The 2004 Vincent Xavier Verodiano
Award was jointly conferred on Vaijayanti Prabhugaonkar in recognition
of her lifelong commitment to spreading literacy and women's
empowerment among the tribal communities in Goa.
Vaijayanti Prabhugaonkar has
been an educator for the last 25 years, working tirelessly towards
spreading literacy and women's empowerment in the tribal talukas
of Sanguem, Quepem, and Canacona. She made a significant contribution
to the Goa Government's research on national biodiversity, by
compiling ethnological information on traditional knowledge systems
in these talukas. An accomplished poetess, she is fluent in Konkani,
Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit, and has been a pioneer in organizing
the rural women in these talukas to take responsibility on matters
relating to tribal and eco-conservation.