On the Monday 16 April after the 2018 Ryder Cheshire Australia Biennial Conference in Ivanhoe, the Raphael Northern India and Klibur Domin Timor-Leste visitors continued their journey to Ballarat to visit the Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire schools.
As 2019 will be Raphael’s 60th birthday this visit provided a wonderful opportunity to thank each school for their long time commitment ‘for the relief of suffering.’
Each school was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation plus the gift of the Leonard Cheshire Rose which will arrive in late July for planting. The rose will be in full bloom in time for Raphael’s birthday next year.
The first group visited Ballarat Grammar School and Ballarat Clarendon College. This group was accompanied by Trish Twaits, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire Secretary, and Dawn Manning, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire School Liaison Officer. The group included:
Brigadier Anil Sinha, Chief Executive Officer at Raphael and his wife Gouri Sinha, The Hon Rory McEwen, National President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia and his wife Di McEwen, Susie Mackerras, RCA National Project Officer (India) and Overseas Volunteers’ Coordinator.
A second group visited Damascus College and Loreto College. This group included:
Sr Joaquim Soares, Managing Director, Klibur Domin
Sra Fabiola dos Santos, General Manager, Klibur Domin
Mike Moignard, President Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria and his wife Kathy Moignard,
Lucy Xavier who is from Ainaro in Timor-Leste and is having a Gap Year at Ballarat Grammar School
The group was accompanied by Dianne McGrath, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire President and Andy Naus, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire School Liaison Officer.
Patricia Prendergast, Honorary Life Member and her son Maurice joined the group at Loreto College.
Both groups came together for lunch at the Ballarat
Specialist School Café at their FARM. Sam Sheppard, Assistant Principal, hosted the lunch with help from the students from the Specialist School.
After lunch a third group visited Mt Blowhard Primary School, a small rural school north of Ballarat. The students warmly greeted their special guests and proudly conducted a tour of their school which was followed by a whole school assembly and afternoon tea.
Ballarat put on a wet, windy, cold day, but this did not dampen the enthusiastic welcome the schools gave to their overseas and national visitors. It was a day of great joy hearing about how each school supports RCA ‘for the relief of suffering.’
By installing solar panels, Raphael is working towards more sustainable ways of living and cutting down on energy costs.
Three Solar Water Heating Systems have already been installed which function at the TB Hospital, in the Kitchen cum Ava Vihar and in the Little White House. The installation of these was supported by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) a Government venture. The Solar Power Plant was installed in October 2017 and comprises of two 25 kw each projects located on rooftops of the Day School and Dining Hall and Ava Vihar.
To encourage the use of solar/alternate energy, the Government of India offered a subsidy of up to 70% subsidy on the bench mark price to Trusts and Societies on a “first come, first served” basis. Raphael availed this government subsidy. As reported in the November 2017 Red Feather, the balance of $30,000 – which was to be the Raphael share – was met from the generous financial assistance provided by the Singleton Support Group, Australia. The on-grid Solar Power Plant, set up by M/s XPANZ Energy Solutions, is expected to have a life of twenty-five years. It will supply power to the Raphael campus between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm each day and will operate all the electrical appliances, thus reducing our electricity consumption. It is a significant forward looking initiative that goes to fulfill our objective of making Raphael a green campus.
Raphael appreciates the good offices of Ryder-Cheshire Australia in making this grant possible. We are indeed beholden to the Singleton Support Group, Australia and a Plaque at the site of the Solar Power plant commemorates the kindness of the donors.
Sr Mary Myers passed away suddenly and quietly on 30 July 2017.
Sr Mary was Houseparent (Resident Carer) at the Ryder-Cheshire Victorian Homes and is well remembered by past residents as a compassionate, yet strong and decisive person.
Her first period at the home was from January 1990 to August 1995. This was followed by a period of sabbatical leave during which she visited Raphael and spent time in the UK at Cavendish, working with Sue Ryder and serving at other homes in the UK. Mary returned to Ivanhoe from January 1997 – April 2002 when she retired.
Soon after retiring she went to Klibur Domin as a volunteer. Unfortunately, a broken leg meant a trip back to Australia to recover, then she returned to Klibur Domin for a further short period in 2003.
In 2004 Mary assisted for a short time in WA as House-mother at the Perth Barbara Seabrook House. Her assistance being greatly appreciated by the RCF WA Foundation.
Mary subsequently provided continuing support to Ryder-Cheshire on the Op Shop roster at Mount Waverley, was an asset to the Ryder-Cheshire team at fund-raising trivia nights, and maintained her connection with the Victorian Homes.
Mary’s life epitomised the spirit of Ryder-Cheshire and we miss her presence and staunch support.
I arrived in India on the second week of January 2017 ready to make true one of my dearest dreams; serve others as a volunteer.
I was so excited after receiving acceptance from Ryder- Cheshire Australia of my offer to volunteer in the Raphael Centre in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. There were a few months of expectation waiting for the day to take a plane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA to fly to the other side of the world.
After four days in New Delhi sightseeing, trying delicious food and adjusting to cold weather, I took the train to Dehradun and reached Raphael after a seven hour trip.
I had a warm welcome from the staff on duty as well as the Volunteers’ Coordinator who made me feel at home right away. During the following fourteen weeks I was able to enjoy attending the morning assembly for prayers, learning The National Anthem and songs, helping teachers in the classrooms, especially Primary II Class, sharing with the most lovely students, participating in music and sport classes, engaging with children in the playground and learning the daily routine in the Day Centre.
I also had the opportunity to volunteer within the Psychology Department, the Rehabilitation Workshop and complete recreational activities with Ava Vihar residents in the afternoons.
The special activities were also an amazing experience; The Republic Day Ceremony, the colourful Holi celebration and all the practices to participate in two programs during the Founders’ Day Event as well as helping the children and staff in a day Health Check Camp and the three day camp for Free Artificial Limbs and Polio Callipers.
After the weekday activities were completed, there was time for sightseeing at the weekends. I visited many significant places including Clement Town, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Hardwar, Chandigarh and Amritsar.
This was the best experience in my life! And forever Raphael and India are in my heart!
Thanks Raphael and Ryder-Cheshire Australia for the opportunity
Over ninety delegates have made their way back to their homes in Timor-Leste, India, New Zealand and across Australia. We have been informed, challenged, inspired, and entertained.
Ryder-Cheshire is an inclusive family and an important function of the Conference is that of family reunion, and a welcome to new supporters. Those who normally communicate by email and telephone have been together for hugs and handshakes, and in-depth discussion that is not possible by other means.
We were fortunate indeed to have a beautiful venue, Hillsley, a former church which is part of the Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School campus, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Our heartfelt thanks to the School for making it available to us.
In conjunction with the Conference, Ryder-Cheshire Australia also held it’s Annual General Meeting, and a General Meeting of the Board, with all members present plus valuable input from Klibur Domin Managing Director, Sr Joaquim Soares and Raphael Chief Executive Officer, Brig Anil Sinha (Retd). The Board also welcomed observers Carolyn Tapley, RCF New Zealand, and John Kirby RCF SA.
Some highlights of the conference:
In the opening address by Dr Heather Schnagl AM, ‘ Never Too Young for Philanthropy ‘, she described the openness of young people to becoming engaged in philanthropy if approached in the right way, and the success she has achieved with her students in this respect. Dr Schnagl, is the immediate Past Principal of Ivanhoe Girls’ School and a “Friend of Ryder-Cheshire”. Indeed, lots of ideas for Ryder-Cheshire to pursue.
We watched informative Power Point and video updates from Anil (from Raphael) and Joaquim (from Klibur Domin) about progress and developments at Raphael and Klibur Domin respectively.
Very important, as the overseas homes are the primary focus of the work and fundraising of Ryder-Cheshire Australia. Carolyn Tapley briefed us on developments in New Zealand.
Several overseas volunteers – Robyn Leeder, Christian Hiss, and Patricia McDonell, described their experiences at Raphael and Klibur Domin respectively. It is clear that for most volunteers these placements are life transforming, and for some become a long-term
Saturday afternoon was engaged in a Workshop
“Vision 2025”, with facilitator Robert Gardiner. President Rory introduced his own vision which was followed by 3-minute presentations from all Foundations defining the challenges they see ahead. The delegates broke into small groups to explore ways to meet the challenges. The outcomes from the group work will provide a platform for the Ryder-Cheshire Australia Board and all committees to plan the way forwards.
The afternoon finished with a live interview with Tessa West, author of “Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw: Single- minded Philanthropist.”, who joined us by interactive Skype from the United Kingdom. She shared many interesting observations and insights about Sue Ryder.
The Guest speaker at the Saturday night Conference Dinner was The Hon Tim Fischer AC, and what a treat that was !
From his perspective as an observer at the 1999 election when the people of Timor Leste chose independence, Tim talked about Timor Leste’s journey to statehood. He drew parallels with the Western Front of WWI, and went on to describe the role of Sir John Monash in the final months of the war. He finished by donating his book of railway adventures, “Trains Unlimited” for auction in support of Klibur Domin. It raised $250 on the spot! The audience showed its appreciation for Tim’s excellent speech and generous
A beautiful quilt designed, made and donated by Carole McLennan, was the object of a silent auction which raised a wonderful $800 !
Sunday morning held another treat with the showing of precious historical film footage from the early days of Raphael, tracked down by Hugh Elphinstone and Anne and Phillip Boyd. Proceedings wrapped up with a Q & A session which provoked interesting discussion and moved us further along the path of renewal.
Just a few need special mention: Rory McEwen, President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, for his energy, wisdom and leadership.
Mike Moignard, Convenor of the Victorian Conference Working Group, and Master of Ceremonies and moderator for the Conference, and his team. Terry Warr, computer and electronics whizz who managed the audio-visual aspects with such calm competence. Sr Jane Gorey and committee members, staff and volunteers at the Victorian Homes for their warm welcome and ‘nothing is too much trouble’ support.
And a Very Special Mention: Evelyn Petters
Our best wishes go to Mount Gambier who will host the next Biennial Conference in 2020.
The Victorian Conference Working Group: Mike Moignard, Don Hamilton, Peter McConnell, Kathy Oswin, Anthea Swann, and Barrie William.