Mangalore, August 15, 2014: The family founded non-profit Organization, the International Institute for Public Policy (IIPP) has unanimously selected Dr. Olinda Pereira as Outstanding Community Leader for the year 2013-2014. A beautifully engraved Crystal memento will be flown from the U.S.A. to Mangalore and will be presented to Dr. Olinda Pereira at a ceremonial occasion during the course of this year along with a cash award of Rupees One Lakh that Dr. Olinda can utilize for any noble and worthy cause of her choice.
Dr. Olinda Pereira has been a tremendous source of inspiration to so many thousands, specially the elderly, throughout her life time. Her contribution towards Social Work added with her dedication towards Education is a tall story that can run into several yards and need be shared with many at this auspicious occasion. We were privileged to hold a private audience with Dr. Jacintha D’Souza who is the Provincial of Daughters of the Heart of Mary - India Province South, who was kind enough to share with us some of the noteworthy accomplishments of Dr. Olinda Pereira and all her hitherto contributions towards life. It would therefore be highly appropriate to reproduce the message from Dr. Jacintha D’Souza so that all our readers may be able to understand the exemplary life of Dr. Olinda Pereira:-
Honouring Dr. Olinda Pereira
“The Lord has done marvels in and through Dr. Olinda Pereira, Holy is His Name”
Dr. Olinda Pereira (affectionately called Olinda) hails from Falnir, Mangalore. Olinda is the youngest of 3 sisters. Vida was an Apostolic Carmel nun and Cynthia the mother of four children. Olinda made her First Vows in the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary (DHM) on the day of her birth anniversary, which is also the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady and our country’s Independence Day. Wonderful are the ways of how Olinda was led to become a DHM. In 1959, M. Paiva Couceiro, the pioneer of our Society in India, came to Mangalore and met Olinda. In 1960, Olinda went to Paris from Rome, where she had attended a meeting. That is when she entered our Society and completed her novitiate in Paris. She made her First Profession on 15th August 1962.
Olinda had from the start imbibed the charism of our Society of responding to the needs of time and place. The School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, which is a pioneer Institute in the field of Social Work education in Karnataka was her vision and dream, which saw the light of day because of her persevering efforts.
Availability and deep faith, which are characteristics of a true DHM have been clearly manifested in Olinda’s life. Accepting the mission to lead the School of Social Work in Mangalore when Arline A’Hearn could not return to India, Olinda not only started the MSW programme but also the BA programme with job oriented subjects and got the recognition for Ph.D in Social Work . All this was feasible because of the unstinted support received from M. Paiva Couceiro, the Management and many stalwarts, some of whom she often recalls like Bishop Raymond D’Mello , Dr. K. Shrimali, Vice Chancellor , Shri K.R. Ramchandran, IAS, Registrar, Shri S. Adiga, Syndicate Member of Mysore University.
Like our Foundress, Marie Adelaide de Cice, Olinda has a great love and compassion for the marginalized sections and the grassroot workers. Thus she ventured on untrodden paths by establishing the Urban Community Development centre at Bolar, the Fibre Centre, School for the Blind, Home Science Institute, the Family Service Agency and the Anganwadi Training Centre at Ullal. The ambience at Roshni, Bolar and Ullal provided for the holistic growth of students, which the alumni recall even today with great nostalgia.
Olinda has promoted Women’s Education and Development in several states in our country. She has left an indelible mark in the state of Karnataka, India and overseas, for which she has received awards both in India and abroad.
Olinda’s total availability for any type of service took her to Delhi after superannuation. She set up a working women’s hostel with funds from the ministry. There were many challenges faced to set up this hostel but Olinda was undaunted by them. From the nation’s capital to another continent , Africa, Olinda was sent to Nairobi on a new assignment. Her creativity brought out the best in that place.
Retirement is not part of Olinda’s vocabulary. So back in Mangalore in 1998, as a true DHM, Olinda responded to the needs of the present times i.e. the elderly, by providing training for geriatric caregivers and in 2003 getting a 24 hour helpline 1090. Olinda as director of Vishwas Trust has day care centres and friendly neighbourhood groups. Her dream of the Golden Age Eco Village at Fermai, which is nearing completion, has a comprehensive plan for the all round care of the elderly.
Olinda’s generosity has no bounds. She has not only helped students and families in their hour of need but also visited them and listened to their joys and sorrows. Even at this age, Olinda offers her valuable guidance and service when called upon. True to the kingdom values of Justice, Peace and Love, Olinda treats every person with dignity irrespective of caste, creed or colour. I pray for God’s choicest blessings on dear Dr. Olinda Pereira and the cause she is so much committed to.
By Dr. Jacinta D’Souza, Provincial , Daughters of the Heart of Mary, India Province South