Google paid homage to late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi on his 89th birth anniversary on Tuesday with a doodle depicting his organisation's welfare services.
The doodle shows Edhi, who passed away in July last year, standing in his characteristically simple attire. An Edhi ambulance and Edhi Home shelter can be seen in the background.
Describing the doodle, Google said the "Angel of Mercy" Edhi was being honoured for making it his life's mission to help others.
"The Edhi foundation has helped thousands of people around the world in times of need, including survivors of Hurricane Katrina and thousands of Pakistani orphans.
"In celebration of Abdul Sattar Edhi, let's all lend a hand to someone in need today."
The Mountain View, California-based Google frequently changes the colorful logo on its famously Spartan homepage to mark anniversaries or significant events or pay tribute to artists, scientists, statesmen and others.
Edhi’s journey
Born to a family of traders in Gujarat, Edhi arrived in Pakistan in 1947.
The state’s failure to help his struggling family care for his mother – paralysed and suffering from mental health issues – was his painful and decisive turning point towards philanthropy.
In the sticky streets in the heart of Karachi, Edhi, full of idealism and hope, opened his first clinic in 1951. “Social welfare was my vocation, I had to free it,” he says in his autobiography, ‘A Mirror To The Blind’.
Motivated by a spiritual quest for justice, over the years Edhi and his team created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters and homes for the elderly – all aimed at helping those who cannot help themselves.
The most prominent symbols of the foundation – its 1,500 ambulances – are deployed with unusual efficiency to the scene of terrorist attacks that tear through the country with devastating regularity.
A national hero
Revered by many as a national hero, Edhi created a charitable empire out of nothing. He masterminded Pakistan’s largest welfare organisation almost single-handedly, entirely with private donations.
Content with just two sets of clothes, he slept in a windowless room of white tiles adjoining the office of his charitable foundation. Sparsely equipped, it had just one bed, a sink and a hotplate.
“He never established a home for his own children,” his wife Bilquis, who manages the foundation’s homes for women and children, told AFP in an interview last year.
What he has established is something of a safety net for the poor and destitute, mobilising the nation to donate and help take action – filling a gap left by a lack of welfare state.
Edhi was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and appeared on the list again last year – put there by Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan’s teenage Nobel laureate.