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.

Meryl

Klibur Domin provides In-Patient Care, TB and MDR-TB treatment, and Community Based Rehabilitation for persons with Disabilities.

Klibur Domin is located at Tibar, in the District of Liquica, 17 km from the capital of Dili.

On the 16th October 2017, I flew from Brisbane to Timor-Leste, arriving at Dili Airport via Darwin. The purpose of my travel was to undertake the role of volunteer at Klibur Domin.

On arrival at Dili airport, Fabiola, the Manager of Klibur Domin, welcomed me. That first day Fabiola and other staff answered my many questions about potential work, the sense of place, culture and expectations for a volunteer. I had become both extremely nervous and excited at the same time. I absorbed everything like a sponge. During the next couple of weeks, I was able to meet all the staff and residents. The staff were extremely respectful and it seems that it has become natural for them to engage with volunteers in every aspect.

During my tenure, I was encouraged to learn Tetum, one of the official languages of Timor-Leste. I found learning Tetum challenging but I was able to develop an understanding of simple words and phrases. The staff and I found ways to work around the language barrier and it was fortunate that many of the staff could speak English. Continue reading Meryl

An Experience I will never forget

Natalia

My 8-week Occupational Therapy (OT) placement in Klibur Domin is one I will never forget. It was an experience that developed and enhanced my personal growth by facing the challenges head on, putting myself in an unfamiliar environment and having confidence in my own abilities.   From the friendly and supportive staff to the highly motivated inpatients and outpatients in the community, my time in Klibur Domin facilitated and strengthened my learning and knowledge of the occupational therapy rehabilitation process. During my placement I have seen many improvements in patients’ health and wellbeing, which has brought a big smile to my face.

In particular, one 55yo male patient who had a stroke and a below knee amputation 3 years ago showed a huge improvement in his upper limb function. At my initial assessment his left arm shoulder flexion was 50 degrees and he was fully dependent on his wife with feeding, washing and transferring in and out of bed. With stretches and exercises over the course of 8 weeks he was able to achieve his goal in feeding and washing the majority of himself independently and transferring in and out of bed with minimal assistance from his wife. His constant motivation to adhere to daily OT training made him a pleasure to work with, as was his lovely wife and supportive family. Continue reading An Experience I will never forget

Louis and Corey

In January/ February, we were given the chance to go and volunteer at Klibur Domin. From the moment we were picked up at the airport we were welcomed with warm East Timorese hospitality from all the staff and locals. Despite supposedly being wet season, we were able to do a considerable amount. Our first project was to repaint and make some minor improvements to Uma Barbara (Barbara Cottage) both inside and out. After finishing that task (which we had fundraised), we helped Gregorio and the maintenance guys doing activities such as mowing all compounds lawns and fixing windows. Our highlight however, was our last weekend when we got to take the children of St Damian’s Respite ward to the beach. It was lovely to see the smiles on their faces. Our Time in Timor L’Este, despite being short, was very enjoyable and we loved every second of it! Not only the volunteering side, but also the things volunteers can see and do on the weekends. We would like to thank everybody at Ryder Cheshire and Klibur Domin for giving us this opportunity of a life time and we both highly recommend giving it a go if given the chance. We will definitely be back.

 

Vale Melody Smythe

Melody Smythe – National Project Officer (India) – Sydney, NSW

On 15 October we received the sad news that Melody Smythe had died. Melody was a much loved member of the NSW Ryder Cheshire Committee from 2002 to 2013, when she was forced to retire through ill health. She also took on the role of Raphael Project Officer from 2006, building a warm relationship with Brig Anil Sinha as she navigated her way through the special project requests that were submitted by Raphael for funding.

Melody’s association with the Ryder Cheshire Foundation came about through her dear friend Barbara Lewis, who encouraged her to join the committee. It was a great joy to Melody that she was able to visit Raphael for the first time in March 2010 when she accompanied Patrick Lewis and his son Sutomo to attend the official opening of Barbara Cottage.

We will miss her warmth,concern for others and her work for the relief of suffering.

May she rest in peace.

Chris Hannan