I spent three months at Raphael and it was fantastic. The kids are wonderful, the staff, brilliant and the city itself has a special type of charm. Raphael is welcoming so if you are a keen traveller or just starting to dip your toe into a world that is different to the one you are used to, this will start to show you what India is while making you feel safe. I started my time in India here and by the time I left, felt more confident about travelling through the rest of India.
But, Raphael. I spent the day helping out in the school, assisting the primary teacher with her class. She appreciated it; the kids are gorgeous but exhausting. The range of intellectual disabilities within one class is quite wide so it’s a challenge trying to give each child what they need. The rewards are abundant though and even within the three months I was there the level of communication of the children in the class had improved. After the school day had finished I either went over to the Little White House, played basketball, volleyball, taught English or just chatted with the kids over there (they are so welcoming and lovely) or I went to Ava Viha to play and assist there. I also walked into town quite often, especially on the weekend where there are plenty of things to do. It’s exciting to get to know one town well. While I was there I also helped out in stalls and shops when there were festivals on, selling the items that the vocational centre makes.
If I wasn’t in town I spent the weekends going to Mussoorie, Hardiwar, Rishikesh and where ever else took my fancy. I was there for Dhushera and Diwali which was so much fun; the customs, the fireworks and the food! Amazing!
I had a great time and I know that being there helped the teachers and the kids, even if it was just a new face. Honestly though, I think that I got more out of it than they did. I had such a good time; I met so many people, started to learn about a different culture and got to explore a new country. I really recommend Raphael – they do an incredible and important job. You won’t want to leave.