I arrived in Raphael in November 2012 and it was one of the best experiences I ever had.

Raphael offers each volunteer a multi-tiered experience. Even if you initially give assistance in one area, being the school, hospital or one of the adult education programs, you will find yourself swept up in the spirit of the place and taking valuable life lessons from each part of the organization.

I helped out in the vocational class encompassing a group of students aged 14-17 which targeted their practical skill set. The class was blessed with an amazing teacher who taught with compassion and dedication.

Working as a teacher’s aide in the classroom gives you insight into managing and progressing the personal development of children and young people. While the school offers a specific curriculum to address student needs you also come away with a broader understanding of people management, conflict resolution and working cross-culturally. For this reason, Raphael enables a true exchange. That is, while you give your time and energy and learn to incorporate your skills usefully into the program, you in turn come away with valuable lessons that can be applied back home.

In my personal experience I found all staff; the executive, the administrative, teaching and medical, to not only be welcoming and accommodating, but also inspiring. The students and residents are no exception. You will have the privilege of hearing many stories which will both challenge and enlighten you.

As a volunteer you are managed well and kept informed and updated on important information. There are plenty of people who are willing to give advice and offer assistance where possible. This support is priceless because it helps you become familiar with how to go about things in Dehradun.

As a volunteer, if you follow all instructions and really get amongst it you will surely have a very memorable experience. I am really looking forward to returning to Raphael in the future.

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