|Born||14 November 1948
Wardha, Maharashtra India
|Other names||Mother of orphans|
|Known for||Raising orphan children|
|Children||One Biological Girl and 3 Male Child
Early Life & EducationShe was born on 14 November 1948 at Pimpri Meghe village in Wardha district, Maharashtra to Abhimanji Sathe, a cowherd by profession. Being an unwanted child, she was nicknamed 'Chindhi' (torn piece of cloth). Her father was keen on educating Sindhutai, much against the wishes of her mother. Abhimanji used to send her to school under the pretext of cattle grazing, where she would use 'leaf of Bharadi Tree' as a slate as she could not afford a real slate because of financial reasons. Abject poverty, family responsibilities & an early marriage forced her to quit formal education after she passed 4th grade.
Marriage & Early WorkAt the tender age of 10, she got married to Shrihari Sapkal alias Harbaji, a 30 year old cowherd from Navargaon village in Wardha District. She bore 3 sons by the time she turned 20. She put up a successful agitation against a local strongman who was fleecing the villagers on collection of dried cow dung used as fuel in India and selling it in collusion with forest department, without paying anything to the villagers. Her agitation brought the district collector to her village and on realizing she was right, he passed an order which the strongman did not like. Stung by the insult at the hands of a poor woman, he managed to convince her husband to abandon her when she was beyond 9 months of her pregnancy. She gave birth to a baby girl on 14 October 1973 in a cow shelter outside their house that night,all by herself and walked few kilometers away to her mother's place, who refused to shelter her. She had to set aside the thought of suicide and started begging on railway platforms for food. In the process, she realized that there are so many children abandoned by their parents and she adopted them as her own and started begging even more vigorously to feed them. She decided to become a mother to anyone and everyone who came across to her as an orphan. She later donated her biological child to the trust Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune, only to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her daughter and the adopted ones.
Later WorkShe has devoted her entire life for orphans. As a result she is fondly called §‘Mai’(mother). She has nurtured over 1050 orphaned children. As of today, she has a grand family of 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1000 grandchildren. Still she continues to fight for the next meal. Many of the children whom she adopted are well-educated lawyers and doctors, and some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanages. One of her children is doing a Ph.D. on her life. She has been honoured with over 272 awards for her dedication and work including 2010 - Ahilyabai Holkar Award, given by the Maharashtra State Government to social workers in the field of woman and child welfare. She used all that money to buy land to make a home for her orphan children. Construction has started and she is still looking for more help from the world. Sanmati Bal Niketan is being built in Manjari locality at Hadapsar, Pune where over 300 children will reside. There is lot of work to be done for making sure a good living condition but also to secure their future by providing quality education as well. A marathi film 'Mee Sindhutai Sapkal' released in 2010, is a bio-pic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal. The film was selected for world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival. She is a great orator and She has orphanages & trust operating in western state of Maharashtra.
At the age of 80, her husband came back to her apologetically. She accepted him as her child stating she is only a mother now! If you visit her ashram, she proudly and very affectionately introduces him as her oldest child! In person, she comes across as an unlimited source of energy and very powerful inspiration, with absolutely no negative emotions or blaming anybody.
- Sanmati Bal Niketan, Bhelhekar Vasti, Hadapsar, Pune
- Mamata Bal Sadan, Kumbharvalan, Saswad
- Mai's Ashram Chikhaldara, Amravati
- Abhiman Bal Bhavan, Wardha
- Gangadharbaba Chhatralaya, Guha
- Saptsindhu’ Mahila Adhar, Balsangopan Aani Shikshan Sanstha, Pune
AwardsTotal 273 awards
- 2013 The National Award for Iconic Mother ---- (first recipient) 
- 2012 Real Heroes Awards,given by CNN-IBN & Reliance Foundation.
- COEP Gaurav Purskar, given by College Of Engineering, Pune (started from 2012).
- 2010 - Ahilyabai Holkar Award, given by the Government of Maharashtra to social workers in the field of woman and child welfare 
- 2008 - Woman of the Year Award, given by daily marathi newspaper Loksatta
- Sahyadri Hirkani Award (Marathi: सह्याद्रीची हिरकणी पुरस्कार)
- Rajai Award (Marathi: राजाई पुरस्कार)
- Shivlila Mahila Gourav Award (Marathi: शिवलीला महिला गौरव पुरस्कार)
- Dattak Mata Puraskar - 1996 - Given by Non Profit Organization - By Sunita Kalaniketan Trust (In the memories of - Late Sunita Trimbak Kulkarni ), Tal - Shrirampur Dist Ahmednagar. Maharashtra Pune.
List of Works
- Mee Vanvasi, Navrang Prakashan - Autobiography
LegacyThe 2010 marathi film Mee Sindhutai Sapkal by Anant Mahadevan is a bio-pic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal. The film was selected for world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.