Sindhutai Sapkal is a well known Indian social worker and social activist, who had work for raising orphan children. She has received 100’s of awards for her social work. She is known as Mai by her children.
Early Life & Background/ Personal life
Sindhutai was born on 14th November 1948 at Wardha in Maharashtra. She attended school only till 4th standard. At the age of 9, she got married to 30 year old man. While turning 20, she had given birth to 3 sons. Her husband left her when she was nine months pregnant with her fourth child. She even tried to commit suicide twice.
Social Work Journey
She put up a campaigning against a local strongman who was fleecing the villagers on collection of dried cow dung used as fuel in India and selling it in collusion with forest department, without paying anything to the villagers. Her campaign was successful and later the district collector passed an order on the favor of villagers. That man couldn’t bare the insult of the defeat by the hands of a poor woman and so he convince Sindhutai’s husband to abandon her when she was pregnant with his fourth child. Later, she struggled a lot and gave a birth to a baby girl in a cow shelter all by herself. She took her baby girl along with her and went at her mother’s place but even she refuse to shelter her. Then she tried committing suicide twice on a railway station.
Then she started begging on railway platform and there she realized that there are so many children who are orphans or abandoned by their families who struggles for survival at the very young age. She decided to adopt them and to protect them as her own children. She started working more vigorously to feed them and become a mother of those children. She then started to welcome everyone who came across to her as an orphan.
She dedicated herself in the process of orphan kids and thus to focus on this work, she donated her biological daughter to Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai Trust in Pune. She set up her first ashram at Mamta Bal Sadan at Saswad. Now she has 5 ashrams/organizations named ‘Sanmati Bal Niketan’, ‘Mai’s Ashram’, ‘Gangadharbaba Chhatralaya’ and ‘Sapt Sindhu Mahila Adhar, Balsangopan Aani Shikshan Sanstha’.
Sindhutai was fondly called as ‘Maai’ by her orphan children. She has devoted her entire life for orphans and has taken care of over 1,000 children by providing them with food, shelter and education. As of today, she has a grand family of 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1000 grandchildren. Many oSet featured imagef the children whom she adopted are well-educated some are lawyers, while some are doctors. Her biological daughter and her other children are helping Sindhutai and are running their own independent orphanages.
Sindhutai has been honoured with over 272 awards for her contribution in improving orphans’ life and reshaping the social structure. In 2010, she was honored with Ahilyabai Holkar Award by the Maharashtra State Government to social workers in the field of woman and child welfare. She used all that money to buy land to make a home for her orphan children in Pune. She named it as ‘Sanmati Bal Niketan’ and around 300 children will reside over there.
Navrang Prakashan published the autobiography of Sindhutai Sapkal named as ‘Me Vanvasi’.
In 2010, a film was made on a real life of Sindhutai named ‘Mee Sindhutai Sapkal’. The film was selected for the world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.