“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

— William Shakespeare

How to Volunteer

Our centres in India and Timor-Leste are always looking for volunteers.

You may be a gap year student or a retiree. Or maybe you are a teacher, nurse, electrician, banker, physio or speech therapist. Whatever, your occupation, if your heart is in the right place and you want to use your gifts to do something for someone else, then volunteer.

Jamie volunteered for three months.

“I had no idea what to expect when I began volunteering. What I found and experienced lived up to and surpassed any expectations I'd had. I have come away with a new found understanding and love of people with intellectual and physical disabilities, an increased confidence within myself, a possible career change and a different outlook on life.”

If you would like to learn more about our volunteer programme and how you could be involved, contact Carolyn at rcfnz@outlook.com or phone her on 027 473 3157.



Testimonies from Volunteers who have Worked at Raphael



Having attended several Ryder-Cheshire fundraisers at a young age with my parents, I decided that I would like to go to India and experience Raphael for myself. I had volunteered in the past, but this was my first time doing so abroad.

I am thrilled to say that it did not disappoint! India had always fascinated me, and it was as colourful, chaotic and spellbinding as I had imagined.

Raphael, however, was more than I expected, with its lush green acreage, comfortable accommodation, hearty meals and wonderful people. The smiles, laughs, hugs, handshakes and high-fives from the children and residents were endless! I couldn't go anywhere without an enthusiastic greeting. So much joy could be brought to these faces just by being present.

The teachers were warm, motivated and had a wonderful approach to the students and learning. I spent the majority of my time as a teacher assistant in Kanti's class. Kanti was a beautiful woman with a smile as big as her heart.

Working with the Community Based Rehabilitation team saw me joining the physiotherapists as they visited homes and other schools in distant remote villages. It was a privilege to be invited into these homes, and to see the collaboration with parents, local services and schools, with the child's best interests always at the core.



The physio department is in full swing and I'm happily busy working there. 


The Community Based Rehabilitation programme has kicked off. It has been great setting up the physio programmes for both of those community centres. 

The Raphael doctor helped me to set up with the Shiv Sadan residents so I am able to treat a few of their aches and pains. 

Being able to do all this including the work with the kids at the school has been amazing. It’s been a definite challenge and outside my normal clientele, but very rewarding.



When I first visited Raphael, I was frightened by some of the disabilities I saw.

I can remember being taken to the Leprosy Colony. A staff member showed me around and introduced me to the residents and interpreted for me.

Raphael gate 120.jpg

I was introduced to a woman who had severe deformities from leprosy. Her hands were eaten away by the gangrene. She came up to me and tried to hug me.

She spoke to the interpreter and I asked what she had said.

“Do you really want to know what she said?” the interpreter replied. Of course I did.  

“She said ‘Ma’am, your tummy is fat.’”  

I smiled and replied, “Tell her that her arms are too short.”

The interpreter spoke to the woman and we all burst into laughter. For me the spell was broken, and I walked out of my world and into hers.

To this day I am in awe of these beautiful people, for they have that something special. Their eyes sparkle like jewels - something I don’t see too often in the western world.  

If you would like to learn more about our volunteer programme and how you can be involved, then contact Carolyn at rcfnz@outlook.com or phone her on 027 473 3157.