Sindhutai Sapakal also known as ‘mother of orphans’ is Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for her work of raising orphan children. Famously called ‘Mother Terresa of Maharashtra’ or ‘Mai’ in Marathi she has raised 1050 orphan childern and has a grand family of 207 son-in-laws and 36 daughter-in-laws. In her 45 years of relentless service she has been awarded with more than 750 awards.
Sindhutai was born and brought up in Pimpri Meghe village in Wardha district of Maharashtra and was daughter of a cowherd Abhimanji Sathe. From an early age she was very inquisitive, intelligent child with the sense of right or wrong. She was her father’s favorite but was unwanted by her mother and was therefore being called Chindi (a small piece of rag). Married was as early as at 9 years of age education had been denied to her but she took every chance to read. At the age of 20 after facing brutalities from her husband she left the house. When she went to her home her father had already left her and her mother refused to take her inside. She was left all by herself. Abject poverty and dismal conditions made her suffer a lot.
Begging by day along the railway tracks and hiding by night in the nearby crematorium grounds- it was grim existence. The railway tracks took her into uncharted territory, even as she begged and sang bhajans for the passengers. She began to experience that there were so many children without parents begging on the streets or left alone somewhere in search of food. This gave her a purpose and she decided to give others what she was deprived of. She would plead people to allow her to sing bhajans in their functions. This way she managed to give her children food.
In few days she gained fame and also earned good amount to enable her and her children to eat food sufficiently. In 1984, ten years after the birth of her daughter she registered her first trust in Chikhaldhara. Her strategy is simple. She makes public speeches on various platforms and appeals to people to contribute for this kind cause. With the help of government’s Child welfare committee children are able to get proper homes. A Marathi movie named ‘Mee Sindhutai Sapkal’ was released on her life in 2010. We must all salute her for the sheer committement and hard work with which she undertakes her work.