Dr. Ruth Pfau’s Profile

On the authority of the Chancellor of Aga Khan University, His Highness the Aga Khan, and the Board of Trustees, honorary degree was conferred upon Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau in 2004.

Ruth Pfau
Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Piau receives honorary degree, AKU Convocation 2004

Dr. Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau was born on September 9, 1929 in Leipzig, Germany.

She grew up seeing the horrors of the Second World War (1939-1945) during which her city was bombed and her home destroyed. When the war ended, millions of people had been killed or went missing. Her country, in a state of ruins was finally divided into East Germany and West Germany.

In 1948 she had to cross the demarcation line illegally from East Germany (then under Russian occupation) to West Germany to pursue her education as a medical student.

In the 1950s she studied medicine at the universities of Mainz and Marburg in West Germany.

After her graduation she joined the catholic order of the ‘Daughters of the Heart of Mary’.

Dr Ruth Pfau at the age of 34
Dr Ruth Pfau at the age of 34

She left her native country Germany and stopped in Karachi on her way to India on 8th March 1960. She was being sent to a Mission Station in India by her Congregation but due to some visa problems she broke journey in Karachi and here she was introduced to the leprosy work. On her first visit to the Leprosy patient’s colony at McLeod Road (now I. I. Chundrigar Road) she got so depressed with the situation that she resolved on the spot to join the group and help the affected Leprosy patients.

Dawn.com feature: Dr Ruth Pfau: Light to Pakistan’s lepers

Express Tribune Feature: Dr Ruth Pfau: The magic healer

Dr Ruth Pfau examining a patient in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Dr Ruth Pfau examining a patient in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center
AKU Newsletter April 2005

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

One thought

  1. Very sorry to inform the readers that Dr. Ruth Pfau died yesterday in Karachi. She was accorded State Funeral on the instruction of Prime Minister of Pakistan. For her long services, she was awarded Hilal e Imtiaz and highest Civil award of Hilal e Pakistan also by the government of Pakistan. She will be missed by the people of Pakistan. May her soul rest in peace.


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