Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Why I'm Walking: Lisa Angwin, Lutheran teacher, SA

"This time last year I had the privilege and life-changing experience of walking alongside refugees
Lisa with Jamali from Djibouti, who inspired
her to take part in Walk My Way.
living in refugee camps in Djibouti. 

While walking alongside men, women and children and being welcomed into their homes, I was moved not only by their warm hearts and welcoming spirits, but by their daily determination to survive and not lose hope. 

Education was the focus of our visit and the emotion displayed, when they spoke of how important it was for them to see their children get an education, was inspiring.

As a Lutheran teacher here in Australia working with children on a daily basis, I see it as a privilege to be in a position to make a difference in many lives. My goal each day is to build compassion, understanding and love in the hearts of others so that as a nation we may one day be more welcoming to the strangers across the seas.

One little 6 year old boy in particular will be in my heart on July 4th.

His name is Jamali and he has a skin disorder that itches all day and all night. He has suffered from this since the age of one. 

It hurt his body so much to wear clothing and shoes that he couldn’t attend school, as he couldn’t attend if not clothed. 

And yet on the last day as we said our farewells, I will forever remember looking up to see him running towards me fully clothed and wearing shoes just so that he could come to the school hall for a hug and to say goodbye. 

These people welcomed me, changed my life and took hold of a special place in my heart - and that is why I am walking!"

- Lisa Angwin, Lutheran teacher, South Australia

Thank you for sharing, Lisa! If you'd like to sponsor Lisa for Walk My Way, simply click here

Friday, 23 June 2017

One Step

One step
Followed by another
And another and another infinitum.
How many steps
Make up this journey?
Or is it a pilgrimage,
Discovery, hopeful walk
Into a new life?

One step
Is what it took
To leave a situation
Which is indescribable
But that one step
Removed me from
What I remember and regret
Until new life beckoned
In a strange place.

One step
Followed by another
Is what we'll walk today
Will we tire? Will we thirst?
Will one step more
Be one step too many
Or in all our steps
Will we rejoice and remember
Those seeking new life?

(c) Peter Bean, June 2017

Why I'm Walking: Sue Tuffin, Year 5 teacher, Victoria

"I have been quite overwhelmed by the support I've received for the Walk My Way endeavour.

I decided to do the walk in the last school holidays when I was writing and planning the Year 5&6 Christian Studies units for this term. We like to use the ALWS material for our CS lessons during the term that we have Vicki (Gollasch from ALWS) visit for Awareness Day.

This year we also held a Market Day where students set up stalls and sold goods or services to our school community as a fundraiser.

Everyone has been so generous and supportive.

It's funny that my original fundraising target was $260 and now donations have reached over $1700! 

That's over 65 refugee kids! A HUGE thank you to everyone who has sponsored me.

I've also planned a couple of little extra things for my walk.

Firstly, I'm going to carry 6 litres of water on my back as a way of understanding what many women and girls have to do on a daily basis as they are usually the ones who collect the water.

I have also recruited my daughter Samantha who is a young teacher at the Lutheran school in Mildura to participate and also a dear friend of ours from Adelaide. The walk will unite us for a day as we don't get to see each other very often and this will be a lovely, shared memory."

- Sue Tuffin, Year 5 teacher at Good Shepherd Lutheran Primary School, Victoria

Thank you, Sue! To sponsor Sue or another Walker, and help even MORE refugee kids go to school, click here

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Why I'm Walking: Tony Ashdown, Development Manager, SA

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Development Manager Tony Ashdown shares why he's decided to walk 26km to help refugee children go to school...

"I am looking forward to
Walk My Way for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, I love walking. It is exhilarating, although I cannot guarantee that feeling after 26 kilometres!

Secondly, I have full respect for the incredible tradition of the German women from Hahndorf walking with their produce and returning with two bricks each for the Church.

Thirdly, my wife Jenny and I are keen supporters of ALWS. The work being done is largely unheralded and such a valuable expression of the Kingdom of God.

I am delighted to be a participant in this walk and to add my support and involvement to this special walk."

Thanks, Tony! To support Tony, click here - or walk alongside Tony by registering now. Thank you!

Why I'm Walking: Chey Mattner, Head of ALWS

"Why have I decided to walk?
Chey Mattner, meeting in the mountains outside of Kathmandu

Because I’ve just spent today with some refugees in Djibouti who’ve lived in the same camp for 25 years. Some were born in the camp, and now have children of their own.

I have children of my own too. But I have choices. They have choices. These refugees do not.

They are instead at the mercy of another country, and there’s no sign of them leaving.

The least I can do is put on a pair of sneakers, and show them that they are not forgotten.

We must bring this issue to the attention of others, and Walk My Way is a great way of doing this.  

Walk with me too. Walk with THEM!"

To join Chey, head to the Walk My Way website to register. Or donate here - thank you!

Sewing Hope: Fatima's Story

Fatima at the Lutheran Community Sewing Group
in Albert Park (SA), sewing one of the head-scarves
given to all Walk My Way Walkers.
“We had to leave Iraq because it was very dangerous in our area. There are very big problems, bombs, killing. We escaped to Jordan first, and came to Australia in 2003.

I was a nurse. I worked in Jordan for 2 years with a surgeon in hospital. But not here. I can’t. I don’t know English words in nursing.

I miss Iraq too much… (cries) … All my family is there.  I miss my family, and my neighbours. Every time they are together I am missing. They miss me too much. In Iraq I know everyone. We share cooking and talk.

Here I know no one.  I was very sad and crying when I first came here. Angry.

I have been coming to sewing group for 6 years.  When I first come, I know I was not good at English. Anytime someone would talk to me, or teach me, I just say ‘thank you, thank you’. But I was not sure what they were saying.

A lady taught me sewing, but I learn so much more than sewing. When I come here, it makes me more good than before … (cries) ... Now I know everything and I teach.

This group very important to me. These people are my neighbours. I know them now … too much I know them … (laughs) … Now I’m happy to stay. It is good.”

You're needed to help other new neighbours like Fatima. You can register to Walk, volunteer, pray, or donate now. Thank you!

Friday, 26 May 2017

From little things, HUGE things grow!

Vicki Gollash, ALWS Community Education rep for Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, shares the story of a small but MIGHTY group of kids and teachers in rural Victoria. 
Students from St Peter’s Lutheran School
in Dimboola saved their devotion
offerings for 2 years to help
an amazing 50 refugee kids go to school!
A couple of weeks ago, I visited St Peter's Lutheran School in Dimboola. With just 27 kids in total, I think it may be the smallest Lutheran School in Australia!

I spoke to 11 Grade P-2 students and then 16 Grade 3-6 students. They were lovely kids and really keen to learn.

After lunch, they half-filled buckets of water and walked 1 km around the block. It’s a simple exercise to experience what life is like for other children their age.

This is all part of a very normal school visit.  

The surprising part happened at the end of the day…

...when they presented me with a cheque for $1300!

The students and the whole school community were so excited because this means they can help 50 refugee kids go to school!

What an incredible effort - thank you, St Peter's Lutheran School!

And what a wonderful reminder to us all that from little things - like a $1 coin in the devotion collection jar - AMAZING things can grow!

If you'd also like to help refugee kids go to school, sign up for Walk My Way or simply Donate Now. Thank you!