Initially, much of the work at Raphael was focused on treating, housing and caring for people with leprosy and their families. Now, with the advances in medicine, there are very few active cases of leprosy, however Raphael is still the home of about 40 cured leprosy residents and/or their family members. Many of them have found meaningful employment at Raphael and their children are supported in their education through to tertiary level. As the need for services and facilities for people with leprosy reduces, more of the resources at Raphael are being utilised for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
The 26 bed hospital at Raphael has both in-patient and out-patient facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of TB and MDR-TB. The hospital treats several hundred patients per year and has a very high cure rate.
Raphael provides a home for students with intellectual and physical disabilities. It was the aim of Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire that all Ryder-Cheshire Homes should be real homes to their residents and not institutions, and at Raphael this aim is very strongly followed. A number of the older students are accommodated in small group homes where independent living skills can be developed. Where possible students return to their families and communities with their new skills, or if they remain at Raphael they are assisted to find meaningful employment within Raphael or in the wider community.
The special education unit provides early intervention programs and other specialised educational programs for children resident in Raphael and others from the surrounding community who attend as day students. This unit also provides a rehabilitative workshop which allows older residents to gain vocational skills and employment.
Community Based Rehabilitation
The Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program involves a mobile team which travels to villages in the surrounding district to identify and provide support to children with disabilities. CBR services include physiotherapy, provision of mobility aids such as wheelchairs and ramps and consultation and training for parents and teachers.
The Resource Centre
The Resource Centre has about 40 tertiary level students enrolled in the two year Diploma in Special Education. It also provides workshops and seminars for parents and teachers of children with learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities, and runs specialised educational programs for children with learning disabilities.