‘It’s about us, not me. This is a radical idea these days, but we know that Christ, in his abundant love, suffered for us and set all of us free to be about us, not me. So who is “us”? ALWS partners with Lutheran schools and early childhood services to help children, young people and staff learn that the people we love and serve might be far away from us geographically and culturally, or right next door. Through learning with ALWS, students and staff encounter injustice and have the opportunity to respond with courage and compassion. Students are brought into relationship with the wider world and its needs. As they learn together, a relationship also builds with ALWS, as it becomes a familiar name and their educators become familiar faces as well. While students won’t get to meet the 40,000 children in refugee camps that receive an education through the Grace Project, they do hear their stories from the ALWS team at Awareness Days and through challenges. These relationships help bring all of us closer together: growing, serving, shaping and enriching the world.’

– Associate Professor Lisa Schmidt

Executive Director, Lutheran Education Australia


‘What I love about ALWS is the opportunity our Lutheran schools (teachers and students) have to live the gospel and develop life-changing partnerships with our neighbours near and far. ALWS supports our students to develop a deep understanding and empathy about what real development, sustainability and empowerment look like. Students see that no matter their age, they have the capacity to use their hands, head and hearts to impact the lives of others. Seeing with eyes of another. Listening with ears of another. Feeling with the heart of another. When I visited Kakuma Refugee Camp with ALWS last year, I saw that we all want the same things for our children and the future. Safety. Education. Love. Community. I also saw how a donor’s support (through money, prayers and advocacy) really is bringing love to life – especially in camp schools. The conditions of school buildings and resources may vary from Kakuma to Australia, but the passion of teachers there and here to see their students’ dreams come to reality is universally the same.’

– Jodie Hoff

Chair ALWS Board, Principal, Lutheran Ormeau Rivers
District School (LORDS) Pimpama, Queensland


‘We have 50 students looking at the subject of poverty, and learning about your ALWS work all term. The students’ task is to explain the work that ALWS does in either a specific place in the world or as a response to hardships that people face (war, poverty, floods, etc). We also plan to do our own Walk My Way to raise awareness and funds for refugee children to go to school. Students are excited because a generous donor has sponsored us to start walking with a $500 start-up for you at ALWS! I pray that God blesses the work of ALWS very much.’

– Juanita Eime

Year 12 Coordinator/Head of Christian Studies,

Peace Lutheran College Cairns, Qld


‘Thank you so much for your session. We have had such good feedback from the students and their parents.’

– Jordan Riddle

Geelong Lutheran College, Victoria


‘Thanks for your incursion with our Year 2 and 3 students. It was great to get another perspective about being God’s stewards to look after his creation.’

– Leeanne Williams

St John’s campus Geelong Lutheran College, Victoria


What I’ve learnt …

  • People still have hope even in the darkest of times.
  • Their life is sad up until ALWS steps in and that I could donate to make a difference.
  • To be more grateful for what I’m given.
  • That others do not have easy lives, and to never take anything for granted.
  • Refugees walk for days/weeks to get somewhere safe and have almost nothing.
  • Sixty per cent of refugees are children.
  • Many people are displaced through no fault of their own.
  • How privileged we really are. It makes me feel grateful for my own life and sad and worried for others.

– Year 9s

Tatachilla Lutheran College, South Australia


Witnessing your love coming to life

‘Having worked in Lutheran Schools for 22 years I’ve seen first-hand the power of quality education to transform young people’s lives. In our Lutheran schools here in Australia we are blessed with abundant resources, facilities and professional learning, so it was wonderful to see what our Lutheran schools are doing through ALWS at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Despite the harsh conditions, the confronting reality of families torn apart by war and famine, class sizes of over 100 and refugee teachers working on a shoestring, I saw for myself the work of our Lutheran school communities and their ongoing service and support. The lives and hearts of thousands of young refugees are being transformed. What a blessing we can have an impact like this by taking action through the GRACE Project and Walk My Way.’

– Kelvin Grivell, Principal of Encounter Lutheran College at Victor Harbor in South Australia (580 students), pictured here with Rukia Salimu Hamadi, Principal of Nassi Bunda Pre-Primary School, Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya (808 students).




ALWS provides teachers with free resources on poverty, justice, development and faith lived in action across all school year levels. There are videos, stories, ‘did you know?’ facts and activities.



Students take part in 10 different challenges to get a taste of what life might be like as a refugee, so they will be inspired to ‘welcome the stranger’.



Students learn how business loans help people in ALWS-supported communities. Then they receive a loan to start their own business. Profits help people through ALWS.



Schools are supported to set up their own micro-fundraising site, then walk to raise money from their families and communities to help refugee children to go to school.



ALWS provides 90-minutes sessions with stories and activities on topics lined up with the Australian curriculum, which can be delivered face-to-face to all ages and year levels throughout the year.



For schools that can’t have a face-to-face visit, technology brings the ALWS Community Education team into the classroom, to deliver awareness sessions remotely.



ALWS can provide resources, opportunities and even staff professional development to help to learn about how love comes to life in practical action.



Following in the footsteps of Jesus, there are many lessons to be learnt in how we meet the poor – these can be delivered through whole-school chapel services, staff and classroom devotions and Christian studies.

For more information, go to www.alws.org.au, phone 1300 763 407, or email alws@alws.org.au


Bricks for Burundi

Ndaruzaniye lives in Burundi. After her husband died, life became very hard. ‘I feel so much sorrow. We were eating badly – just beans and sweet potato. I was often sick, and the children were also sick. I don’t have enough money for the school uniforms and materials’, she said.

Meanwhile, Good Shepherd Lutheran College at Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast decided to help families like Ndaruzaniye’s to build their own houses so they can be safe and secure. Through ALWS the school launched a ‘Bricks for Burundi’ campaign.

School chapel offerings, a local Walk My Way and coin collections were just some of the ways the Good Shepherd community has built fundraising … while Ndaruzaniye built bricks – 2500 of them, made from mud, with the help of neighbours. ‘I am excited to have a new home – a clean, safe environment and my heart will be full of joy! I am thankful to the Australians for assisting me’, Ndaruzaniye said.


Partnership builds community in Cambodia

The Lutheran Ormeau Rivers District School (LORDS) at Pimpama in Queensland has 643 students. Thmei Village in Cambodia has 527 people.

Through ALWS, LORDS and Thmei have come together in a partnership to build a community pond. The people of Thmei told ALWS that changing climate had made rainfall unreliable and threatened crops, which provide their income, and affected local hygiene, which jeopardised their health. The community pond will provide clean safe water year-round.

Students at LORDS decided to step out (literally) to bring love to life in Thmei. For two weeks in August, LORDS encouraged students, staff and families to participate in local versions of Walk My Way – on beaches, in their neighbourhoods and at school – until they covered 26 kilometres.

Meanwhile, Year 5 students worked on the ALWS ‘What’s my business?’ service learning unit – building businesses to create profit which helps people.

The LORDS school community has raised more than $7000 to help the people of Thmei Village.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login and read this article.
Not a subscriber? Click here to receive stories & upcoming issues in full