Our Lutheran family and friends in Australia helped to send more than 14,000 refugee children to school through Australian Lutheran World Service’s Walk My Way in 2021.

A record number of 4,178 people from around the country took part in the 26km walking challenge last year, with walkers asking friends and family to sponsor them. As of 12 January, the $368,708 raised was enough to support 14,181 refugee children to go to school through ALWS. Each $26 raised helps a refugee child in East Africa go to school for a year by providing teachers, textbooks and tables. And there will be more walks and opportunities to give your support in 2022.

Participants walked, wheeled and woofed their way in more than 30 events from the southwest coast of Western Australia, through South Australia and the Northern Territory to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The young and the not-so-young, people living with a disability, mums and dads, kids in prams, dog walkers and cyclists all united in changing the future for refugee children.

While 610 people walked their way through the largest walk of 2021 in SA’s Barossa Valley in May, many schools, churches and groups who lived further afield organised their own walks locally.

Members of St Matthews Lutheran Church in the small Queensland town of Maclagan cheered on their 10 Sunday school children – with a few extras – as they walked 26 laps of the church and Sunday school building for their Walk My Way.

St Matthews member Margaret said: ‘The congregation, as well as various mums, dads, grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts, cousins and neighbours, helped fill the donation box with a wonderful amount of $1394. The kids gave it their all with lots of sweat and “are we there yet?” comments and were thoroughly busted when done, but they all felt strongly about helping the children in Africa to go to school.’

Although a small church, St Matthews helped 54 refugee children to go to school – five children for every Sunday school child!

ALWS Executive Director Jamie Davies said the scale of the challenge to support refugee children is ‘astounding’.

‘We live in a world where more than 80 million people have been forced to flee from their homes – that’s more than three times the population of Australia’, she said.

‘We can take heart in this amazing outpouring of love and compassion – it is truly an example of our church in action bringing love to life!’

You can find out more about Walk My Way on the website (https://walkmyway.org.au/)

Walk My Way returns this year. Email walkmyway@alws.org.au or sign up to ALWS eNews (https://www.alws.org.au/contact-us/) to stay informed.

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