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 his first year as the National President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, Rory McEwen, has recently returned from a visit to Raphael. Below is his report.
My visit to Raphael commenced with two one day trips, the first into the foothills of the Himalayas where our jeep driver managed to deliver four of us safely to a small school in a tiny village to meet with around 50 parents and their disabled children. The journey along narrow winding mountain roads was not for the faint hearted. Marvelling at the women struggling up steep inclines, almost buried in huge loads of vegetation balanced on their heads, took our minds off the perils of the journey.
The gathering that awaited us at the end of our four hour trek had assembled for a briefing on managing and modifying challenging behaviours and to discuss sexuality and the disabled. Our talented presenters spoke in Hindi. Luckily the accompanying slides were in English so I could get some feel for the animated discussion. Some of the parents, particularly the men, didn’t seem to take kindly to some of the frank discussions but it was an overwhelming success. Continue reading NATIONAL PRESIDENT, RORY MCEWEN, VISITS RAPHAEL→