An Angel for the Philippines
For over a decade, Alan Birkett has been helping children in the Philippines receive the medical attention they need to live their lives to the fullest.
For the past decade, Victorian resident Alan Birkett has been helping children in the Philippines receive the medical attention they need to live their lives to the fullest. After volunteering for a mission trip to the Philippines with his local church in 2007, connecting with local children ignited a spark within Alan that’s been burning brightly ever since.
“The first time I was over there, I didn’t know what I could do to help. They assured me that the important thing wasn’t that I did anything, it was that I came—that alone meant the world to them.”
“When I came back, I was looking through my photos and saw an image I’d taken of a boy with a cleft palette, named Joshua. It struck a chord with me as I thought to myself ‘what are you going to do about it?’.”
Living in a poor province, Alan knew Joshua’s family was in no position to provide medical attention. Alan reached out to International Needs Australia and before long, he had raised $5000 to help facilitate treatment for Joshua.
“Every year when I went on a trip, there was always another child that appeared in front of me,” he said.
From children with leukaemia to epilepsy, congenital deformities and everything in between, Alan has coordinated and facilitated treatment for 53 Filipino families.
“We’re in the process of helping five children already this year, and I’m not slowing down any time soon,” he said.
With trips to Manila, Ligao and Leyte, Alan has helped children from all across the country through his initiatives and fundraising.
“I’ve built up this network of doctors in the Philippines that know me. It’s about connecting them with the children and providing the funds to secure the treatment they need,” he said.
Lending a hand comes naturally to Alan, who is also currently the secretary of the owner’s committee for Forest Lakes village in Victoria.
In 2012, Alan received a Victoria Award for his work in the Philippines and is so proud to be continuing to work alongside International Needs Australia.
He’s already planned his next trip for early 2019.