It is with a heavy heart, we inform you about the sad demise of Bhola, one of our permanent residents who came to Raphael in 1959, the year of our establishment and left for his heavenly abode on 2nd January 2017.
Life has unexpected twists and turns and often what seems to be the very end may turn out to be the beginning of a beautiful story – a story of reaching out, of love and care, of helping hands extended in assistance to fellow travellers in life’s remarkable journey. Such has been the story of Bhola’s life. It is one which touches the well spring of human compassion, tenderness in human interaction and it spans countries.
Bhola’s story begins with pain and rejection: a handicapped four year old left to die on the railway tracks by despairing parents dejected perhaps by the challenges of poverty and of the child’s physical weakness.
The story dramatically becomes one of divine intervention as an alert Railway Driver jams brakes at the very last moment to save the life of the child. It then weaves through the patient and determined efforts of the newly established Raphael institution (1959) in bringing up Bhola – a victim of severe spasticity, who had severe speech limitations and was completely dependent on others for all his needs.
It was indeed remarkable that despite his severe physical limitations Bhola had learnt to paint holding the paintbrush in his mouth. Protected and sustained physically, Bhola was also nurtured emotionally. Residents of Raphael loved Bhola like an elder sibling, volunteers were concerned for him, teachers supported him.
Love, Concern, Support, that is how one defines a family. Bhola found one in Raphael. In his willingness to engage with life, Bhola imparted the lesson of strength and courage. Many volunteers and visitors have written in to share how Bhola has impacted their lives. Anne and Phillip Boyd recall being told by Pam Harrison (who in 1959 had started Ava Vihar) how Bhola was able to recognize her at the 2009 Golden Jubilee and even addressed her as “teacher”.
As the first inmate of Raphael, Bhola’s life has illustrated the efforts of Raphael – patience, steadiness and determination in meeting huge odds. In the words of Peter Newton “Bhola personified the spirit of Raphael”
Bina Day began in 1978 at the Ballarat Grammar Junior School when the school sponsored their first Little White House resident at the Raphael Ryder-Cheshire International Centre in Dehra Dun, Northern India. Her name is Bina and she went on to study nursing. Raphael has been operating for 59 years.
The Assistant Principal, Julian Hopkins said, ‘We now sponsor six children and one adult with disabilities at Raphael.’
‘The school was buzzing with all the students’ excitement for their 2017 Bina Day. They organized the stalls and activities to raise the funds. They set up cake stalls, environment stands, busking and lots of fun games.’ From Ballarat Courier 3rd May 2017
Brigadier Arun Bhatnagar, CEO Raphael, sent through a message of encouragement to the students. ‘Last year, I and my wife had the pleasure of meeting some students from Ballarat Grammar School, while we were in Ballarat attending the Ryder-Cheshire Biennial Conference. We were moved to see the commitment of the students for reaching out to support our residents at Raphael. This in itself speaks volumes of the ethos of your school and the values you are cultivating in the GenNext. Hats off, indeed! ‘ Continue reading Ballarat Grammar School Raises Funds for Raphael→
The Ballarat Civic Hall is gathering stories for historical records. The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria Ballarat Support Group was asked to add their story to the collection, as it was back in 1964 that its birth took place when Leonard Cheshire visited Ballarat.
The late Group Captain Lord Leonard Cheshire of Woodhall VC, OM, DSO, DFC and the late Baroness Sue Ryder of Warsaw CMG, OBE. set up the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation in 1959.
Leonard Cheshire was Britain’s most highly decorated WW2 airman. He was a British observer at the atomic bomb raid on Nagasaki. His reaction to the war led him to undertake humanitarian work as his contribution to peace.
Sue Ryder served in the Special Operations Executive in WW2 with responsibilities in Poland. Witnessing the terrible destruction after the war, she set up homes in Eastern Europe to help and sick, homeless, disabled and destitute people especially those from concentration camps.
I have been asked to submit an article about my time at Raphael in October/November 2014 but I just don’t know where to start. My 19 yr old daughter and I spent almost two months at Raphael so you would think I could come up with something. My fear is not being able to do Raphael justice in just one short article. I have thought of every excuse under the sun not to write the article but here I am attempting to write it none the less. Continue reading Karen→
April this year sees the Ryder-Cheshire fraternity assemble in Ballarat for their Biennial Conference.
The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria Ballarat Support Group is hosting the Conference. The Ballarat members feel honoured to be undertaking this task and are eagerly looking forward to the fruits of their work.
It is a weekend packed with presentations, workshops, historical movie, guest speakers and the celebration of the work of Ryder-Cheshire ‘for the relief of suffering.’