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FAHWA celebrates annual Charity Gala Night in Perth

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By Atty Alan Gomes

At around 8:30pm on the 7th of May 2022, Melissa Aguasa (Proprietor of Melissa’s Filipino Store and Business Migrant of the Year 2021) took to the podium at the Hyatt Hotel in Perth, Western Australia. In addressing the crowd Ms Aguasa posed the invaluable question “What is charity?”, three simple words, three indelible words that perfectly sum up and celebrate the spirit of volunteerism, and in particular the members and volunteers of the Filipino Australian Heath Workers Association (‘FAHWA’).

Melissa Aguasa

FAHWA the current Chairperson Ms Adela Oakdon. Ms Oakdon by her own admission came from very humble origins and has dedicated her life to giving back to the global community. Ms Oakdon headed FAHWA as way to continue this commitment to community and to serve the less fortunate both in Australia and abroad.

FAFQ_25th_Anniversary
FAFQ_25th_Anniversary
FAHWA Chairperson Adela Oakdon

Hillary Clinton famously said, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. The same can be said of FAHWA as the work it undertakes in serving the community would not be possible without a dedicated team of volunteers who firmly believe in the mission and objectives of FAHWA. In celebration of the work done by its army of dedicated volunteers, FAHWA held its annual Gala Night on 7 May 2022 at the Hyatt Hotel in Perth. The theme of the evening was ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ but the real theme of the evening was ‘This is a night in celebration of the volunteers’.

This particular evening was truly special because plans for this Gala had been delayed many times due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. However, once the Western Australian government provided certainty on venue capacity limits, a crack team led by Ms Adela Oakdon, Ms Jenny Basilonia-Ryall, Ms Maricor Tamisen, Ms Eden Aquino, Ms Sarah Camus, Ms Rose Barlow, Ms Maita del Mar, Ms Florita Hall, Ms Riza Brightman and many many others started to put the logistics of this Gala event together.

FAHWA was fortunate to secure the services of Host Extraordinaire, Mr Neil Bravo, who served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. The evening had a roster of guest speakers that included the Host, Mr Bravo. Ms Oakdon, Ms Basilonia-Ryall, Honorary Consul Virma Symons, the Food Bank Manager Mr Steve Bacon, FAHWA Benificiary Ms Kerry Herd, Atty Alan Gomez, and special guest: The Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson MP, WA Minister for Health and Mental Health. Ms Sanderson bestowed the FAHWA 2022 ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award on Ms Eden Aquino for her tireless work in serving the community. Highlights of the night included a fashion show by Perth couture designer extraordinaire Ms Riza Brightman and a Latin inspired dance ensemble that had the crowd on their feet joining in. Musical entertainment was provided by ’The Midrange Band,’ led by its charismatic lead singer ‘Tin Tin’. The 2022 FAHWA Gala was truly a night to remember.

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