How best to describe my experience at Raphael? It was moving, humbling, eye-opening, sometimes challenging – though all the more rewarding for being so – but most of the time just a lot of fun. I spent the majority of my three months there helping out in the primary and pre-primary classes, assisting with activities such as music, art and fine motor training. Time after school was often spent playing cricket with the boys or football with the girls, who didn’t seem quite so cricket-mad. I formed some really good relationships.The teachers and office staff are very friendly and welcoming, and as for the children, some of them can melt your heart the moment you meet them. It was hard saying goodbye.
Besides that, I found that Raphael was a great base from which to explore other parts of India. Rishikesh is wonderfully charming and is only about an hour’s bus ride away, while weekend trips to Amritsar and Dharamsala are also possible. I thought Dehradun itself was fascinating too, as spending time there gave me a real sense of everyday life in northern India.
In short, for anyone considering going to Raphael, I do not think I could recommend it enough. It is a very, very special place.