On Thursday 15and Friday 16March 2018, I was incredibly fortunate to travel with two of the Special Educators from Raphael out into the remote Himalayan mountains as part of the John Hunt Outreach Program. A nearly 8 hour drive along very narrow & incredibly winding roads and we reached the district of Uttarkashi, to the north of DehraDun. Uttarkashi is divided into six smaller ‘blocks’. This was the final block in this district to be visited by the team. I couldn’t believe the distances covered to provide training, advice and support around disability.
On arrival, Mini, Ganga and I presented to 215 Anganwadi – woman who look after children aged 0-6 in the villages, about disability and how to identify disability in children. Some had walked up to 30kms to be there and were incredibly appreciative of the information and training they received. I spoke about how to identify learning disabilities in children with the assistance of an interpreter. Our training session was cut a little short as a thunderstorm threatened and many of the woman had a long walk in the rain to return to their villages. Continue reading John Hunt Outreach Program→
Going to Raphael was an easy decision due to the endless praise it receives from anyone who is lucky enough to visit.
As a physiotherapist I had been working in a hospital setting for two years and Raphael was the perfect opportunity to help grow my skills, as well to use what I had learned to help out those who do not have such an abundant supply of health resources.
I arrived in Raphael late at night after a long journey from Delhi. Expecting to just pick up some keys and fall into bed. Instead found the cook had been waiting up for me, going from his house to check when I arrived, so he could make sure I got dinner. This was the first example of a selfless desire to help which became a common trait in everyone I met working at Raphael. This gives reason to why I believe Raphael is so successful in making such positive progress in each one of its kids. Continue reading Helping children at Raphael→
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. Continue reading “Klibur Domin – memorable and humbling” →
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. Continue reading Raphael—what an Inspirational Place→
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→