Sindhutai Sapkal fondly called as the “Mother of Orphans.” She’s an Indian social worker and activist known especially for her struggle, in bringing up orphans. Sindhu Tai has adopted and taken care of over 1200 orphaned children. They all lovingly call her ‘Mai.”
In our country, a substantial part of the population are children who are usually orphaned or abandoned and are forced to live in poverty. Furthermore, these orphans face continuous rejection from society.
Although Sindhutai was not an orphan her tale is a proof of identical dejection She was born on 14th November 1948. Sindhutai belonged to a cattle-grazing family in the Wardha district of Maharashtra. Her parents always considered her unnecessary and given aname ‘Chindi’ meaning a torn cloth. But the young girl wanted to educate herself. Her father supported her, but her mother opposed this wish. Therefore she was only able to complete her education till Class 4th. Moreover, at age of 12 years, she was married off to a man of 30 years belonging to her District.
Life after Marriage
Sindhutai is the best example of survival. Crushed under the chains of child marriage, Young Sindhutai never lost hope. Her new home wasNavargaon forest in Wardha after marriage, By the time she turned 20, she had three sons.
In her village, Local women who worked in the forest were exploited not only by the Forest department but also by landlords. She fought against the exploitation and wanted to help them. But fighting for those poor women changed her life for worse. On the false rumour of infidelity, she faced rejection from the community.
Eventually, the pregnant Sindhutai was mercilessly beaten and abandoned by her husband. On 14th October 1973,She had to give birth to her daughter Mamta in a cowshed.Nowhere to go,she went back to her father’s home, but her mother didn’t accept her.
Sindhutai felt lost and betrayed but she didn’t give up. She started begging and singing in trains as well as on the streets to make ends meet. Sindhutai started living on train stations, cowsheds and cemeteries.
While living on streets, platforms, etc. she came across many orphans. Their own Parents have abandoned them. Sapkal adopted them and started begging more in order to feed all of them. She was determined to serve who so ever came across to her as an orphan. Later she donated her biological daughter to a trust named Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai in Pune. She took this step in order to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her own child and these adopted orphans.
During these struggles, she laid the first stone of her fight in Chikaldara, situated in the Amravati district of Maharashtra. The Government had launched a tiger preservation project because of which 84 tribal villages we’re being evacuated. Sindhutai chooses to fight for reasonable rehabilitation of the helpless tribal citizens. The Minister of Forests accepted her requests and recommendations and made related arrangements for an option.
Setting up the Ashram
These experience of her made her more strong and dedicated toward social work especially for orphans and helpless women who are ignored. After years of hard work, she put up her first Ashram at Chikaldara. She travelled and raised money for her Orphanage. There were times that even arranging a day meal for her ashram was difficult.
Lack of funds was a continuous problem but she never stopped. In today’s time, several of her adopted children are lawyers and doctors who all along with her own daughter, are running these ashrams for Orphans.
Accolades for being Orphans Mother
Sindhu Tai Sapkal has received about 270 awards from numerous institutions. She has established many communities in Maharashtra to provide education and shelter to thousands of orphans. Though Sindhutai Sapkal had turned 67 she is relentlessly working towards this cause to shape the future of these orphans. In 2016, DY Patil Institute of Technology and Research best owed her with a degree in Doctorate in Literature and in 2017she received the Nari Shakti Puruskar.