Inspirational Story of Sindhutai Sapkal for Social Entrepreneurs
Sindhutai Sapkal is known as “Mother of Orphans”. She is an Indian Social worker, Social Entrepreneur, and social activist known for her work for orphan children in India.
She is Doctorate in Literature by DY Patil Institute of Technology and Research in 2016. She is honoured by Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2017.
Early life and education:
Sindhutai Sapkal was born on 14th November 1948 in Maharashtra’s Wardha district. She was born in cattle grazing family. She was an unwanted child and was referred to as Chindhi. (torn piece of cloth.)
Her father was keen on educating Sindhutai, against the wishes of her mother. His father Abhimanji, used to send her school under the pretext of cattle grazing.
She used ‘leaf of Bharadi Tree’ as a slate. Because she could not afford real slat due to her family’s financial condition. She passed her fourth standard and then had to leave school because of poverty, family responsibility and early marriage.
Marriage and early work:
She got married to a twenty-year-old man in Wardha District at the age of twelve. She faced a difficult life after marriage but did not lose hope. She fought against the exploitation of local women, who collected cow dung, by the forest department and landlords at her new home.
Moreover, that made things more difficult for her. By the age of twenty, she became mother of three sons. Her husband beat her badly and left to die at the age of twenty, when she was nine month pregnant.
She gave a birth to a baby girl Mamta in that semi-conscious state.She took to begging on the streets and railway platforms to survive.
She often spent the night at cemeteries to get rid of being picked by men. She was called ghost as she was seen in the cemeteries at night.
In tussle to survive, she found herself in Chikaldara, in the Amravati district of Maharastra. 84 tribal villages were evacuated due to a tiger preserve project.
A living example of humanity
Sindhutai decided to fight for proper rehabilitation of the helpless tribal villagers. The Minister of Forests acknowledged her effort and after that, he made appropreat arrangements for alternative relocation.
With no hope, she walked several kilometres away to her mother, but she refuse to shelter her. She started begging for food at railway platform.
There she realised that, there are so many children there who were abandoned by their parents. She adopted them and start begging to feed them also.
She decided to become mother of anyone and everyone across her as an orphan. Later she donated her own daughter to the trust Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune, only to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her own daughter and the adopted ones.
Sindhutai Sapkal Later Work:
She devoted her entire life to orphans. As a result, she is called “Mai” (Mother) fondly. She has nurtured more than 1,050-orphaned children.
Now she has a grand family of 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law, and over a thousand grandchildren. Still, she is fighting for the next meal.
Many of her adopted children are highly educated. She has been honored with more than 273 awards for her work.
She used award money to buy and for home for her children. Sanmati Bal Niketan is being built in Manjari at Hadapsar, Pune. Over 300 children will reside there.
The Lady who begged on streets
Her husband came back to her apologetically at the age of 80 and she accepted him as her child. If you visit her ashram, she proudly introduces him as her oldest child.
As a person, she is very powerful inspiration with no negative emotions. In 2010, from a biopic inspired by her real story, a Marathi film “Me Sindhutai Sapkal” was released. That film was selected for its world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.
She fought for the rehabilitation of 84 villages. For that, she met Chhedilal Gupta, Minister of Forests at that time.
He agreed with her and when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi arrived to inaugurate the tiger project, Sindhutai showed her blind Adivasi’s photos.
She told her that the forest department pays compensation if a cow or hen was killed by a wild animal, so why not a human being?
Read also: Social stories from Indian social entrepreneurs
Moreover, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi immediately ordered compensation. As she realized the plight of orphaned and orphaned Adivasi children, she took care of them. It is her mission to look after them.
Sindhutai Sapkal’s social entrepreneurial journey is nothing less than an inspiration. We hope you find the inspiring success story of Indian social entrepreneurs useful and inspiring through your entrepreneurial journey and will keep you inspired.
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