When her father came home without shoes and a shirt Alda Noronha-Nimmo realized he was unique.
“He said: ‘I saw this homeless man on the street, he looked cold, so I gave them to him.’ That was the kind of man my father was,” Noronha-Nimmo said.
Noronha-Nimmo’s father and best friend, Felix Noronha, died of an untreatable infection in June 2010. He was 84 years old.
In honor of her father, Noronha-Nimmo founded the Felix Noronha Memorial Scholarship Fund this semester for North Campus students. Winners will receive a Kindle e-book reader.
Applicants must submit a 500-600 word essay by Feb. 14 and have completed at least one semester of college preparatory reading and writing classes.
The scholarship is funded by royalties earned from her recently published book —Read Your World— dedicated to her father. It is further augmented by donations made by close family and friends.
“The grandchildren have given from their piggy banks,” Noronha-Nimmo said. “It was so heartwarming.”
Raising seven children in an impoverished home in the city of Karachi, Pakistan was tough. At times there was no food and only one bed to share, but that never dampened Felix’s spirits, Noronha-Nimmo said.
“My father was one of the most hardworking men I ever knew. He taught us to keep love, hope and forgiveness in our hearts,” Noronha-Nimmo said.
Felix was self-taught, only having attended three years of primary school, but he spoke English, Portuguese, Spanish, Konkani, Urdu and Latin; he was excellent at math and storytelling, and had a natural knack for being funny.
“He was funny even when he didn’t know he was being funny,” Noronha-Nimmo said. “That was the thing about my dad. He had a big, big personality–a personality that was bigger than the person himself.”
Growing up in a home where God came first, family second, education third, and a culture where giving back was second nature, Noronha-Nimmo knew all along that she would eventually lend a helping hand. Her father’s passing, she said, served as the perfect inspiration.
“It is so beautiful to see Alda honoring our father in such a generous way,” said Noronha-Nimmo’s older sister, Joyce Noronha-Barrett. “It really goes to show you how important his role was in our lives.”
For Noronha-Nimmo, starting a scholarship fund for students was the least she could do. She hopes to eventually gather enough money to open a school for girls in a poor country.
“If life would have given my father the opportunity to be better educated, there is no doubt he would have given back in so many ways,” Noronha-Nimmo said. “I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to him.”
To apply, students must submit an application to their respective college preparatory reading and writing professor.
For more information, contact Karen Taghi-Zog at 305-237-1602 or Ktaghizo@mdc.edu