Belinda Pereira, an Indian Catholic woman, was among the recipients of the 3rd Mother Teresa Award on April 16 in Mumbai, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
She received the award for the best social activist category.
Ray of Hope Mumbai, an NGO led by Eddie Pereira, gave the awards.
Belinda established the Karuna Ghar (Home of Mercy) Foundation (KGF) in Thane, a major city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, as a daycare center for disadvantaged children, in 2006. KGF provides for the necessities of needy children, including food and education.
Previously, she was a social worker at the local Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Bombay and a school in the area.
She also works with other groups that support children with disabilities.
She claims that the goal of her charity is to show mercy to street children and children from low-income and single-parent families. The youngsters get a good education to build their future.
"It is a joy to receive the award, especially when it is with social service. The title ‘Mother Teresa Award’ makes me feel I am walking on the right path, and Mother Teresa’s blessings are always with me," she told RVA News.
The award consisted of a citation and plaque.
"I am glad I have many priest friends who support me. I would love to name them: Fr. Joel Pinto, Fr. Francis Noronha, and Fr. Daniel Fernandes. The list is long, but I will share some important ones," she added.
Her journey to social transformation for needy children has been full of challenges.
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around," she said.
In the past, she has received other awards in recognition of her work, such as the Inspirational Change Award by St John the Baptist Thane (2014), the He & She Award "Making A Difference Through Service" by Bombay Archdiocese Award (2015), "Social Cause Queen" by Mumo (2016), ExtraordiNAARI (2017), Inspiring Women Award 2017 by Unimo, Mrs. GlamIcon Aawrd (2017), City & State Title Empress Universe (2018), Indira Ratan Award (2018), Rangoli Awards (2019), and Charisma Mrs. India Beauty with Purpose Title (2020).
She has also received certificates of appreciation as a corona warrior on the frontline from Raajnithi ki Paatshala, Darshanik Mumbai, the Dadasaheb Phalke Ikon Award, the Humanity First Foundation, the Crime Investigation Bureau, the International Achievement India Awards, the Vocational Excellence Award 2020 for dedication and contribution to community service, the Naari Tuje Salaam women of India in the social work category, and the Inspiring Leadership Award 2020 awarded by Governor of Maharashtra and Goa, Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Maharashtra and Goa, respectively.
She received the Certificate of Appreciation as a Social Activist Award 2021 by AAM AADMI PARTY, Navi Mumbai; the "Iconic Lady 2021" Award by Thane Citizen Foundation and Maharashtra Go Green Foundation; the Government of Maharashtra State Award in the social work category—Vidhya Prasarak Award 2022, Ray of Hope Mother Teresa Award 2022 for Social Work, and Mrs. Maharashtra Runaway Tener Aura Women with a Golden Heart Award 2022.
In 2023, she was among the 31 women achievers recognized by the world's largest community of mothers or women who inspire.
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