Angeles City Returned and Services League of Australia Sub-Branch
Supporting local Philippine children
The Angeles City RSL Sub-Branch comprises mainly Australian residents in Pampanga (mostly permanent) and of whom, many are ex-service personnel. The current membership stands at approximately 256 and until the recent pandemic affected the many annual and more often regular Australian visitors, has been as high as 600 members.
The Sub Branch has been established here since 1994, and apart from the normal functions of an Australian-based RSL Sub-Branch in conducting ANZAC Day, Vietnam Veterans Day, Remembrance Day ceremonies and supporting veterans and members in need, has been conducting Medical Missions for around 15 years on a monthly basis to the various disadvantaged and disabled children, primarily within the Angeles City and Mabalacat City areas.
At these missions, the children are registered by the Barangay officials and then assessed by voluntary Doctors and Nurses from the local area. The children are then given medicines appropriate to their needs. All medicines are provided free to the children and are paid for from RSL funds raised for that purpose. Our funding comes from our bi-weekly raffles, membership fees and now and then, some generous donations from both here in the Philippines and in Australia.
To date, we estimate that we have issued medicine to over 115,000 children. Most monthly missions attract in excess of 600 children and some have been in excess of 1,100 on a Saturday morning!
We also have a hearing aid program, currently being restructured, which emanates from these medical missions, with the actual hearing aids coming from Australia, and our scarce RSL funds paying for the testing and fitting of the recipient children.
However, our main focus is our wheelchair program which provides specialist wheelchairs, for children with permanent disabilities (e.g., Cerebral Palsy) to give them mobility and improve their lifestyle. The wheelchairs are a special three-wheel variety designed for severely handicapped children and are manufactured and donated to us by Wheelchairs for Kids (WFK), a charitable group based in Perth, Western Australia.
These chairs are assembled on-site to fit the child by the volunteers from the Sub-Branch.
There are a few other areas that we assist with from time to time, and they are, the provision of donated reading glasses and Cleft Pallet surgery (facilitated via US contacts) to name but two.