Category Archives: Volunteering

CONGRAULATIONS RAPHAEL

This year Raphael celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.

Residents performing during the Founder’s Day Program

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.

Matt at Raphael

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.

An Australian Team of Dental Volunteers visited Timor-Leste in July 2018.

This is Their Story!

Our Dental Team of Dentist Dr John Denton, Hygienist Lyn Carman, and Dental Assistant Jodie Billinger, arrived in Dili full of excitement and anticipation. We were met at the airport by Joaquim Soares, Director of Klibur Domin, and Patricia McDonell, our Rotary Team Leader. Joaquim shepherded us through customs with our 90 kilograms of dental instruments and supplies. We had each filled our cases full of dental stuff and carried all our clothes for the 10-day adventure in our back packs. We quickly made ourselves at home in the new, very comfortable, Klibur Domin volunteer cottage.

Next morning, we were keen to meet our new local Dental Therapists, Efi, Luis and Maria. Luis and Maria graduated from Dili University, and Efi did a similar course in Indonesia. Their training enables them to perform simple diagnosis and treatment of dental diseases, including fillings, extractions, Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) use, scalings and oral hygiene instruction (OHI).

Dr Ian Ridley and I were very pleased when these local clinicians came on board the KD Dental Clinic Project. Co-operation between Maluk Timor and KD has advanced the KD Dental Project three to four years ahead of our projections. Our Australian volunteer dental team roles have changed from us doing everything, to doing some of the operating and much more mentoring; a role we found very satisfactory and satisfying. Efi, Luis, Maria and Juvita, a student Dental Nurse, were very keen to learn from us and eager to help us with translating and support. Continue reading An Australian Team of Dental Volunteers visited Timor-Leste in July 2018.

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. Continue reading Time at Klibur Domin

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