The seven weeks that I spent in Klibur Domin, was nothing short of memorable and humbling. Prior to the commencement of my volunteering period, Ryder Cheshire Australia liaised with Klibur Domin and drafted some tasks which I could possibly assist with, based on my work experiences. I also had the opportunity to speak to a recently returned volunteer, to understand better the environment and hear about his experiences. These helped me to have a better idea of what to expect and prepare myself mentally.
Whilst at Klibur Domin, I spent most of my time helping out in administrative tasks including drafting of finance reports, reviewing policies and editing documents written in English. With my academic background in psychology and some research, I gave a brief presentation on the mental health landscape in Timor Leste, and basic information about a few mental illnesses, which some of the residents in Uma Barbara are suffering from, to a group of nursing students who were doing their practicum and some staff at Klibur Domin. I particularly enjoyed my time out of the office interacting with the residents of Uma Barbara, guiding them in doing simple craft activities, drawing, blowing bubbles, or just simply chatting with them.
Although I was mostly involved in administrative tasks, I learn much about Klibur Domin’s work from the staff in the Community Based Rehabilitation and Tuberculosis teams which head out to the communities regularly for advocacy work and to identify people in need of medical attention. It was always heart warming to hear about and see how the conditions of certain individuals, especially the children, improve after undergoing physiotherapy in Klibur Domin and return home to reunite with their families.
It was easy to settle in at KD as its staff were all very friendly. They were always more than willing to share their experiences, which left me feeling very inspired. They were encouraging whenever I attempted to converse with them in Tetun. It was sad to bid farewell at the end of my short seven weeks. I am thankful to Ryder Cheshire Australia and Klibur-Domin for the opportunity to volunteer with them, giving me not only a memorable and inspiring experience, but also several new friends whom I would very much like to meet again.
Raphael, our own little mecca in this vast country of India. On arrival, we settled into our accommodation, had a tour of the grounds, meeting a few of the carers, teachers and residents. We then ventured out to the local shop for supplies, afterwards enjoying a vegetarian tea back at Raphael. Power went out, apparently that happens a lot. It’s India.
You wouldn’t be in India if you weren’t having trouble with the internet, but also having a wonderful time … riding in crazy Tuk Tuks, being stared at by the locals… (of course we say hello), eating dahl and vegetarian food, monkeys dancing on our roof, we hope our drying washing doesn’t go missing. Spending time with wonderful people in an amazing different country … everyone in Australia should experience this.
Time spent at Raphael, what can we say…. what an inspirational place, full of wonderful people and the most special children. It is very humbling to be welcomed with open arms, love and lots of affection. In the classroom, having learnt a few names and gestures, communication was difficult but we seemed to manage. The kids just loved us and it was very easy to get some favourites. We looked forward to Diwali and its celebrations. Weekends we were off to discover our surrounding area, going to Missouri and Rishikesh.
On Diwali we were in our room and the noise outside was deafening, we could have been in a war zone and we would have had no clue. The fireworks were continuous and loud. We had a lovely evening visiting Ava Vihar and trying tasty Indian treats and watching the residents have some fireworks of their own. We were included in celebrations and anointed with an Indian mark. A very special evening. Some school days we needed three hands …. Mayank, Yudo and Munta all wanting to hold our hands – it is wonderful that these young adults felt a bond with us. They were so happy to see each of us every morning. All too quickly it was time to say goodbye. Raphael was a wonderful experience made all the richer by the other amazing Volunteers, but infinitely by all of the Residents, Staff and Special People of Raphael we had the chance to share the experience with. These precious memories will stay with us.
In August 2017, Peter and Helen Newton visited Klibur Domin for two weeks. It was Peter’s eighteenth visit and Helen’s fourth. Neither had travelled to other than the capital Dili, Tibar village (where Klibur Domin is located) and a few other remote villages to observe Klibur Domin’s outreach programs. The rest of Timor-Leste was a closed book to us.
On this visit, the Home Manager, Joaquim Soares and his wife Maria decided to take a week’s leave and drive us 855 km around their beautiful country, much of which Maria had not seen, and there were even a few of the places we visited which were new to Joaquim. It was a voyage of discovery for Helen and me and opened our eyes to the delightful Timorese people, the extreme poverty in the remote villages, the great natural beauty and the tourist potential of the country. However, much is needed to improve the roads and communications and to provide suitable accommodation and restaurants before a tourist boom could occur.
Our first week was spent at Klibur Domin where we were impressed with the tremendous progress made since our last visits. Ryder-Cheshire and Rotary have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past five years to undertake essential improvements and maintenance work which has significantly improved the facilities at the home and its operation. Continue reading Visit by Peter and Helen Newton to Klibur Domin→
I discovered Raphael searching the web. I was looking for a special education school in India were I could do an internship for my university in Germany (I want to become a teacher for children with special needs).
I am really happy that I got in touch with Raphael because I really enjoyed my visit here. The longer I stayed the more I felt at home. I can’t believe the 2 1/2 month are already over. You really feel at home very quickly because the teachers were always so friendly.
In the afternoon I liked visiting the Little White House children. We had a really good time together, they tried to teach me some Hindi and for Founder’s Day we practiced an Indian dance which we performed together. Continue reading Julia→
In his first year as the National President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, Rory McEwen, has recently returned from a visit to Raphael. Below is his report.
My visit to Raphael commenced with two one day trips, the first into the foothills of the Himalayas where our jeep driver managed to deliver four of us safely to a small school in a tiny village to meet with around 50 parents and their disabled children. The journey along narrow winding mountain roads was not for the faint hearted. Marvelling at the women struggling up steep inclines, almost buried in huge loads of vegetation balanced on their heads, took our minds off the perils of the journey.
The gathering that awaited us at the end of our four hour trek had assembled for a briefing on managing and modifying challenging behaviours and to discuss sexuality and the disabled. Our talented presenters spoke in Hindi. Luckily the accompanying slides were in English so I could get some feel for the animated discussion. Some of the parents, particularly the men, didn’t seem to take kindly to some of the frank discussions but it was an overwhelming success. Continue reading NATIONAL PRESIDENT, RORY MCEWEN, VISITS RAPHAEL→