Ryder-Cheshire relieving the suffering for over 60 years

A Courier reader identified this BMI picture as members of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation of Ballarat sending relief goods to Raphael House in India.

A Courier reader identified this BMI picture as members of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation of Ballarat sending relief goods to Raphael House in India.

It was an error in the titling of this photograph by The Courier that led to the discovery of the background story of one of Ballarat’s long-serving charities, the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation, and the work that it does relieving suffering around the world.

Mistakenly assuming this was a photograph of tea deliveries in Lydiard Street, correspondent Rosemary Tolhurst of Creswick pointed out the name of the charity and the house of relief it runs in India named ‘Raphael’ are written on the side of the tea chests.

It’s a photograph of local volunteers sending goods from Ballarat to the charity’s international centre in Dehra Dun in the state of Uttarakhand, India. 

Diane McGrath is a member of the Ballarat Support Group for Ryder-Cheshire Australia. She says the foundation supports both Raphael in India and another house of welfare in Timor Leste called ‘Klibur Domin’.

“We provide funds to support the residents of those homes,” says Ms McGrath.

“In India, the residents are quite severely disabled and have special learning needs, so we do mostly educational projects.

“Klibur Domin is a more recent health facility, established after the trouble of 1999. There’s a very well-known tuberculosis facility there; it takes overflow from the Dili hospital and assists people who are too ill to go home to their villages. It even treats people who have been bitten by crocodiles.”

Klibur Domin means ‘sharing love’ in Tetum, the local language.

The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation was established in 1959 by Leonard Cheshire, VC and his wife Sue Ryder, later Baroness Ryder and Baroness Cheshire.

Leonard Cheshire was an RAF pilot and commander whose exploits during the Second World War saw him become one of the most-decorated airmen in the conflict.

Suffering a crisis of faith after the war, he converted to Catholicism. Sue Ryder had been a member of the Special Operation Executive, a highly-secretive unit dedicated to espionage and sabotage of the Axis forces.

Together they formed several philanthropic foundations, a number of which, like Ryder-Cheshire, are still in existence today.