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Centre for South Asian Studies: Fellowships and Exchanges


Rafe Bullick Foundation

In Memory of Rafe Bullick 

RafeBullick Rafe Bullick first travelled to Seva Mandir in 1997 as a volunteer, returning nearly every year, becoming inseparably  and closely involved with the life and routine of the Seva Mandir community. Sadly, Rafe Bullick left Seva Mandir and us all as fate cruelly snatched him away in a land mine explosion on October 10, 2004 amidst the intense and bloody civil war in Darfur, Sudan.  

A well read and scholarly disposition coupled with the keen desire to translate development theories into action brought Rafe to India for the first time. Working primarily in the People's Management  School, Rafe spent a lot of time visiting villages, attending meetings, conversing, eating and drinking and generally being curious and inquisitive and wanting to learn as much as he could about everything he saw. In due course, Rafe came to know almost every single person in Seva Mandir and  made many friends in the villages that he visited. The children at the Mook Badhir Vidyalaya (School for Hearing  and Speech Impaired) in Udaipur were also fortunate to get  to know this special and dear friend. Most students there were residential  and lived in the hostel within school premises, although some were day  scholars and went back to their homes after school. Between curriculum classes, meals and vocational training classes these children had no source of entertainment or amusement.  Since the children were free on Sunday as no classes were held, Rafe thought to take them out for local sightseeing in Udaipur. As he and the children got to know each other better, Rafe organised weekly sports like basketball and football matches, dividing up the kids into 'yellow scarf' and 'green scarf' teams. Needless to say, the children loved him and were thrilled beyond measure. Rafe made these children feel included and gave them much needed sense of belonging. 

Rafe’s life holds up a mirror to all of us humans. We have it in us to make improvements. We can bring about change. We need to help ourselves and to find our own sense of right and justice. We need to believe, we need to want to see change. As Gandhi said, ‘be the change that you want to see in the world’. Rafe became the change that he wanted to see in the world. He is no longer with us, but he has left behind enough clues and memories so that we may feel reenergised to fight injustice and to build a better society.  The Bullick family has provided Seva Mandir with a unique opportunity to take some steps forward in this direction by donating money from Rafe's estate plus contributions gathered from friends and family, for the Rafe Bullick Memorial Foundation. The Foundation hopes to serve the common cause between Rafe and Seva Mandir - the cause of serving those in need and striving to promote awareness to create a caring community.  

- Extracted from Rafe Bullick: a good human being by Vandana Swami. A copy of the memorial booklet is downloadable here. 

A guide to the Rafe Bullick Scholarship and Seva Mandir from a past Volunteer

Safe route through floods