Category Archives: Disablity Programs

Time at Klibur Domin

RCA Volunteer Martin with Klibur Domin staff in July 2018

I recently returned from six months volunteering at Klibur Domin, from February to July 2018. It was a very rewarding and enjoyable experience and I would strongly encourage anyone with even a short amount of time to make the journey to Timor-Leste to see Klibur Domin (KD). I spent most of my time supporting the administration, although every day was a little bit different and over my time there I ended up with great variety of activities both in and out of the office.

I have been thinking about what really grasps me the most about Timor-Leste and KD. The solidarity and teamwork of KD’s staff and the passionate efforts of supporters have been inspirational, and the beauty of the country, its mountains, its coastlines and its oceans have all had a great impact.

Klibur Domin’s Community Based Rehabilitation program manager Gregorio and physical therapist Manato walk along a mountain trail to reach a house which is inaccessible to vehicles.

Going out into the community with KD’s Tuberculosis (TB) and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) teams made clear the scale of the work KD is undertaking to address healthcare needs in Timor-Leste. It is easy to underestimate the distances and the time needed to reach patients in Timor-Leste.

A large proportion of the communities impacted by KD are in the mountains and as a result there is a tremendous logistical component to KD’s community work. To illustrate the vertical scale of Timor-Leste’s mountainous terrain, the ocean trench off the coast is 3,000 meters deep, and the narrow island rises to 3,000 meters above sea level at its peak. This makes it both a beautiful and challenging country.

The local area around KD is flat and hot during the day but driving inland with tremendous gains in elevation in the first few kms, the temperature drops rapidly. It is too simplistic to think of Timor-Leste as a small country in the context of delivering healthcare to those in need, as well as in the ability for the sick to reach medical attention when they need to. In reality the overwhelming expanse of mountains and valleys make the country vast.

Issues around transportation weigh heavily in the minds of program staff, with regard to reaching those patients already identified, as well as the knowledge that there are other areas which are in need of contact; issues made even more challenging during the wet season when roads become increasingly difficult. Facing these challenges, the perseverance of KD’s TB and CBR outreach programs to reach these villages by 4WD, on motorcycles, and by foot, are truly praiseworthy.

KD is making significant contributions towards the global effort to identify and treat TB. This disease is a very serious issue in Timor-Leste, having one of the highest rates of infection worldwide. The reasons are manifold, with living conditions and access to appropriate healthcare leading the list of many stresses. What really sets KD apart is the active case finding strategy to seek out those who have TB in remote communities combined with an in-house directly observed treatment program; the best of its kind in Timor-Leste.

A weekend excursion to the beach with Klibur Domin staff and patients

There is a vital link between the work that KD does in community outreach and the inpatients program that will help free Timor-Leste of this high burden of TB in coming years. The recent completion of additional facilities at KD to treat more TB and Multi Drug Resistant-TB patients has been a necessary investment towards this global objective.

Every day at KD ensures that patients complete their treatments and have activities to keep them physically active and prepared to regain their livelihoods when they return home. A family I met in the community said that they could never thank KD enough for treatment which cured them of TB, and that it was their hope that KD’s presence will continue for many years to come.

As KD expands beyond TB and CBR it has been very exciting to see the Dental Clinic up and running. It is a program that is bound to have lasting impact. There are so many people who have had little to no dental treatment in their lives, and the amazing contributions of the volunteer dental teams are making serious inroads into dental health in Timor.

The efforts of the Dental Clinic both in treatment and education is truly magnificent. Through the efforts of KD in partnership with Maluk Timor, many people come through the Dental Clinic for treatment. With this helping hand, they can focus on achieving their ambitions without the burdens associated with dental complications.

It was great to have so many visits from Ryder-Cheshire and Rotary volunteers while I was there, catching up on news from back home and feeling the brightness and motivation of everyone who made it to KD. We had many memorable evenings in the volunteer cottages. Amazed by the common connections I found with many of the volunteers, I was reminded of what a small and interconnected world it is that we live in.

Broni and Snr Joaquim Soares discuss the use of water and fertilizer to care for new plants at KD

Hearing about the worsening drought facing Australian farmers was concerning. It is an experience shared with the Timorese.

By the time I was preparing to return to Australia, it was well into the dry season and the fields around KD that were so productive earlier in the year were becoming very dusty and bare. A large proportion of Timorese are involved in small scale agriculture but even in the more built up areas around KD, people generally make full use of their land with crops, fruit trees, and livestock.

KD is right on the edge of the rural and urban environments and while there is still a strong sense of biodiversity in the area, increasingly there are the flow-on effects of the rapid urban development of Dili. KD is working to ensure positive environmental outcomes, paying close attention to our own waste, water and energy use. A recently completed incinerator has given us an effective method of medical waste disposal, we have installed our first solar hot water system, and the Garden Program will help to address food security at KD in coming years, providing leadership for staff and patients to improve horticultural practices, and further reducing our carbon footprint.

Carmelita leads the way at Tybesi Market, which is Dili’s largest fresh produce market, where we collect KD’s food for the Inpatients program. KD is making progress to supplement purchases with on-site food production.

And it says something about KD’s success that through the years the tireless efforts of volunteers working hand in hand with staff have helped maintain the vision and momentum. We are achieving so much every day for the relief of suffering and it really feels like there is a prosperous future ahead for KD because of these unwavering commitments.

Coming back to that initial question of what really captured me in my time at KD, I would have to say it is the resilience of the Timorese people and their long history of struggle and determination that is truly inspiring. The strength and positivity of the Timorese people is a testament to the spirit of human endeavor and it has been incredibly rewarding to be part of this amazing team that is contributing to their future.

Martin Moignard

Josie and her Family at Raphael


We went as a family to volunteer at Raphael (Ryder Cheshire Foundation) in Dehradun, India. It was Molly’s idea which then took hold.

Molly (20), was on summer holidays from university, Roland (17), had just finished school and did not wish to take a gap year but accepted this challenge; I was eligible for long service leave from Maternal and Child Health Nursing and Rick, a self-employed builder, could manage his time. As well as volunteering with special needs children and assisting with a humanitarian orgaisation, we hoped to experience India in a true and meaningful way.

As Raphael was closed for Christmas holidays, our month of volunteering there would start mid-January. So, we planned three weeks of travel and sight-seeing beforehand. It was winter time in India. Our journey started in Kolkata so that we could spend a few days with our old exchange student, Deeksha, and her family. They were wonderfully hospitable and introduced us to the food of West Bengal, took us to a wedding celebration and to New Year’s Eve events in Kolkata. It was a happy start to our holiday. Continue reading Josie and her Family at Raphael

A Second Home in Mt Gambier called Cheshire

The Ryder-Cheshire Mt Gambier Home Board has long known that if we could build a second home on the vacant block of land next door to the current home that there are sufficient in the region who would like to become residents. We have already received a number of enquiries.

Last year we submitted an application for funding under the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund program.

We would not have been able to apply if it had not been for the generous donations from Ryder-Cheshire Australia of $100,000, $100,000 from the Ryder-Cheshire Support Group at Singleton in New South Wales, $50,000 from Ryder-Cheshire South Australia, $30,000 from the Evans Family Trust, $20,000; plus significant donations from the Rotary Club Mt Gambier West and others. We were fortunate to receive the profits from the catering for the Rotary D9780 District Conference in early April 2018. This was the combined efforts of Soroptimists, Lionesses, Rotary, Red Cross and the Ryder Cheshire Catering Group.

Together with accumulated funds it was deemed feasible to arrange for a building loan from the Police Credit Union.

On 4 August 2017 Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, as Minister for Regional Development, announced that the Ryder-Cheshire Mt Gambier Home Board’s application for funding under the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) had been approved.

Our architect, Stephen Herbert, steered the tendering process. It was decided that the Board would accept the cheapest tender as this was from the same builder who had built the first home. The architect concurred. Continue reading A Second Home in Mt Gambier called Cheshire


 by Mar,  from USA

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.

A Warm Welcome

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

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

John Hunt Outreach Program


Beautiful Himalyas in the background on the way to the district of Uttarkashi from Dehradun.

On Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March 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.

Disability Presentation to the Anganwadi women.

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