The general Filipino-Australian community is well-served by several types of organisations. These groups have been formed by people who hail from the particular regions, religion, sports, interests, educational institutions, professional associations, and so on. There is a new community organisation which has been formed recently to serve a forgotten section of our community - kababayans who are in prisons and their families. This is My Redeemer Lives Inc.
"The group was formed with the belief that by being an inspiration to others, they have the potential to make a big difference in the lives of others.
"The Mission of MRL Inc. Is to uplift, strengthen and provide support to the needs of those in the Prison Community and their familes by hosting fund-raising, solicit sponsorships etc to enable funds, goods and services here and abroad.
"The Vision of MRL Inc is to create a connected community where life can be shared and repaired a broken relationships and a future built with Christian Values among the Prisoners and their families."
L-R: Sheila Collantes, Bing Williams, Len Puzon, Manny Tolentino. Carol Israel. Lyn Fernandez, Jun Capili, Cris Arquiza, Joyce Lillas
The people behind the organisation are as follows:
Sabas (Jun) Capili - Founder and Chairman
Myles Eusebio - Board Member / Advisor
Eddy Sarkis - Board Member/Advisor (Deputy Mayor Cumberland)
Tom Baena - Legal Advisor
Bernadine Williams- President
Joyce Lillas - Vice President
Sheila Collantes - Secretary / Public Relation Officer
Crisanta Arquiza - Treasurer
Lyn Fernandez - Advisor
The group welcomes enquiries and donations:
Jun Capili 0488 772166 Bernadine (Bing) Williams 0416027457
Sheila Collantes 0410 621865 Joyce Lillas 0433 453937
CBA Bank BSB: 062 339 Acct: 11137208
Name: My Redeemer Lives Inc
Asked what was the basis of the name chosen for the group, MRL Inc President Bing Williams said:
" We Chose My Redeemer Lives because we want the Inmates/ Prisoners that MRL group was not formed to judge them but to help them rebuild their lives with Christian Values and to let the inmates and their families realise that our Lord (Redeemer )is with us all the time ready to forgive and save us .
"Our motto: Psalm 69:33 - For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His prisoners.
"This is not a religious group per se. It is made up of Christians, Catholics, and Iglesia Ni Cristo. All is encourage to be a member of the group.
With regard to the number of people the group is currently aiming to serve, Bing advised that information from Myles Eusebio a Board Member and a retired NSW Corrective Officer indicated that inmates in Australia with Filipino heritage are approximately three hundred. Hence there are that many families which are trying to cope with the issues associated with their loved ones being behind bars. They all need help emotionally, mentally and spiritually, especially those inmates who are not being visited by their families or relatives.
Already, she mentioned that there are a couple of Filipino friends who have contacted MRL when they heard about the group's charity mission. They have requested for a visit to their friends in prison whose families are in the Philippines.
We asked Bing what aspect of this endeavour that inspires her involvement.
She said: "It's about supporting people who are reconstructing their lives, and providing hope and opportunity to start their lives anew thru the help and goodness of others."
We also asked if she has personally met any of the inmates.
"Not yet but looking forward after the launch. I foresee developing a good habit of listening, not talking so much; gaining confidence in the process and achieving an understanding of the real needs of others on a case by case basis. This would not be easy but with a good team of people who have knowledge and skills. After our launch, we can start our 1st project to visit our kababayan inmates and support their needs and their families. We are also asking support in the Filipino Communities to support our charity for us to fulfill our mission. Thank you.”
MRL Inc is being launched in the community in an event to be held on November 21, 2020. The entrance to the event is free but booking is necessary to ensure that the number is controlled in accordance to COVID 19 precautions. Details are shown in the flyer below.
The Australian Filipina wishes MRL Inc success in what it is aiming to achieve. In the spirit of Christmas and sharing our blessings, it is hoped that the Fil-Aus community will give it their support.