Mangaluru: Jesuit Educationist, Nonagenarian Social Worker and Academician turned Social Activist, Awarded Outstanding Community Leaders

Mangaluru: In recognition for their social activism, selfless service to humanity and consistently working for public cause, Fr Ronnie Prabhu SJ., Sachitha Nandagopal and Joe Gonsalves have been nominated for the `Outstanding Community Leaders of Mangalore’ Award by International Institute for Public Policy (IIPP), an international organization based in Mangalore for the cause of policy implementation for public good. The announcement of the award is made on the eve of Independence Day every year by Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Houston/Dallas, Texas, USA, the Founders of International Orientation Centre and International Institute for Public Policy.

The annual award is presented to those who have worked selflessly for the cause of humanity in different fields of public life. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 50,000, citation and Crystal mementoes handpicked and shipped by Max Rasquinha from USA. Max has been a Mangalorean by heart who has been supportive to all the socially relevant activities in his home town though he has been away for more than 50 years now. The awards will be presented to the awardees in the due course of the year when the Philanthropist couple will be in their home town.

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“He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own” is a saying that may be aptly attributed to many a dignitary of Mangalore, for even from a distance one can observe, year after year, their dedicated service to the community. One can witness, moreover, their charity, generosity and nobility, animated by an attitude of selfless and joyful service. It is but proper that the community expresses its gratitude for all they have done for society by conferring on them timely awards, Remarks Max Rasquinha.

“We have in our list several such leaders who deserve to be recognized and honored. They are the prospective candidates for the award of recognition. But for practical reasons, we can select only a few each year to be the recipients of our award from the International Institute of Public Policy. Such timely recognitions are considered essential in order to encourage others to emulate their example and be motivated to render vibrant service to society”.

Max and Jessie Rasquinha are keen followers of all the developments taking place in their beloved home town of Mangalore. All the dignitaries that are dedicating their talents and efforts for our Community and our Society are always been noted and admired for future recognitions. Watching the greatness in others is a virtue of greatness in ourselves, says Max E Rasquinha. It is the Society that gains as an ultimate bargain.

Walter Nandalike, Eminent Singer and composer Wilfy Rebimbos, Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, Mnsgr. Fred Pereira, Bishop of Mangalore Dr Aloysius D’Souza, Social Work Educationist and activist Dr Olinda Pereira are among those who have received the `Outstanding Community Leaders’ award in the past.

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Fr Ronnie Prabhu, S.J. is a multi-faceted personality and an exceptionally gifted leader of our times. His contribution to the community extends over different areas of life – spirituality, education, counseling, youth animation, administration, inter-religious harmony, leadership training, etc. More than all of these, his capacity to make and retain friends from people in all walks of life is phenomenal. Rich or poor, young or old, educated or illiterate could easily approach him and claim him to be a friend. It is this magnetic quality of Fr Ronnie Prabhu’s personality that has impacted very many persons.

Born in 1940 in Mangalore, Fr Ronnie Prabhu had his schooling in St Aloysius College until he joined the Society of Jesus in 1957. He was an extraordinarily gifted student and always secured distinction in his academic studies including a gold medal in his Masters Degree in Philosophy. He humbly admitted that he was a “pampered child of God”, and felt that his life’s mission is to bring love, joy and peace into the hearts of the people he met.

The Society of Jesus, of which he was a valued member, reposed its trust in him by placing him in important positions of authority such as rector of St Joseph’s College, Bangalore, Mount St Joseph, Bangalore, St Aloysius College, Mangalore, and Provincial of Karnataka Jesuits. But whatever his status, Fr Ronnie Prabhu made it a point to reach out to every person and kindle in himor her the desire to excel and to serve. We are grateful to Fr Ronnie for all his services, particularly for the youth, whom he sought to mould into future leaders of our country.

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Sachitha Nandagopal is a passionate teacher who has come a long way from teaching journalism to heading an NGO dedicated to grooming personality of individuals, especially from the lesser privileged sections of the society. She is a teacher, a mentor, an administrator and a loving mother to many, including the elders of destitute old age homes in the city. As the Executive Director of Centre for Integrated Learning, she has been responsible in aiding her husband, a senior journalist himself to evolve strategies and interventions that add value to present education system.

A Post Graduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from Mangalore University, Sachitha has strived to give her best to her students as Head of Department of Journalism at Besant Women’s College, Mangalore, then as Principal of CMR Institute of Post Graduate Studies in Media Studies in Bangalore before quitting her lucrative career to work with children and youth in personality development and social sensitizing. From HIV Positive children to the orphans ; from Elders of Old Age Homes to the slum dwellers ; from affluent school and college students to housewives and professionals, she has reached out to all to bring the society closer and make it a better place to live in.

Sachitha has been active in other social circles including the Toastmasters International, having served as a successful President of Mangalore Toastmasters Club during the previous year. Through Centre for Integrated Learning, she along with her husband have reached out to thousands of students imparting them value based alternative education. She recently has joined the Centre of Ethics at Yenepoya University.

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Joe Gonsalves Born on January 1, in 1922 Joseph Gratian Gonsalves was a New Year’s gift to Cornelius Gonsalves and Pauline Pais of Milagres Parish. In fact most of the cherished events of Joe’s life are associated with the Milagres church.

Better career prospects took Joe to Mumbai where he joined as a management trainee in the prestigious J L Morrison and Company Limited, which had its head office in London and branches in principal Indian metros. He also served as head of branches in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkotta and finally he was brought back to Mumbai as the head of all branches in India. The Company sent him to London for advanced training and for the first time a wife was sent along with the husband on training.

Due to his extraordinary talent, skill coupled with hard work he rose from position to position to be elevated to the position of General Sales Manager lending 29 years of valuable service to the company which in the process enriched him. In 1975 armed with the rich experience he acquired at Morrison he joined Union Home Products Limited as an Executive Director. With his professional skills, expertise and endearing personal qualities he left an indelible mark in both these organizations. He retired from service in 1983 but hasn’t retired from the multifarious work he has taken upon himself and he enjoys doing it.

After his retirement in 1983 Joe has immersed himself wholeheartedly to the cause of serving his community. He has put his life experience of nearly nine decades to provide counseling (not professional) for those who need 3rd person intervention to resolve personal problem. Joe has served on the Board of Fr Muller’s Hospital for 15 years and has served on the Catholic Board of education. His benign service at St Joseph’s Workshop for over 3 decades is the hallmark of his social service.

It was but natural that a man of his stature was given the responsibility of overseeing the security arrangements during Pope’s visit to Mangalore in 1986, where he had to work in tandem with the department of Law and Order and was privileged to be introduced to the Pope by the then Bishop of Mangalore.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations and best wishes to you, dear Fr. Ronnie, Sachita and Joe, on your being selected as the “Outstanding Community Leaders” for the year 2014/15. You all deserve this exemplary recognition. Please accept the same with our best wishes.

    It is amazing how effectively the communication network becomes applicable in this world of Technology. Before we officially informed you of the selection for this auspicious Reward the profile already appeared in the newspapers. You all have given so much for our Society, and therefore we wish to thank you and honor you.

    Let us have a nice gathering some time during the latter part of this year to greet all of you and honor you. God bless

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