Friday, 21 April 2017

A school built in 5 months

From this...


...to this - in 5 months!


On 16 April 2017, the community at Ali Addeh Refugee camp in Djibouti celebrated a new school built in partnership between ALWS, LWF and the European Commission. With 10 classrooms and 11 latrines, hundreds of refugee children can now go to school in proper conditions.

The Chair of the School Management Community (SMS) called the school 'a great treasure'. The Chairlady called it 'a dream come true'. The whole refugee community expressed their gratitude to the ALWS family … so we pass that on to you. 

These are the 'dreams' you make a reality through Walk My Way and ALWS.

Thank you! 

Find out more about Walk My Way here

Away and In Danger: Carol of the Refugee Children

These moving words to the tune of 'Away in a Manger' were written by Shirley Murray from New Zealand. Our prayer is they encourage all of us to keep reaching out in love for justice for refugees. 

Away and in danger,
Rose crossed the border from South Sudan to safety
with her four children, carrying all their worldly possessions.

no hope of a bed,
the refugee children,
no tears left to shed               
look up at the night sky
for someone to know
that refugee children
have no place to go.      

The babies are crying,
their hunger awakes,
the boat is too loaded,
it shudders and breaks;
humanity's wreckage
is thrown out to die,
the refugee children
will never know why.

Come close, little children,
we hold out our hand
in rescue and welcome
to shores of our land -
in *aroha, touching
        your fear and your pain,
with dreams for your future          
when peace comes again.

*Maori for 'warm embracing love'
alternative line "in touching, in healing'

Shirley Erena Murray 
Words © 2016 Hope Publishing Company

Thanks for allowing us to share your powerful words, Shirley. 

To 'hold out your hand' and welcome refugee children, register now for Walk My Way, or sponsor a Walker. Your prayers are also needed. Thank you!

Why I'm Walking: Gaynor Gower, LLL officer, SA

The Lutheran Laypeople's League (LLL) serves so many with their generous gifts to help people in need through different arms of the church, including ALWS. 

Their staff are pretty awesome too! LLL staff member Gaynor Gower shares why she's walking 26km in July...
Gaynor and husband Michael, who's thinking
of joining Team LLL on the Walk!

I have been a long time supporter of ALWS and feel very strongly about the work they do.

Having worked with Jen Pfitzner while she was based in Adelaide at the LLL office has also reinforced the fantastic work ALWS does.

When I heard LLL were one of the sponsors for Walk My Way and found out more about the walk, I felt this was something I could do and in fact, felt quite compelled to do.

Both myself and my fellow LLL staff member Andrea were very keen to register for the walk and will be proud to represent the LLL.

I am hoping that by participating in
Walk My Way, I can raise more awareness for all the good works that ALWS do.

Thank you, Gaynor, Andrea and the LLL for your wonderfully generous support!

To sponsor Team LLL through Walk My Way, click here. To join them on the Trail in July, register now!

Or to learn more about the generous work of the LLL, click here!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

'The wind can blow this school away': Alsaid's Story

Alsaid is 12 years old and fled to Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya to escape the war in Somalia. Even at such a young age, he knows education is vital for him and the other children at the Camp. Here, Alsaid thanks you, and asks you not to forget them.

“I was in Level 7 at school when we left Somalia. There was war going on, and there were bandits. When they see you, they shoot you. I see one person who has died already.

There were two rebel groups fighting for control of our area. We had to run away from these clashes.

There were burials daily, so many died. I was very scared I would be killed. 

This is why we run away. We boarded a vehicle from Somalia in January 2011. It took two days to reach the border. On the way we were intercepted by bandits. They took all our clothes, and by the time we arrived here we were half naked.

We arrived at Dagahaley camp (part of Dadaab Refugee Camp) where we were registered as new arrivals. As the area was filled up, we had to live on the outskirts. We had to live in the local shelter made from shrubs.

We came here with nothing. We received help from our relatives who were already here, and we received food distribution. We also received sleeping mats, utensils, blankets, and a tent at Kambios (another part of Dadaab).

My parents can just stay in the camp. There is no work for them to do, and this makes them sad.

LWF (ALWS partners Lutheran World Federation) is the one who give us the education. They built up the school for us. 

I give my thanks to the people in Australia. I am grateful.

Please continue your help as the school is not yet completed. We have no permanent classroom. Without this, the wind can come and blow this school away.

We do not even have a school bell, so the children don’t know when to come. We need a stamp to put the school name on the textbooks. We get homework, but we do not have enough books. At home we also do not have light so we cannot study at night.

I would like to be a teacher. I will teach the younger children, and be a teacher here at this camp. I will make sure parents bring the children to school, because if the children do not have education they can only be labourers.

Education is the best thing to make life better in the camp.”

To help children like Alsaid, register for Walk My Way now. Can't walk? Sponsor a Walker, donate, volunteer, pray. Thank you!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Why I'm Walking: Robin Mann, Songwriter, SA

Many of us know of Robin Mann as a prolific songwriter and skilled guitarist, whose music has added so much to our worship. Yet perhaps you didn't know he also suffers from a debilitating disease. Robin explains why taking up the challenge to walk 26kms won't be a 'walk in the park' for him...

"Dorothy & I have been long-time supporters of Australian Lutheran World Service. 

A cursory look at many of the songs I’ve written or ones that are in the All Together books would indicate that serving others is fundamental to my understanding of the Christian faith.

When I heard of the walk, and raising money for education resources in Kenya, Sudan & Djibouti, I immediately thought ‘I’d like to do this’. Dorothy’s a teacher & we know how important education is. We rich Australians can easily take for granted the resources we have & others struggle to get.

Everything we got … teach us to care for it, teach us to share

There’s also a personal challenge for me.

In 2006 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. 

Unlike most well-known MS sufferers, I have a very slow version of this chronic disease. Nevertheless, movement & vision are affected so a long walk poses a serious challenge. On the other hand, I may be able to garner more sponsorship from people who want to share this challenge with me & support ALWS.

So, adapting Aub Podlich’s words ‘May the feet of God walk with me’."

To join Robin, Dorothy, and others who want to change the world one step at a time, go to walkmyway.org.au and register now. If you can't walk, why not sponsor a walker like Robin. Thank you!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

For me, the future is dark: Concepta's Story

In Australia, we walk by choice. For many people in developing countries, walking is a means of survival. Concepta from South Sudan is now headmistress of a pre-school at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. 

Here, she shares her story...

I ran away because of the war.

When the rebels came, there was severe fighting. I saw many heavy guns being shot. The battle happened at night-time but the bullets made it like day.

As we were running away I saw some people who were unlucky and were shot.

All my feelings were hurting as we ran. We had to jump over dead bodies. I had a child on my back, another in my hand, and I was pregnant. You don’t know if you will survive or not.

We were all captured and taken to the rebel camp. This was in 1989 and we were kept with them until 1993. We had nothing. Our clothes were gone, everything was gone, and we must live just like that.

I have not seen my husband since that night of the attack. I do not know what has happened to him.

My children cried out for their father. It disturbed me so much to hear them. But I know he is not coming.

You know what they did to my two young daughters. They were taken away by force to be ‘wives’ to the commanders. Until now I have never yet seen them.

Sometimes I feel like crying, but people say to me ‘Do not cry’, and you have to learn to live like that.

For me, the future is dark. There is nothing I am hoping for, even if I go back to South Sudan now. There is nothing that makes me happy. I am not happy at all. My two girls are not there. My husband is not there. My two boys are just here in the house, they have nothing. What can make me happy?

When I think about these things, I cry, but there is nothing I can do. Being only one woman what can I do? That is why I say there is no hope…

I escaped from the rebels when they came through the bush near to Lokichoggio. I became sick and so were my children. I was saying to them that I am going to get help for my children. I told them the children had no father, they had no one else but me.

The rebels did not want to release me because they had opened a school and needed me for teaching. They followed me, but I told them I am not coming back. Three times they came for me, but I told them I am not going.

The UN brought me to the camp at Kakuma. I have been Head Mistress at this school since 1996. It was me who opened it. In the beginning it was very hard because we have so many nationalities and communication is difficult.

Since the beginning of this pre-school, the people of Australia have been supporting us, and we are very much appreciating it. Without them we thought the pre-school would close down.


Tell them we are still working hard, and we welcome them helping us very much. They are the top people in the world who are assisting us. We are really thankful.

To support pre-schools like the one opened by Concepta, register now for Walk My Way. If you can't walk, consider sponsoring a walker. Thank you!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Why I'm Walking: Andrew Weiss, Teacher, SA

Andrew chats with a student at Hol Hol refugee camp in Djibouti.
By choosing to Walk or sponsoring a Walker,
you'll help provide much needed schools like these.
Andrew Weiss is a teacher at Cornerstone College in Mount Barker, SA. 

He's registered for Walk My Way - and has already got his walking shoes! We asked him why he decided to step out to help others...

"Last year I was lucky enough, through a trip organised by ALWS, to be able to visit and spend time in the refugee camps located in Djibouti.

"The shoes pictured are the ones that I used to walk through these refugee camps as I learnt what life is like in a refugee camp, why people become refugees and also had the opportunity to work with the refugee camp teachers and teach refugee children. 

To Djibouti and now to Hahndorf!
"One thing that struck me is the importance that is placed on refugee children being able to receive an education. Education gives these refugee children hope for the future. 

"That is why these same shoes and I are going to participate in Walk My Way, walking the 26kms from Hahndorf to Adelaide. By being a part of Walk My Way it gives me the chance to be an advocate for refugees around the world as well as raise awareness and money to enable children in refugee camps to receive an education."

Thanks for sharing, Andrew.

If you'd like to help provide Teachers + Textbooks + Tables for pre-school refugee kids, head to the Walk my Way website to find out more and register now!