More than 650 members and friends of our LCANZ family walked or cycled up to 26 kilometres through South Australia’s Barossa Valley on 1 May to support thousands of refugee children to go to school.
The walk from Redeemer Lutheran School Nuriootpa to St Jakobi Lutheran School Lyndoch on 1 May was part of Australian Lutheran World Service’s (ALWS) Walk My Way, which is aiming to support schooling for 10,000 children in East African refugee camps this year. It costs $26 to support one child in school for one year and, as of 18 May, the Barossa Walk My Way had raised enough money to support 7102 children.
Bringing together people from the ages of five to 85, from as far afield as Townsville in Far North Queensland, the walkers and cyclists created a virtual river of blue t-shirts flowing through the valley against a backdrop of autumn-hued vines. With varying abilities and disabilities, some accompanied by their dogs, on bicycles or in wheelchairs, or pushing strollers, the walkers, wheelers and cyclists were supported by approximately 130 volunteers.
Sam Hoopmann, 15, was first to finish the course in just under three hours, ahead of Rev Dr Dean Zweck, 75.
The same day, members and friends of St John’s Lutheran Church Unley participated in shorter walks in support of Walk My Way in suburban Adelaide, while walks and fundraising challenges have been held or are ongoing among the communities of Encounter Lutheran College Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide and Good Shepherd Lutheran College in the Northern Territory, and by members and friends of the Ringwood-Knox Parish in suburban Melbourne and Tarrington (pictured) in western Victoria. The St Marks Kids Club is taking on the challenge of walking 26 laps around the Freeling wetlands in South Australia between May and September.
Individuals are also completing Walk Your Way in their own time to support the cause, while other churches and schools in Queensland and South Australia are planning to take part in the coming months.
By 18 May, these had added 249 walkers and more than $50,000 to the Barossa tally – in total more than double the numbers who participated in the previous group Walk My Ways in 2019. With group walks cancelled by COVID last year, more than 2800 people participated in Walk Your Way individually or with their families and helped 6390 refugee children go to school. As of 18 May, walkers had raised more than $234,756, which supports schooling for 9029 refugee children.
- It’s not too late to donate! Go to walkmyway.org.au or phone 1300 763 407 to support education opportunities for refugee children.