How can you imagine a single mother taking care of so many children when things have come to such a pass that a mother recognizes only her children and has all love lost for the children who are not born of her. But this story is of an extraordinary mother, fondly known as ‘mai’ or mother, Sindhutai Sapkal was thrown on streets and lived hand-to-mouth but even then she begged and cared for every abandoned and orphan child she came across, gradually becoming a heroic mother to over 1000.
Sindhutai Satpati a Marathi woman, is an exception to the established norms set by modern society as she has more than a thousand innocent children coming from very poor families as well as those who lost their parents at a very tender age. For these unfortunate children she is really something exceptional and even greater than a mother. Known as one of the bravest person born in India she began taking up children’s cause right from her journey from streets of India where children also are part of those unlucky people who are fated to live an unwanted life.
Sindhutai was married at just 10 years of age to a man 20 years her senior. By the time she was 20 years, she had given birth to three children. Her husband threw her out of home when she was over nine months pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter in a cow shed all by herself, cutting her child’s umbilical cord by a sharp stone lying nearby.
She reached a railway station and even tried to commit suicide, a bid that she tried twice on her life but considering that it will ruin the lives of two people she cold shouldered her plans and it was a turning point in her amazing journey of life.
Sindhutai Sapkal was married at the age of 12, her husband was 21 years elder to her and often beat her.
She started begging on the streets to feed her daughter. It was then that she came across other abandoned children on the streets, felt for them and adopted them. “When I was out myself on the streets begging for food and fighting for survival each day, I realized that there are so many orphans who have nobody to go to. I decided to take care of them and raise them as my own,” Sindhutai told Better India.
In her next course of life she realized that there are many children who are orphans or who are abandoned by their parents. She was an unwanted child herself and the hardships of life prompted her to take the cause of children facing similar situations. Upon this realization she started begging more earnestly, so that she can feed all the children who had no one to look after them. She thus became a ‘mother of orphans’.
She was abandoned by her husband when she was 20 and above nine months pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter in a cow shed all by herself.
She didn’t want to be partial to her child so she gave her daughter to a trust and devoted her entire life to orphans. Till today she has taken care of over 1400 children with shelter, education and above all care and love. She has got them married and done everything possible to help them settle down in life.
“By God’s grace I had good communication skills. I could go and talk to people and influence them. Hunger made me speak and this became my source of income. I give many speeches at various places and this gets me some money which I use to take care of my children,” she told Better India.
To feed her daughter she started begging in streets and it’s here that she came across orphaned and abandoned children.
For her immense courage, sacrifices and work with children, Sindutai has received over 500 awards. She used all her prize money to build homes for her children. She has six organisations working under her name.
“I had no one with me, everyone abandoned me. I knew the pain of being alone and unwanted. I didn’t want anyone to go through the same. And I feel immense pride and pleasure to see some of my children doing so well in their lives. One of my children made a documentary on my life,” she said.
Her life’s story was made into a movie in Marathi called “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal” – it also won a national award in 2010.
She started begging more earnestly to feed these children on the streets and thus became ‘mother of orphans’
She has received many awards and has used all her prize money to build homes for children.
Many of the children brought up in shelters homes have also become doctors and are serving on more important posts. She utilizes all the money she receives through charity in buying land, constructing homes and providing education for children.
Sindhutai Sapkal deserves a grand salute for her urgency and dedication to serve the human kind! Her story inspires everyone with courage, self-belief and gives a strong message of compassion towards everyone.