Dr Olinda Pereira (95), the founder of Principal School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, Mangaluru and founder of Vishwas Trust, passed away on Sunday. She is known for introducing social work education in Karnataka.
Born into a Catholic family on August 15, 1925, Olinda was the youngest daughter of Martin and Lily. She received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from St. Agnes College, followed by a Bachelor of Education degree (B Ed) from St Ann’s. She taught in St. Mary’s High School for 12 years. She then went on to complete her MA in psychology from Banaras Hindu University.
She joined French religious congregation Daughter of the Heart of Mary and travelled to Paris in 1961 for her religious formation.
When she returned, she was part of the founding team of School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya and served as Founder Principal of the college from 1961 to 1982. She was awarded a PhD by Mysore University for her thesis on the adjustment problems of pre-adolescents.
School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya was the first of its kind educational institution in the state and was affiliated to Mangalore University. The institution started off with a diploma course in social work. Later, the University sanctioned a postgraduate degree Masters in Social Work. The graduate course of Bachelor’s in Social Work was sanctioned in 1972 with the intake limit of 50 students. In 2007, the college became autonomous.
Post retirement, Dr Olinda went on to start Institute for Working Women’s Hostel and Women’s Development Centre in Delhi. She stayed in Delhi until 1991 and was then transferred to Nairobi where she set up a new Provincial House. She returned to Delhi in 1994.
Upon returning to Mangalore, she started working for the causes of senior citizens. She founded Vishwas Trust in 1999. With Vishwas, she spearheaded the cause of senior citizens. Vishwas provides daycare facilities for the elderly and also trains people to treat and provide geriatric care. Vishwas also runs a 24-hour helpline for the elderly in collaboration with Pandeshwar Police Station.
Dr Olinda also served as the president of the National Committee on Women. Her publications included 'Understanding Children', 'Adjustment and its Correlation among Pre Adolescents' and 'Domestic Workers' Struggle'.
She was honoured with Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada in 1979, Women Achiever Award from St Agnes College in 1997, Sandesha Award for Social Service in 2002; Rachana Woman of the Year in 2008, Veera Rani Abbakka Award (for Social Service) and Karavali Honorary Award 2015-16.
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