Sarim Raza is the founder of “Riayat”, and coordinator of Youth Action Hub Pakistan. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, he created an e-health platform to expand access to healthcare and medical consultants at affordable prices, especially in low income communities. He has also launched a “Right to Technology” campaign to strive for digital inclusion, all at the young age of 24.
Dr Sania Nishtar
Dr Sania Nishtar is the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection. She is the founder of the Ehsaas program, which is the Pakistani government's social safety and poverty alleviation program. Moreover, she also chairs the Benazir Income Support Program which is a federal unconditional poverty reduction program using cash transfers.
The list of Pakistani heroes is truly never-ending, and in no way limited to the list above. This Independence day, we should all take responsibility to bring change to our communities ourselves, in whatever capacity possible.