Welcome to Sophia College (Autonomous)
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The Sophia Irene Heredia Centre for Women’s Studies and Development (SIHCWSD)

The Sophia Irene Heredia Centre for Women’s Studies and Development (SIHCWSD), launched in 2001 has proven to be a stimulating and engaging centre with multidisciplinary activities happening throughout the year. The centre is rooted firmly in the principles of academics, advocacy and action. Based on this the centre has five major focus areas based on this, they are

  1. Courses and instruction
    • Diploma in counseling and Safeguarding of children & Senior Citizens
    • Post Graduate Diploma in Nutrition, Diet and Fitness
    • Master of Arts in Gender Studies
  2. Library and documentation services
  3. Research and publications (In-house multidisciplinary peer reviewed journal Urdhva Mula published since 2002)
  4. Consultancy and Collaborations
  5. Outreach Activities

SIHCWSD conducts multiple courses throughout the academic year, all of which are designed to address the needs of a diverse set of students. Hence, while the emphasis of some was on the acquirement of skills, others focused on the acquirement of knowledge. As is norm, every year the Sophia Centre for Women’s Studies and Development conducts Certificate courses in Women’s Empowerment; Social Work Focusing on Issues Related to Women and Girls; Basics in Baking; Personal Finance Management and Entrepreneurship Training. We also conduct PG Diploma courses in Counselling as well as Food and Nutrition. Since 2021, we have started a MA programme in Gender Studies.



The activities and involvement in the current year have been extremely encouraging for the advancement of the centre including organizing online talks and conferences in collaboration with national organisations like the IAWS (Indian Association of Women’s Studies) and international bodies like Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Germany. We have factored in the need for restructuring our courses to reach a larger audience by making a few of them accessible online to suit the need of the target groups. This has helped us to conduct our programmes on a national as well as international level.

Our peer reviewed journal,  Urdhva Mula (ISSN 2277-7954) is available online to all those who subscribe to it and we are in the process of making online our documented articles from newspapers both English as well as regional (Hindi and Marathi) on Women’s issues.

The Centre is equipped with an extensive documentation centre which focuses solely on Women’s issues like sexual harassment, domestic violence, gender inequality among others from (2001-2023).

Over the years we have collaborated for academic, training and outreach programmes with several organisations including UNICEF, MAVIM, YWCA, Akshara, Akanksha, Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Navjeevan Trust, CEHAT, CCDT, AAMRAE, VACHA, Silver Innings, MAVA, Young Star Trust, among others. The centre functions as a referral centre and the staff of the centre has provided consultancy services to several organisations.

It is extremely heartening for us as an organisation to recognise that our outreach programmes have benefitted numerous economically disadvantaged young girls and women. A key component of our programmes is that they are not stationary, but mobile, which means we meet those in need of outreach services at the location at which they are. SIHCWSD members and collaborators have conducted capacity-building workshops; entrepreneurship training as well as skill-based vocational training for the focus groups within as well as in the suburbs of Mumbai. We are thankful to all our sponsors, well-wishers and the organisations we have partnered with over the years.



Honorary Director                        :                      Dr. (Sr.) Ananda Amritamahal (English Literature)

Coordinator                             :                       Dr. Lata Pujari (History)                                          

Academic Advisor                            :                      Dr. Vibhuti Patel (Economics)

Senior Programme Officer     :                       Ms. Deepti Anil (Foods and Nutrition)         

Librarian                                  :                      Ms. Sharayu Sawant (Commerce)

Office Assistant                            :                      

Attendant                                :                       Mr. Hayward Lopez



The Consultative Committee of SCWSD


Dr. Laxmi Lingam (Women’s Studies)

Dr. Maithreyi Krishnaraj (Economics)

Dr. Nandita Gandhi (Women’s Studies)

Dr. Nasreen Fazalbhoy (Sociology)

Dr. Rohini Gawankar  (Political Science)

Dr. Suma Chitnis (Education)

Dr. Usha Thakkar (Political Science)

Computer Centre

(Sophia – M. K. Tata Communications Technology Centre)

The Computer Centre comprises four air-conditioned laboratories that are located on the 1st Floor of the Arts Building (opposite the Audio Visual Room/above the canteen). These laboratories are equipped with 95 computers, 5 printers (B/W and colour), 2 scanners and 3 projectors. Access to internet facility is available at a nominal rate.

Ordinarily you may use Computer Laboratory 1, for your academic or personal work. Computer Laboratories are often used for I.T. Practical sessions (Labs 1&2) and the BMM department (Lab 4). It may also be booked in advance by faculty members - for special/guest lectures, exams, quality control data entry, online form-filling, or meetings; at such times, access to some laboratories will be restricted.

You are strongly advised to save your data on your pen drive, HDD, email, cloud etc. Carry your own ear plugs for the purpose of listening at the computer. The computers in all laboratories are formatted from time to time and its staff cannot be held responsible for loss of your data from the computer laboratories.

Check that you have taken your belongings (especially pen drive, print outs, phone, bag etc.) when you leave the computer laboratory. Please do not make or receive calls from inside the laboratories as they will disturb other users.

Sophia Credit Course-new

J. N. Heredia

As young students on the cusp of adulthood, there are plenty of changes that must be adjusted to when one enters the college set-up. Pressures may not only be academic in nature, such as dealing with new and challenging subjects or hindrances to achieving one’s true potential such as procrastination, ineffective study techniques or difficulty maintaining a balance, but could also have to do with the social arenas of one’s life: family, friends or close relationships. Whatever the cause of disturbance, it affects the overall functioning of the individual.

Counseling is helping relationship with a trained professional that supports individuals to navigate these or more serious disturbances that are commonplace. Such a relationship helps find solutions to disturbances and minimize their impact on the daily life of the students. No problem is too small to be considered an ‘issue’, if it affects you, it can be addressed in the counseling relationship. It is a space to vent, reflect, better, change and grow your self.

The J. N Heredia Centre for Counseling provides free counseling services to all students of Sophia College (autonomous) to promote their holistic well-being and aid development into the best academic and social versions of themselves. Individual therapy sessions are voluntary and appointments for the same can be booked in advance or students can drop in to visit the counselor in case they have a pressing issue to discuss. In some cases where it is deemed that more serious help is required, the students and their guardians will be guided toward such appropriate help, outside of the college set-up.

The Centre also aims to reach as many students as possible through workshops on topics pertinent to the demographic, such as ‘Self Esteem’, ‘Time Management’ or ‘Assertiveness’. The counseling room also houses abundant self-help materials including guides to deal with common mental health problems and books to boost self-esteem, resilience, skills and abilities specific to certain outcomes. This can be a great resource to learn important life skills and to do some work by yourself.

Dr. Jennie Mendes – Counsellor

Jennie Mendes (Dalmia Professor Emeritus) is currently Coordinator of the Sophia J. N. Heredia Counseling Centre. Her area of interests is Clinical Psychology, World Cinema and the Theory of Indian Classical Dance with special reference to Kathak. Her M.Phil dissertation: A Study on the Initiation of Flight Activity in Drosophila melanogaster - An Experimental Approach to Animal Behavior and the doctoral thesis: The Phenomenology, Etiology and the Possible Clinical Significance of Certain Stereotypies represent her wider interest. She has published 31 research articles and many popular articles. She has completed 6 research projects and has presented 25 papers at national and international conferences. She has translated and standardized a Stigma Scale for Mental Illness for the Konkani-speaking population. She has edited the book: “Readings in Psychology: Enhancing Human Potential” (Allied Publishers, 2006). She was the Managing Editor of the Bombay Psychologist-A Journal of the Bombay Psychological Association (from 1997 to 2017). She is involved in the CUE-MH (Collaborative Undergraduate Education in Mental Health) to create hubs and nodes in different parts of the country for collaborative research.

Deepika Bhandari

Deepika is a post graduate in Clinical Psychology who has a strong background in psychotherapy, medical research and practicing in nonprofit organizations for last three years. She specializes in adolescent and adult counseling. Deepika is passionate about understanding the mental health gap like difficulties in accessing treatment and is working towards coming up with the most effective strategies to deal with this. She is a practitioner of Animal Assisted Therapy.

Avanti Desai

Avanti Desai is a Counseling Psychologist. She is committed to client care, offering holistic, accessible and discreet therapeutic services which include counseling, psychotherapy and career counseling/assessment. Using clinically tested and evidence-based interventions, she has worked in different settings with a variety of cases.