The 80 year old mother of 800 abandoned girls #IndianHeroes

The cradle in front of her gate may bring a smile to your face initially until you understand the implications; it is where people come to place female babies they are abandoning.
That cradle was placed there in the mid-80s as a plea to the public NOT TO KILL the girl child and to instead place the baby in the cradle if the parents did not want it.

Even today, three decades later, it is still there. And it is still saving young girls.

Dr Sarojini Agarwal's daughter Manisha was eight years old in 1978 when the child died in a tragic road accident, riding pillion behind her mother. For a long time, Sarojini wept for her loss until finally she found inspiration from her own inner voice.

"You won't get Manisha back this way. Open your eyes and look. There are so many unfortunate gilrs who have nobody to call them your Manishas... be the mother of these children." 

In 1984, that thought would eventually develop into 'Manisha Mandir' presently in Gomti Nagar, Uttar Pradesh; a home for orphaned destitute girls where Sarojini provided food, shelter and clothing for every child in addition to educating them and making them self-reliant.

Unlike orphanages, here all the children live as a single family, united by a common surname (Bharity) and finally having someone to call Mummy.


In over 30 years, Dr Sarojini Agarwal had raised over 800 abandoned girls.


All the girls are admitted to prominent schools in the area because Sarojini knows that 'good education alone can liberate girls from the hardships of society.' The girls are raised, educated and cared for and encouraged to lead independent lives once they turn 18, with many having been successfully reintegrated back into society in meaningful positions as principals, teachers, bank managers and other professionals.

In over 30 years, Dr Sarojini Agarwal had raised over 800 abandoned girls.


Even as she and her husband live in a single room within the compound, Sarojini ensures that the girls do not want for anything. 

Manisha Mandir boasts its own library, computer lab, function halls, dormitories, a badminton court and garden. In addition to donations from kind philanthropists, she rents a function hall in the campus to meet the needs of Manisha Mandir.

From children rescued from brothels to those whose parents passed away, over 34 years, Sarojini - known in her locality as 'Maa' - has looked after 800 girls. 


Even today, in her 80s now, the zest to save every child who comes to the cradle at her gate remains. With National Awards for Child Welfare and a Mother India Award among her laurels, Dr Sarojini Agarwal is a true inspiration for those looking to turn their life around after facing their worst moment in life. 

With National Awards for Child Welfare and a Mother India Award amongst her laurels, Dr Sarojini Agarwal is a true inspiration for those looking to turn their life around after facing their worst moment in life.
You can read more about her and help her here at the Manisha Mandir website


Author's note:


For the last few years, I have been maintaining a list of real life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion from across the world. The aim, of course, is to restore faith in humanity for those who need it most.

This month, for the #MyFriendAlexa challenge, I will be showcasing local heroes from across the country who make a difference with their kindness. Yes, it is a Heroes of Kindness - Indian edition!

I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.

25 Comments

  1. That is such a wonderful and kind gesture. What a beautiful way of dealing with one's own pain. May we have more people like her.

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    1. It is one of the toughest things to channel pain into selflessness

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  2. Salute to her spirit. Most of the times we are so immersed in our own grief that we fail to see beyond that. Here's a lady who channelized her pain into something philanthropic.

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    1. Exactly. That is why she is on my list.

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  3. Thank God there are people like these to help the many who have few to help them.

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    1. This woman literally saves lives left to die... Hard to imagine

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  4. 800 girls!! now she is true Hero, to save and impact so many lives. Thank you for sharing this amazing story.

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    1. All i can do is share these stories... It is a small thing compared to what these heroes do day in and out.

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  5. What an amazing lady! Heroes like these need to be celebrated. Thank you doc for sharing her heart-warming story of kindness.

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    1. The aim is definitely to find and showcase many more before the year end.

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  6. Great women who turned her pain into empathy for others.

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    1. Exactly. That makes her an even bigger hero in my books.

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  7. Salute her indomitable spirit. I'm from Lucknow, and have family in Gomtinagar but didn't know of this wonderful philanthropist. Thank you for sharing her inspiring story, Doc.

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    1. Many of these heroes i find are actually unknown within their own locality and city.. Part of what we do is awareness.

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  8. Wow Wow Wow!!!

    This is such an amazing story of kindness and selflessness! I am so delighted to read about this brave woman who has so much of herself to give to these girls!

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    1. I know. This feels so unique.. Sad really that she doesn't get more limelight.

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  9. A true hero indeed! Why don't our newspapers cover stories like these?

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    1. Newspapers relegate these stories to the inner pages and often just a para or two. Imagine if it were the front page instead

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  10. At the outset I must say this idea that you have chosen to work and working diligently to give the voice the thrust to the unknown. A part of the wonderful effort that each one of us can do our bit and then we make the society a better place for all of us. She is indeed an inspiration par excellence and that her dogged determination and doing with such deep compassion and care. We all face different set of challenges and hurdles in our life and many times we succumb to such difficult and lose the plot of our life. But those like her turn that tragedy into a mission and set the ball rolling and craft a new future for themselves and for others who need that helping hand to cross the river...kudos to her.
    Wishing you great success in this noble endeavor.
    :D

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  11. I love the series.
    These people give us so much hope in a world with abundance of hatred

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  12. Oh wow, didn't about her! She is a true hero in every sense. A mother is always a mother. She lost her own flesh and blood but made sure she brings up many who have abandoned. Roshan, you are doing a wonderful job of bringing such people to limelight, they deserve it. Even we deserve to know such people who are doing so much for the humanity in their own way.

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  13. Oh my god, so damn inspiring! We need more such people in the world!

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  14. Truly inspiring! Thanks to you Roshan for bringing in such marvelous stories of kindness on your blog. It is always a pleasure to come over to your blog and read such positive stuff

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