When she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at 4 weeks of age, we discovered that our whole family no longer qualified for Permanent Residence. In 2009, a short lived window of opportunity opened, that allowed for a Medical Waiver option within a Regional Sponsored Migrants Visa. We quickly made some major life changes (like moving to the outback!) and applied. We didn't realise it at the time, but we only got our final application in 6 weeks before the Medical Waiver option was removed altogether. After an appeal of the first decision which turned us down, we finally became official Permanent Residents on June 13 2014.
Until then, Samara could not get help in the form of Centrelink payments, therapy, Better Start, or equipment. But we were lucky. If we had been just 2 months later getting our application in, we would not be getting all those things now.
But we were not the only ones. Many people are in similar situations. Or worse. And so, Aroha Angels was born.
At Aroha Angels, we collect together used disability equipment from near and far, and give it to those who have no funding, don't have enough funding to cover their child's needs, or who are waiting for funding for equipment that is needed now, not in 12 months time.
Sometimes we buy this equipment, but more often, it is donated by caring parents who want to help other families.
We have also been blessed by my biggest supplier, Mobility Plus, donating some ex-demo stock.
We try to keep things simple. As all parents of kids with special needs know, it is not easy having to constantly feel like you are selling your soul just to get the gear your child so desperately needs. So if you have a need, ask. We will do what we can to help you. And if you would like to donate items your child has outgrown, we would love to hear from you.
We operate through the Facebook page www.facebook.com/ArohaAngels