My time at Raphael was an amazing and rewarding experience. From a professional, cultural and social aspect my time was more than I expected. I arrived in India not knowing anyone but left feeling that I had made many new friends. Raphael has a commitment and enthusiasm to improve the lives of many people. It also has an ongoing learning environment for current staff as well as future Special Education teachers. Besides my working life, my Raphael experience was an opportunity for me to learn about India and for Raphael to learn more about Australia. Daily exchange of cultural ways was educational for all of us. Language, religious customs and of course, enjoying the delicious Indian food were some of the highlights. Many people in Dehradun were friendly when they knew where you worked. But the hospitality of Raphael staff was outstanding.
Ever since I was 12 I’ve not only wanted to travel to India, but immerse myself in Indian Culture. After two years as an occupational therapist in the public service I knew it was my time to go. A colleague, Carmen, had been a volunteer at Raphael 15 years ago. She had compiled a beautiful photo album of her time at Raphael. The timing was impeccable. Continue reading Georgia
After a couple of medical issues in the first two weeks, I got into the rhythm of Raphael. But it was a full month before I felt comfortable in what I was doing, getting to know the staff I had most to do with, and getting a handle on Indian names. My working week of 5 days, 9 to 3.30 was spent in the vocational workshop, mainly making and packing candles. The teacher had up to 10 students to supervise, all with specific jobs to meet orders for around 30,000 candles for Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. I think I can say that, being there for this very busy period, was a benefit to the teacher. The living conditions were faultless, our cook prepared 3 meals a day if required, all good Indian food. Continue reading David
Even having previously heard and read stories of Raphael I had no real idea what to expect when I began volunteering there. What I found and experienced lived up to and surpassed any expectations I’d previously had. I came away with a new found understanding, a love of children with mental and physical disabilities, some basic Hindi, an increased confidence within myself, a possible career change and a different outlook on life. Not bad for three months. Continue reading JAMIE
After a delayed commencement day of one day (due to personal circumstances), I commenced work on the 26/5/14.
My main trepidation in going to KD was my lack of language skills, even though a former volunteer, Fran, did her best to teach me. At the end of the day, I knew some very basic words e.g. greetings and numbers. Continue reading Ondria