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.
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 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