25 years on, Mangalore Konkans Dubai marches ahead with renewed vigor

Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

Dubai, Oct 22 : In 1988 when the visionary couple Hilda and (now late) Jerome Pereira had the brainwave to start Mangalore Konkans Dubai, they did not envisage that it would grow into a portent organization of the catholic Diaspora in the UAE. 

This enthusiastic couple had felt the need of a common platform for the sizeable catholic populace working in the gulf and their prodigious efforts led the establishment of Mangalore Konkans Dubai on October 28, 1988 under the president ship of Jocelyn Mascarenhas.  Other like-minded Konkani speaking people in the gulf region, rallied behind the couple in their endeavor to dovetail the community under a common platform.   With the active support, cooperation and involvement of the community people,  it grew into a mammoth and powerful organization involved in the noble mission of striving for the wellbeing of the community in the gulf and back home.   This organization has now reached a major milestone having completed 25 years of its active existence and service to the community.  

To mark this momentous occasion Mangalore Konkans Dubai (MKD) had chalked out year-long programmes and it is now celebrating the grand finale titled “Celebrations 25” on October 25, 2013   which will be held in Crowne Plaza Hotel,  Dubai,  with pomp and splendor befitting this occasion. 

President James Mendonca, Founder president Jocelyn Mascarenhas, Celebration -25 event co-ordinator Tracy Rodrigues

MKD was established with the basic objective of promoting Konkani language and culture among the Mangalorean Diaspora in the UAE.  It also intended to extend financial support to the Mangalorean community in Dubai and in undivided Dakshina Kannada district.   Without diluting the original objectives,  even with the passage of time, the organization followed its goals solemnly to emerge as a major force to reckon with in the UAE.  

Over the years, with an array of activities aimed at the general welfare of Mangaloreans, Mangalore Konkans Dubai has played an essential role in keeping the pennant of Konkani language and Mangalorean culture flying high in the desert land.  This is the only association which has been recognized by the Indian consulate in the UAE, amply demonstrating its significance.
Small Beginning

Though Hilda and Jerome Pereira took the initiative to start the organization,  it really took off to a splendid start and was able to make its mark largely due to the support it received from fellow Mangaloreans.   An organization can take a strong footing in the society only when it gets support and recognition from likeminded people.  The adage ‘little drops of water, little grains of sand make a mighty ocean’ is forever relevant in our lives.  Mangalore Konkans firmly believed in   it and made determined efforts to involve more people   of the community in the various activities it conducted and needless to say they responded with eagerness. 

The Mangalorean Diaspora had realized even in those days that their strength is their unity and with unity they will be able to achieve wonders for the entire community.    When the people who had gone to various gulf countries were feeling directionless, insecure, lonely, prone to anomie, home sick, longing to meet their own countrymen or were facing difficulties, financial or otherwise, it was Mangalore Konkans Dubai, which gave them a platform to feel at home or gave them a helping hand to overcome their tribulations.   Mangalore Konkans Dubai was like a magical elixir to many of them and they looked forward to the gatherings fervently.  As a result, the small seed sown 25 years ago grew under the careful patronage of its leaders  and now has become a gigantic tree yielding good results. 

Naturally a feeling of fulfillment and elation has engulfed all those who have been an inseparable   part of this organization.    James Mendonca, the current President of MKD puts it “This fulfillment comes from being steadfast in adhering to its original goals and striving to accomplish newer goals”. 

When daijiworld.com spoke to the founder member Hilda Pereira who now lives alone in Mangalore after the death of her husband and co-founder Jerome Pereira, she expressed her delight to know that Mangalore Konkans Dubai,  has grown into formidable institution in the last 25 years.    She shared her thoughts and feelings with a tinge of nostalgia recollecting that originally 28 Konkani lovers had come together at their residence in Bur Dubai on October 28, 1988 for the first informal meeting of MKD.   Other like-minded Konkani enthusiasts joined in for a formal meeting subsequently at St Mary’s Church and then at Astoria Hotel in Dubai. 

She says “It is a matter of pride and immense joy to know that the dream of bringing together the Konkani speaking community in the gulf has borne fruit through MKD.  It is also gratifying to know it has accomplished the treasured goals of keeping the Konkani flavor vibrant in UAE and also for reaching out to the needy in Dubai and the poor, the underprivileged and the deprived sections of the society in Dakshina Kannada.  On the occasion of the silver jubilee I send my best wishes to the members of MKD with the   hope that it would continue to carry on the righteous task with the same ardor and gravitas”.

MKD in Action

Credit goes to MKD for being the first association of Mangaloreans  in UAE at a time when the community was scattered without a proper platform to feel or share the flavor of Mangalorean culture. Having brought the Konkani speaking community under one umbrella, thanks to the zealous efforts of its founders, there was no stopping this juggernaut from rolling, to accomplish its cherished mission.   As a result, for the first time the Mangalorean community in the UAE could feel the flavor of Mangalore when it succeeded in having the ‘Way of the Cross’ in Konkani in St. Mary’s church, Dubai for the first time.  Subsequently, the Nativity feast was also celebrated fervently and Konkani choir also made its debut at St Mary’s church in Dubai. 

Today all the Konkani speaking people in Dubai are reaping the benefits of these initiatives.

It was due to the indefatigable efforts of MKD, for the first time a Konkani speaking priest was deputed to Dubai and with that permanent Konkani mass service too was started.   MKD also proved to be a worthy platform for the Mangaloreans working in UAE and also from undivided Dakshina Kannada, to exhibit their talent.   Many new talents came to the fore on this platform and Konkani culture was kept alive and vibrant in the UAE, thanks to the wholehearted efforts of MKD.

MKD’s organizing skills came to the forefront when it organized its first impressive entertainment programme “Konkan Milan” in 1989 successfully and created a record of sort in the UAE apart from announcing its arrival with a bang.  Riding on the wave of this success of the programme, it went on to organize and stage exciting entertainment programmes on a regular basis.   The organization strived hard to keep the Konkani theatre alive and pulsating by staging dramas by artistes from UAE and also by inviting artistes from Mangalore and providing a stage for them in the UAE.   

Since most of the people working in the gulf were away from their motherland and some even from their families, providing wholesome entertainment was on the top of the agenda of MKD.   This was done by organizing various programmes such as musical nites, family fiesta, singing, painting, elocution, extempore and fancy dress and cookery competitions, conducting workshops, seminars and cultural events. Apart from entertaining these programmes provided an opportunity for the community people to display their talents.  In the recent years MKD has been organizing “Gulf Voice of Mangalore”, the Konkani singing talent hunt show which has become the biggest reality show in the Middle East.   Many a singing talent has been brought to light through this programme, bringing both name and fame to the winners.  

With the success of the programme MKD has become a household name not only in Dubai and UAE but also in undivided Dakshina Kannada district.  

Social commitment

In addition to uniting the Mangalorean Konkani community under one umbrella MKD has been involved in social service activities since its inception.  The annual get-together of MKD is a mega event held in the first or second week of December. It is also the major fund-raising event in which MKD members contribute generously so that the organization is able to carry out its commitment to help the needy.   With generous contributions by the members MKD has been able to undertake an array of activities for the welfare of the people.  

MKD funded the education of 4 seminarians who have become priests and are active in spreading the word of Christ.   It has been in the forefront in providing financial assistance to provide education and health care to the community people.  With this motive, Rs. 25 lakh education and Rs 20 lakh health care funds have been set up at CODP to provide scholarships to meritorious students and health care assistance to the deserving needy. Supporting the cause of education, MKD also contributed Rs.10 lakhs to St. Aloysius College AIMIT project.  A Cancer Treatment Fund of Rs.10 lakhs has been set up at Fr Muller Medical College to offer    succor to the poor patients suffering from cancer.  In the recent years MKD has instituted Rs 10 lakhs Wilfy Rebimbus Memorial Sandesh award given through Sandesh College of Fine Arts in memory of Konkan Kogul late Wilfy Rebimbus.  This award is given to a Konkani singer/artiste in recognition of his original contribution to Konkani music.

Apart from the above, Mangalore Konkans has reached out to lot more deserving people through Alma Pinto Trust Fund and an education fund to a missionary centre in Kenya, financial assistance extended to Mount Rosary, Alangar- Moodabidri, Ave Maria Palliative Care Centre,  Vamanjoor, institutes that support Cleft Patients, old people,  Rehabilitation centres for alcoholics and drug addicts etc.

Financial assistance has also been accorded to the promotion of Konkani music, art and culture.  These funds have helped shape the lives of many students and others who are in need of genuine financial help, to prevail over their difficulties.   It has played a stellar role in rendering timely help to accident victims in the UAE, and also at times, sending the bodies of those Mangaloreans who died in the UAE, back to their homes.   Vice President of MKD Aboline D Cunha points out “Through Mangalore Konkans we have been able to bring about a discernible change in the lives of hundreds of people.  It has given us immense satisfaction and inspiration to undertake more social responsibilities with renewed vigor in the years to come.  We could achieve this only due to the continued support and cooperation of Konkani’s working in UAE“. 

Celebrations 25  

Since completing 25 successful years in the service of the community and in preserving and promoting Konkani flavor in the Gulf is a major achievement for the organization, it has decided to have a grandiose and fun-filled celebration on October 25, 2013 to be held in Dubai.    A series of programmes were planned to mark this event all through the year which would culminate in the mega Celebrations 25.  It is going to be a fun-packed event where more than 1200 Konkani speaking Mangaloreans are expected to take part.   There will be live band DJ, non-stop dancing, exotic food, fun and more fun   in the presence of chief guests Mangalore MLA J R Lobo and the Indian Ambassador to the UAE M K Lokesh. Prodigious singing talents like Lorna from Goa, Rony D Cunha, Munita Veigas, Melvyn D Souza and other artistes from Mangalore,   are expected to spice up the event with non-stop entertainment.

As part of “Celebrations 25”  MKD has decided to confer a special award “Konkan Ratn” (Konkan Jewel) to  businessman and philanthropist Ronald Colaco in recognition of his service to the community and philanthropic activities to the society in general.  The organization has also decided to honour four other achievers of Mangalorean origin working in the UAE for their contributions in their respective fields.    They are Dr B R Shetty (non-catholic businessman and philanthropist), Lawrence Mendonca (pioneer Mangalorean businessman in the UAE) Walter Nandalike (media revolution) and Vincent Fernandes Cascia (promoting Konkani music and culture in the UAE).

Challenges ahead

Having completed 25 eventful years Mangalore Konkans Dubai   is all set to carry out new activities to promote Konkani with renewed vitality, set new goals and reach out to more and more people in its commitment to help for the betterment of the community as a whole.   Celebration 25 expects to raise funds, a portion of which will be given to support a home for the aged in South Kanara. “We will start a new fund and with the support and encouragement from our members and well wishers, we intend to enhance the contribution as and when possible.  We are sure that members of MKD would continue to show their generosity which would help the organization to continue its mission of reaching out to the needy”, says President James Mendonca. 

Coordinator of the event Tressy Rodrigues says “MKD wants Catholic youngsters   in UAE to shoulder the responsibility by being active in its activities.  With new blood coming in new ideas would flow, which in turn is sure to take Mangalore Konkans Dubai, to a higher summit in its original mission”.   Supporting her views senior member and Hon. Adviser Ronald D Cunha also feels “infusion of new blood in MKD would augur well for the organization which has a long way to go. This is also an opportunity to remain steadfast and committed to ensure our strength through unity”.   He further adds: “God has been extraordinarily kind and generous to Mangalore Konkans Dubai in all our endeavors all these years.  Having gone through certain hardships it is indeed a great solace and satisfaction to reach this milestone of silver jubilee”.  

No doubt, completing 25 years is an achievement in itself.  But for an organization, there is certainly a long way to go.  Given the commitment of the members of MKD and their willingness to build the second rung of leadership to carry on the rich and noble tradition, it is not going to be an onerous task at all.   The challenge now is to continue the work begun and take it to greater heights    in the years ahead.  Mangalore Konkans Dubai has set a precedent and has inspired generations of Mangaloreans in the UAE at a time when there was no one to fall back upon.   Let us hope it would continue to inspire generations to come in the years ahead.   

Presidents of MKD since inception 

•         Jocelyn Mascarenhas
•         Remy Rodrigues
•         Ronald D Cunha
.         Albert Rodrigues
•         Noel Mascarenhas
•         Valerian Peris
•         Santosh Nazareth
•         James Mendonca (current president)
Current office bearers

•         James Mendonca – President
•         Aboline D Cunha – Vice President
•         Lily D’Almeida – Secretary
•         Ronald Sequeira – Joint Secretary
•         Joseph Pinto – Treasurer
•         Kumar Fernandes – Sports Secretary
•         Marina Menezes – Entertainment  Secretary
Guests for Celebrations 25

Chief  Guest – J R Lobo,  MLA - Mangalore assembly constituency
Guest of Honour :   M K Lokesh, Ambassador of India to the UAE





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Comment on this article

  • Pius Dcruz, Belman/Dubai

    Thu, Oct 24 2013

    Congratulations to Mangalore Konkans team on achieving the silver jubilee. It is your team spirit that has lead to this milestone achievement. All the best in your future endeavors.

    Reply Report Abuse

  • CGS, Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Congratualations and Best wishes to
    Mr.James Mendonca and his Team on celebrating 25th anniversary of Mangalore Konkans,Dubai. May God Bless you all.Cheers!

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Well Wisher, Mangalore / Dubai

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Dear MKD Members,

    Congrats on completing 25 years. Wish you very best for "Celebrations 25". I always wait for your events, as it always will be one of the unique events. I always admire the hard work the members put in. This is the only organisation who ends up with the amazing event with the footprint.

    I wish you a very successful event now and forever and God bless to all the members of MKD.


    Reply Report Abuse

  • Veronica Rego, Karama, Dubai

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Dear President and all dedicated members of Mangalore Konkans, Dubai - Hearty congratulations on achieving this great milestone - 25 years of undaunted service to the poor, needy and less fortunate ones. May you be blessed with heavenly showers in abundance in all your future endeavors.

    We wish you 'Good Luck' for the success of your program which we are sure will go down the memory lane for ages to come.

    Best Wishes from :
    St. Mary's Konkan Community
    (SMKC , Dubai)

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Renny Lobo (Rodrigues), Gurpur Kaikamba/ Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Dear President and all members of Mangalore Konkans,

    Hearty congratulations on this special occasion of 25th anniverysary. Among the many good deeds done would like to appreciate and thank you for the enormous support given to the singing talents by arranging UAE Level Konkani Singing Competitions. All the best for your future events and services.

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Leslie Noronha, Kulshekar / Dubai

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Well done & congratulations for reaching the mile stone, wish you all teh best for the coming event regards Leslie

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Konkanimilan.com, Dubai/Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Congratulation Mangalore Konkans Dubai on the special occasion of completing 25 years. Mangalore Konkans group shows the unity among all mangalorean community. All the best for entire Mega Event.

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Gerry D'Mello & fly, Bendur / Canada

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    Dear Mr.President and members of Mangalore Konkans Dubai,

    Hearty congrats for completing 25 glorious years of existence as one of the greatest Konkani Associations in the world. We salute your great leadership, sheer hard-work, selfless service and determination in taking the Association from a humble beginning to the current level. The Konkani world can speak volumes of your incredible achievements! We wish and pray that your Silver may turn into Gold, Diamond, Platinum, Century and so on. Let the Mangalore Konkans Dubai be a beacon of hope for the next generation and generations to come! Wishing "Celebrations 25" a thrilling success!

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 23 2013

    It is good to see that our Mangalorans have done well in various fields not only in Mngalore but in other parts of the world, like U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Africa and Middle East particularly in Dubai and Muscat. It is good to see like minded people holding meetings, seminars, social functions etc. in these areas.

    I would make a special mention of Jocelyn Mascarenhas who I know well who as I understand was on of the early Presidents of The Mangalorean Association.

    Our newly elected M.L.A. J.R. Lobo is seen in different places fully participating in the events. It is also good to see the presence of Father Onil at the function. In the photographs I can see Ronald Colaco too who has been a great supporter of Mangalore Catholics all over the world.

    Kudos to the organizers for holding suck a magnificent event.

    Joe Gonsalves

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Konkan Bells, Dubai/Belthangady

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Congratulations to Mangalore Konkans on completing 25 successful years...All the very best for all your future services to the society & God Bless...

    Best Wishes from...

    "Konkan Bells"
    President & Committee Members

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Edward Fernandes, Kulshekar/Dubai UAE

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Congratulations Mangalore Konkan's on your 25th anniversary. Indeed it is milestone and we pray to Lord Almighty to grace abundant blessings to all its members particularly the office bearers to move forward with the good works and deeds and become the pride of Mangaloreans living in the Gulf.

    Vincent Fernandes & Family

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Societal Web, Dubai

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Excellent job Jocelyn, James and Tracy

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Henry Lewis, Sastan/Kuwait

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Congrats to you Mangalore Konkans Dubai Keep up the good work

    Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Congratulation Mangalore Konkans Dubai on the special occasion of completing 25 years.
    Great job having helped the society as mentioned in your Social commitment.
    I am sure that the present
    President James Mendonca along with his team will carry over the tradition of the good work.
    All the very best for all your future services to the society.
    Best wishes
    Adrian Gomes

    Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Oct 22 2013


    Reply Report Abuse

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara-Mumbai-Doha Qatar

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    The President Committee and Members of MKD:-
    It is a great feeling for Dubai Konkans after completing 25 years in service-This shows the building up the unity of konkans of Dubai Congratulations and all the best to the event. God Bless

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Mark Denis Dsouza, niddodi/Sharjah-U.A.E.

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Dear DMK wish you a grand success for the Mega event 'CELEBRATION 25' may DMK continue do the good work more efficiently for the society and human being,God bless each one of you abundantly.
    Mark DEnis D'souza

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Jacintha Pinto, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Congrats Mangalore Konkans. You have done lot of good things for the people of Mangalore through education and charity. May God bless you. Very impressive report, hope many organisations in the gulf follow their footstep

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Stany D'sa, Mangaolore

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Indeed, completing 25 years succesfuly as association is great thing. I congratulate president and all the members on this occasion. This special report would have more meaningful if you put the picture of founder couple Hilda and late Jerome.

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Deepak, Paladka

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    All the best to the mega event.

    Reply Report Abuse

  • Vivian Pinto, Bijai

    Tue, Oct 22 2013

    Long live M.K

    Reply Report Abuse

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Title: 25 years on, Mangalore Konkans Dubai marches ahead with renewed vigor

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