There are over 30 million orphaned or abandoned children in India and one-third of them live on the streets with no one to care for them. Sounds like a cruel twist of fate but when one door closes, another one opens and in this case, it’s in the form of Sindhutai who selflessly takes care of the homeless orphans.
Known to everybody as the “mother of all orphans”, she is a living example of how pure love and sacrifice can strive to make a difference.
Dejected by society and in the middle of a crisis herself, she extended her hand to care for over 1400 homeless children without blinking an eye.
Stories of her immense grit and spirited soul are endless but let us start from the very beginning.
Accounts from her early life
Born in 1948 to a poor cowherd in the Wardha district of Maharashtra, she was the unwanted girl child who was nicknamed “chindhi” which is a torn piece of cloth. Extreme poverty forced her to quit formal education and get married at the age of 10 to a man 20 years elder to her. But her struggles had just started.
Under the influence of a local strongman, her husband abandoned her while she was heavily pregnant at the age of 20. With nowhere to go in that condition, she was forced to give birth in a cow shelter and cut her umbilical cord with a sharp stone.
Yes, as harsh and painful as it sounds, she managed to survive it and sought aid from her mother. But she was turned down and ostracized from society.
Committing suicide did cross her mind but she decided against it and started begging in railway stations to feed her newborn.
That’s when Sindhutai realized that there are hundreds of abandoned and orphaned children on the streets who were all alone and although she was homeless herself, she decided to adopt each and every one of them and beg more extensively to take care of them. Since then there was no looking back.
Her love and dedication towards her adopted children were so much that she sent her own biological daughter to an orphanage in Pune to eliminate any partiality.
Sindhutai’s Social Work
Till date, she has successfully nurtured over 1400 homeless children, as per sources, out of whom many went on to become well-educated lawyers and doctors and one is even doing a Ph.D. on her life!
Sindhutai’s larger-than-life family consists of 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law and over a thousand grandchildren!
Never heard of a family so huge right?
And still, she refuses to stop.
Sindhutai has six organizations working under her name to care for the needs of India’s orphans. Some of the organizations are: the Abhiman Bal Bhavan, Mamata Bai Sadan, and Mai’s Ashram Chikhaldhara.
She gives speeches at various social events where she is invited and whatever money she earns is utilized to nurture her children.
She has been given over 500 awards for her social work including the Social Worker of the Year Award 2016 and the Nari Shakti Award 2017 but whatever amount she receives is invested in constructing a house for her innumerable adopted children.
There is absolutely no limit to her motherly love and compassion. What more, she even forgave her octogenarian husband when he came to her apologizing after so many years!
People like Sindhutai continue to be an example of how one can make a difference even when one has limited resources. All we need is the heart to give.
Images Source: Google Images