12 May is International Nurses Day, held to celebrate the contribution nurses have made to society. In Pakistan, there is one particular nurse that the nation is greatly indebted to -Bilquis Edhi -the wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi. With her constant support and encouragement, she played an instrumental role in helping Edhi create the national charity we know as the Edhi Foundation.
Born in the city of Bantva, then part of British India, she with her family was forced to flee to Karachi, Pakistan following the partition. As a teenager, she joined a small dispensary as a nurse and eventually, was recruited by Abdul Sattar Edhi for his charity organization.
Soon after, recognizing her talents, Edhi tasked her with leading the nursing department where she would further prove her abilities. Highly Impressed, Edhi sent her a marriage proposal, which she accepted. However, their honeymoon would turn out to be far from the ordinary. Right after their wedding, a minor girl with head injuries was found at their dispensary and their time was spent tending to her wounds and keeping her well. That girl today is alive and well with a family of her own now.
Later on, she took over the management other jhoolas project, the initiative her husband started to save the lives of unwanted infants. Infanticide remains an issue in parts of the country mainly due to factors such as poverty. The jhoolas project is helping save thousands of young children from the sad faith.
Like her husband, she leads a simple and humble life, residing with him at his small two-bedroom apartment over his clinic. Together with him, she jointly received Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service and both, even in their old age, remain committed to helping the poor and the unwanted throughout the country and the wider world.