Founders’ Day 2019 was held over two days in beautiful spring weather. Raphael celebrated 60 years since its foundation in 1959. Christine and Graeme Hannan and Trish Twaits from Australia joined Carolyn Tapley and her mother Mina Munro from New Zealand and Jamie McCartney from the UK as international guests at the celebrations.
Thursday 4 April 10amA large group of guests assembled at the main gate for a walk around the campus. After meeting with the residents of the Shiv Sadan they visited Barbara Cottage and then stopped at the Resource Centre for a ceremony to unveil a plaque for the new Therapy and Multi Purpose Centre. Afterwards there was a visit to the refurbished Little White House, where the male residents are now housed and Ava Vihar where the female residents live. A visit to many of the day school classrooms was also included, as was the garden project which is teaching many of the students about growing vegetables and fruit. The last stop was the TB hospital. The morning concluded with a delicious Community buffet lunch which was held outdoors under the trees for every member of the Raphael community.
Friday 5April 4.30pmThe main event of the day was the Founders’ Day Program, which was held outdoors. The welcome address was presented by the Raphael Governing Council Chairman, Lt General Rustom Nanavatty (Retd). Congratulations was given by Christine Hannan and Carolyn Tapley on behalf of Ryder-Cheshire Australia and New Zealand. The program included a series of cultural items, presented by the various Raphael resident groups with assistance from others. These provided a wealth of colour, movement, dance and song and delighted all present. There was also a distribution of prizes for achievements reached by community members and a stirring band performance from the IMA Military Band. The Chairman announced that the new CEO of Raphael was to be Mrs Priyo Lall, which was warmly received by the community. The Chief Guest, Lt General S M Mehta (Retd) Chief Executive Officer The Hans Foundation delivered the closing address which received a spontaneous hug from one of the residents. The program concluded with afternoon tea.
The guests agreed that that it had been a privilege to be present for these two days, which had been a whirlwind of people and events, of welcome and hospitality and of warmth and friendship.
Reported by Chris Hannan and Trish Twaits.
Photographs from Graeme Hannan, Trish Twaits and Carolyn Tapley.
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.
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→
On the Monday 16 April after the 2018 Ryder Cheshire Australia Biennial Conference in Ivanhoe, the Raphael Northern India and Klibur Domin Timor-Leste visitors continued their journey to Ballarat to visit the Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire schools.
As 2019 will be Raphael’s 60th birthday this visit provided a wonderful opportunity to thank each school for their long time commitment ‘for the relief of suffering.’
Each school was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation plus the gift of the Leonard Cheshire Rose which will arrive in late July for planting. The rose will be in full bloom in time for Raphael’s birthday next year.
The first group visited Ballarat Grammar School and Ballarat Clarendon College. This group was accompanied by Trish Twaits, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire Secretary, and Dawn Manning, Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire School Liaison Officer. The group included:
Brigadier Anil Sinha, Chief Executive Officer at Raphael and his wife Gouri Sinha, The Hon Rory McEwen, National President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia and his wife Di McEwen, Susie Mackerras, RCA National Project Officer (India) and Overseas Volunteers’ Coordinator. Continue reading Ballarat Ryder-Cheshire Schools’ Visit→
By installing solar panels, Raphael is working towards more sustainable ways of living and cutting down on energy costs.
Three Solar Water Heating Systems have already been installed which function at the TB Hospital, in the Kitchen cum Ava Vihar and in the Little White House. The installation of these was supported by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) a Government venture. The Solar Power Plant was installed in October 2017 and comprises of two 25 kw each projects located on rooftops of the Day School and Dining Hall and Ava Vihar.
To encourage the use of solar/alternate energy, the Government of India offered a subsidy of up to 70% subsidy on the bench mark price to Trusts and Societies on a “first come, first served” basis. Raphael availed this government subsidy. As reported in the November 2017 Red Feather, the balance of $30,000 – which was to be the Raphael share – was met from the generous financial assistance provided by the Singleton Support Group, Australia. The on-grid Solar Power Plant, set up by M/s XPANZ Energy Solutions, is expected to have a life of twenty-five years. It will supply power to the Raphael campus between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm each day and will operate all the electrical appliances, thus reducing our electricity consumption. It is a significant forward looking initiative that goes to fulfill our objective of making Raphael a green campus.
Raphael appreciates the good offices of Ryder-Cheshire Australia in making this grant possible. We are indeed beholden to the Singleton Support Group, Australia and a Plaque at the site of the Solar Power plant commemorates the kindness of the donors.