Sindhutai Sapkal

The Maii to many

Sindhutai’s story is based around her belief in fairness. Barely in her teens, she exposed the wrong doings of a strongman in her village, for which she paid a heavy price. Shunned by her husband, she took to begging as the last resort to sustain her infant daughter. And that step changed her life.

Here is a woman who challenged what it means to be called an “orphan”. Sindhutai, or “Maii” as the kids fondly call her, has devoted her life to being a mother figure to thousands of orphan children. And she embraces and nurtures them all, without any distinction!

Her strong maternal instinct stems from a childhood where she was unwanted herself. But this didn’t deter her from living a life devoted to helping others! Barely in her teens, she rescued her simple village folk by exposing the wrongdoings of a strongman who was fleecing them. He later exacted his revenge by convincing her husband to abandon her while she was pregnant.

Shunned by her family, she took to begging as a last resort to sustain herself and her infant daughter. And once again, her realisation of the unfairness of the world came to the fore in the form of the abandoned kids on the street. She took it upon herself to right the wrongs, even if only slightly. She provided these innocent little children a shield from the harsh world - providing them with warmth, compassion and a sense of belonging.

Slowly, the kids under her wing, or should we say, “aanchal”, grew to reach the thousands. In a noble deed, she even asked a trust to take over the care of biological daughter - lest the other kids feel any favouritism towards her. Today, quite a number of her fostered children have gone on to find jobs and earn an honest living.

And this is how Sindhutai, a woman who never had her fair share of love in her formative years, found enough in her heart to share with countless others!

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