published in ChildrenCOVID-19DisabilityEmergencyFamilyFood SecurityHealth / HealthcareTake ActionWASHWaterYour Love At Work on April 3, 2020

COVID-19 HOPE Spots!

Everyone is talking about COVID-19 Hotspots – so let’s enjoy some COVID-19 HOPE Spots!

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HOPE Spot #20: 26 June 2020

Community Action Manager Jonathan Krause feels a little sheepish…

Last time I was in Africa I did something very silly.

I was thinking about a School Chapel presentation based on Matthew 25*, talking about the Sheep and Goats in how we serve the poor.

There are lots of sheep and goats in Africa.

Trouble is they look alike.

I got out of the 4WD to take a photo of what I thought was a sheep.

Turns out it was a goat.

(My colleagues had fun pointing at me and saying it was not the only goat. Silly Billy?)

The only difference I can tell between sheep and goats is that on sheep the tail hangs down, and on goats it sticks up.

That put s a whole new perspective on Jesus’ story of Sheep and Goats, doesn’t it? (A thought I plan to use for a video message for my church for 20 July.)

As you can see below, goats are part of your ALWS COVID-19 action in South Sudan …

Goats live on scraps, breed well, and produce milk and meat. So they are a great way for you to help families left in trouble by the impact of COVID-19 and poverty. (Already 256 goats have been provided to 128 families in Twic East.)

Alongside this, of course, is getting COVID-19 safety messages out to the community. A quick efficient way is using radio broadcasts …

Then, you bring together key leaders in the community, and train them, so they can take the COVID-19 health messages out to the community.

Training starts outside, washing hands …

… like here in Magwi, on the border with Uganda, where our ALWS family is supporting 5,667 refugees to return home.

(A 9:1 Matching Grant means it costs just $18 to help one person, with flow-on benefits to another 20 people. Donate before 30 June to claim your tax benefit this financial year.)

The front-line LWF team you support in South Sudan through ALWS uses a range of community buildings to meet people for training in COVID-19 …

… and other work (teaching farmers new skills, supporting women to start businesses, building peace)

… to help people rebuild their lives after they lost so much to conflict, drought and flood.

 

Come with me now so you can see
for yourself where you are working …

 

 

This building in Duk County looks to me like a church. (You can expect Sunday service to last a loud joyful dancing 3 hours as people feel they have so much to praise God for!)

 

 

Your team also uses school classrooms, like this session for teen girls in Maban …

 

 

… while sometimes, with COVID-19, it is better for training to happen outside with plenty of room for social distancing, like this session for young people

 

 

… or simply in community halls (again in Magwi, where you support refugees as they come home – 9:1 Matching Grant)

 

 

… or with full-time medical students working with Camp Leaders in Ajuong

 

 

… or at Secondary Schools, where teachers are briefed on distributing Home Learning Packages so students can keep up with their education

This is your work through ALWS. Thank you!

 

Going back to Jesus and the Sheep and the Goats …

… and thinking about what you do through ALWS

… I hope these photos inspire you as you see your kindness supporting so many ‘sheep’ to work in South Sudan!  (No need to be ‘sheepish’ – you are a ‘sheep’ too!)

Jonathan

Reminder: You can still help 9:1 for South Sudan – donate before 5pm (AEST) Tuesday 30 June to claim your tax benefit this financial year. Thank you!

 

* Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

 

All photos except first one: LWF South Sudan


HOPE Spot #19: 19 June 2020

Community Action Manager Jonathan Krause reflects on shearing sheds, soap and smiles…

When I was a kid on my grandparents’ farm, it seemed the most fun came when you got most grubby.

jonathan krause

Building forts. Crawling under the shearing shed. Playing frisbees with dried cow-pats.

Trouble is, come sunset, we weren’t allowed inside for tea until we were scrubbed clean.

That’s when mum produced the SOLVOL soap.

Do you know it? It’s super gritty, and as a kid I thought it took off as much skin as it did dirt.

The other brand soap I remember is LIFEBUOY.

I don’t know if you can still buy LIFEBUOY in Australia these days …

… but it’s the antibacterial soap your ALWS-supported team in Indonesia is supplying to the families you serve

… along with face-masks…

… and lessons in proper hand-washing

… all delivered with the kind of friendly smile that tells you that even though you are poor, you are important …

… and though you may be far away, people care enough about you to come close and make sure you are safe.

That’s why this LIFEBUOY soap – supplied by you with the 10:1 Australian Government Grant – couldn’t be better named.

Your soap is a lifesaver for people
in danger from COVID-19.

You’re a lifesaver in Somalia too – where supplying soap calls for courage and commitment.

The Australian Government bans Aussies from going into Somalia because of the danger from terror attacks that target aid workers. The people needing your help live inside Camps for Internally Displaced People. The Muslim community you go to has suffered conflict and poverty for far too long.

Yet here you are, finding a way to make sure those most in need don’t miss out:

Somalia, Indonesia … Cambodia and Nepal too – all these are countries where your kindness through the 10:1 Australian Government Grant makes you a lifebuoy of hope in a sea of troubles.

Thank you for getting grubby to help others stay clean and safe!

Jonathan

PS: I hope you can see the smiles behind the face-masks!

 


HOPE Spot #18: 12 June 2020

Over the last couple of months we’ve seen  Australian businesses adapt to COVID-19 …

… breweries making hand-sanitiser

… restaurants doing take-aways

… manufacturers making masks.

This week is Refugee Week so we thought you might be interested to know exactly the same thing is happening in refugee camps where you help people through ALWS.

First stop today is Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya,  ‘home’ to 217,000 people. Then we’ll head to Nepal to meet an inspiring Bhutanese refugee lady.

 

Tinkering with Tailors

The refugees you help at Dadaab have fled conflict and famine in Somalia.

One of the key things you do through ALWS is train people as tailors, helping them gain the skills and build the confidence to start their own businesses. 

 

During COVID, instead of beautiful dresses, shirts and school uniforms, the tailors you train are producing face-masks – 300,000 of them!

Line up the 300,000 masks in a row – it would be 60 kms long!

Already, 53,000 have been produced and distributed to front-line workers, the local host community and to the refugees.

As you can see from the photo below, it’s a production line AND a partnership – a partnership that starts with YOU. Thank you!

 

Lifeline and Life-saver

When Australian businesses had to close during our COVID-19 lockdown, the Australian Government stepped in to support people with JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

For Ms. Bimaya Rai, a Bhutanese lady now living in a refugee camp in Nepal, support was harder to find. Before COVID-19 hit, she owned a Tailoring Centre in the camp. As well as providing for her own family, Bimaya’s Centre employed six other refugee women.

The future looked bleak until the ladies came up with the idea of sewing face masks!

Through ALWS, you provided the materials – the ladies the sewing skills. More than 3,000 masks have already been produced. These are used by refugees, the local host community, construction workers and volunteers inside the camp, and even sold at local markets.

 

Bimaya told the LWF team you support inside the camp:

“We were in dilemma about how to manage the household expense
for the prolonged lockdown situation.

The idea of managing the existing tailoring centre
became a lifeline for all of us seven families in the camps.

Before, so many people who were not able to find a mask
can now get it at the camps and are protecting themselves
from the possible infection.

I feel proud for this contribution.

The refugee camps itself are very prone
for the possible spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
We are contributing for the protection of the people at the camps
as well as making money for our family.

I suppose my business is making dual benefit –
to the community as well as to my family.”

This COVID-19 work of yours with Bimaya in the Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal is supported by the Australian Government 10:1 Grant.

Thank you for everything you do for others through ALWS.

If anyone ever asks you ‘So what difference do you make to refugees?’, now you’ve got the answer all stitched up …

Sew what?

303,000 face masks
to keep refugees safe
from COVID-19!

PS: You might also enjoy this 4 minute video showing the Lutheran Community Sewing Group in Adelaide teaching former refugees how to sew as they make new friends. Warning: Tissues essential!

Photo 1 and 2: LWF Kenya / Djibouti, Photo 3: LWF Nepal


HOPE Spot #17: 5 June 2020

 

Yesterday Jonathan had to help do a little video.

It’s for an online Chapel for a Lutheran School doing Walk My Way.*

He got a pair of his son’s smelliest thongs (think chook-yard / mud / teenager) …

… and shared how the refugee children you help go to school through ALWS often arrive barefoot

… having walked for weeks through stones and scorpions and snakes

… (not to mention attacks by bandits and rebels and wild animals).

One of the first things you do for these refugee children is provide what they call ‘slippers’ and you and I call ‘thongs’.

That led Jonathan to share with the students how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

Those feet would have been filthy, sweaty, stinking, plastered with donkey poo …

Yet Jesus got down on his hands and knees and washed those feet.

Then called on us to do the same.

And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet,
you should do the same for each other.

I have set the example,
and you should do for each other
exactly what I have done for you.”

John 13:14, 15 (CEV)

 

What do you think about that?

While COVID-19 means we need to wash our hands clean, at the same time we need to get our hands dirty! That’s what you do through ALWS…

The dirty work – ‘slippers’ for battered feet, food for hungry bellies, toilets for protecting against disease.

The difficult work – caring for people with disability in communities that have never before regarded such people as precious and important.

 The dangerous work – in places like war-torn South Sudan where ALWS has secured a new 9:1 Grant to help returning refugees ($18 per person).

Sometimes that dirty, difficult, dangerous work can leave you feeling worn-out and weary.

That’s why today we take you to Nepal to meet a young mum keeping her family safe because of the 10:1 COVID-19 help you give.

Ambika will inspire you:

“I was hearing the radio message
for the frequent hand washing. 

However there was no soaps in my house
due to the lockdown situation,
and no income source to me
to bring to my family.

I was so happy to see the 4 pieces of soap
for me in the relief package …

… I heard that the soaps
were managed by the Lutheran
which has been supporting for us
for our income generation.

I would like to thank to the Lutheran team
and local government
for this support to me.”

That’s YOU Ambika is thanking!

Not just for the soap … also the ‘radio message’ … also the ‘income generation’ … and also what you see in the back right of the photo – a Lutheran Long Drop Loo!

When we look at Ambika washing her hands…

… we may think of Pilate when he washed his hands of Jesus, allowing him to be taken away and murdered.

Right now, it seems we are living in a time of chaos and confusion, hate and hurt.

As the world’s eyes turn to the horrors happening in the United States,  we thank God that people like you continue to watch out for people in the world’s poorest countries.

You have the vision to see the people still in great danger from COVID-19, still threatened every day by poverty and injustice, still forced from their homes to flee as refugees.

 

You DON’T wash your hands of people like Ambika …

… instead you get your hands dirty

… and ‘wash feet’ with your humble acts of service.

What a blessing is your kindness – thank you!

 

* You can watch Jonathan’s message for online chapel at the Lutheran School in the 6 minute video here


HOPE Spot #16: 2 June 2020

When you help people through ALWS, you spend a lot of time in 4WDs …

 

 … that’s because you go where people need you most, and it can often be tough work getting there!

Here you are reaching out to South Sudanese refugees in LWF-supported camps in northern Uganda. With you, on the loudspeaker, is Bishop Reverend Emmanuel Murye.

The message?

How refugees can best protect themselves against COVID-19 inside the crowded camps.

People here have suffered so much already, lost everything … how terrible if they were forgotten by the world at this time of COVID-19.

 

GOOD NEWS!

Many South Sudanese refugees now feel it is safe to return home …

 … and you can be there to meet them to help them start a fresh new life!

ALWS has secured a new 9:1 Grant with German aid agency Brot fur die Welt, kicking off on 1 July 2020 for two years!

Working through our partner LWF, our aim together is to help 5,667 refugees build a safe, secure and sustainable life back home in Magwi County in South Sudan.

What’s exciting is the 9:1 Grant means you can help one person like Ayen for just $18!

 

Starving and scared … to restaurant-owner!

You might not realise just what a difference you make in people’s lives through ALWS, but read Ayen’s story and you’ll see how important you are:

BEFORE YOUR ALWS HELP

“I was taken out of school by my parents when I was 14 to care for the cattle in the bush camps.  This meant I did not know the importance of education.

Remembering these days makes me feel very sad. Sometimes we would hear the guns.  We would run away to hide and then come back.  It was frightening for the children, especially to see people being killed. It is hard to see your young children starving.”

YOUR ALWS HELP

“I had been dreaming if I could start some sort of business.  When a woman told me about the LWF training for cooking, I was very excited. I learned how to make soup, meat stews, fried meat, zambuzza, mudazzi, chappati – even a wedding cake!”

AFTER YOUR ALWS HELP

“I was so excited I wanted to start my business straight away! I collected firewood and saved the money to buy a bag of sugar.  Then I started making tea to sell.  After a short time, I had money to get ingredients to cook some food.

What encouraged me was that people would come and eat and then bring others back. I started small, but then it was growing.  Now I have a restaurant and hired four women to help me in the business!

I feel so happy with the knowledge I have from this training. And I feel happy I OWN something.  I have food for my children. I can pay their school fees, and I encourage them to complete school. Thank you for upgrading my life.” 

 

Ayen x 5,667 = what we can do now!

The 9:1 Grant is a blessing because it means for just $18 per person – DONATE NOW you can help deliver everything you see here in our 4 Step Action Plan:

 

1.  EDUCATION – support children to go to school, in secure classrooms, with schoolbooks, and trained teachers 

2.  WATER – hygiene at school (protection against COVID-19), clean water at the Health Centre, farmers’ irrigation 

3.  LIVELIHOODS – you teach people skills so they can build a business and support their children at school

 4.  PEACE – South Sudan suffered horribly through conflict, now it’s time for repentance, forgiveness and healing

 

We’ve put together an e-Book of more stories just like Ayen’s – enjoy now – so you can see with your own eyes how you step into the lives of people forgotten by the world …

… and support them through ALWS to build a fresh new life.

This is why you jump onto 4WDs and head out on rocky roads into places like South Sudan – to meet people at the time they need you most …

… and if someone like Ayen offers you a plate of fire-grilled chicken and mudazza, enjoy it, because this gift for your tummy is a gift of thanks from the heart!

First photo in post: K. Logi / LWF


HOPE Spot #15: 29 May 2020

No talking from us today.

Instead, let us introduce you to Tita Sipau, part of the team in PNG raising awareness about COVID-19 to people living with disability. 

Once you’ve had a chat with Tita, and heard the amazing way he plans to raise money to build a home for his family, plus his bag of groceries … 

… you’ll meet Melany, who has a smile you’ll never forget!

 

“My name is Tita. I am physically impaired and depend on my wheelchair for mobility.

I was an active member of the disability self-help group in my village until my wife found a job in Lae as a housekeeper. The idea of being separated from my wife and children was not possible because I depend highly on them, and so we all moved to Lae to be close together.

I was unemployed and until now depended mostly on my wife for financial support.

 

In Lae, I became an active member of the Morobe Disabled Agency and was picked by the PNG Red Cross team to do COVID-19 awareness-raising.

My family and I were given a space at the disabled homes where we live in the open space in a tent and share a common room with four other families.

Life here is challenging and often difficult.

“There is no privacy and often no peace at all.”

Water is a problem and we must depend on water from the well to do laundry, cooking and bathing.

Hygiene is also a problem, but if I leave this place, where will I go?

It is difficult for such people like me with family to live with wantoks (relatives) in Lae.

Since hygiene was a concern, I really wanted to be part of this COVID-19 awareness team for people with disabilities, so I can learn and teach other people like me to practice hygiene.

I have learnt a lot.

My attitude towards cleanliness and hygiene is changing and so is my family because I keep on reminding them every day! I hope to take a trip back to my village and carry out awareness on hygiene practices in our self-help group.

My dream is to build my own house so my family and I can have our individual rooms with proper shower and toilet, without sharing common space with other people with no privacy.

I am saving the meal money
I receive from the Lutheran Church program
for the work I do on COVID-19 awareness.

I will use this to buy a small refrigerator
so I can store drinks and sell them
to raise funds to build my dream home.

If I was the president of the Morobe Disabled Agency, I would lead life skills training and awareness for people with disabilities and their caregivers. Then we all can raise up and do our own things without depending on other people for support.

I will advocate for the rights of people like me for better shelter, education and employment.

I want to thank the Lutheran Church program and ALWS for this experience. There are some things I learned which I didn’t expect and will not learn if I was not part of this COVID-19 awareness team. I will follow and support this work wherever it goes from here.

You put a smile on my family’s faces every time I go home with a shopping bag full of groceries.”

 

Tita’s family are not the only ones with smiles.

Meet Melany, from the Benong Parish Disability Group. When she received a COVID-19 Hygiene Pack, she thanked the team by saying …

mi hamamas”

 … “I am happy” in tok pisin!

 PSST: Take a look at who is sitting in the background – Tita!

Already the COVID-19 Awareness team supported from Australia has reached 576 people. This awareness is protecting lives PLUS bringing happiness to people like Melany!

You are part of this through ALWS, supporting the Lutheran Church work to implement the Australian Government-funded program.

Tenkyu Tenkyu tru Tenkyu tumas!


HOPE Spot #14: 27 May 2020

OK, so it looks like no one will be heading off overseas any time soon.

Instead, let us take you on a quick trip to four of the most fascinating countries in our region of the world.

You won’t need a passport, or needles, or quarantine exemption …

… because you are already there, through ALWS, helping protect people threatened by COVID-19.

 

First stop is NEPAL – to Morang, in the east, bordering India.

Sorry about the bumpy ride on the back of the ute …

 

… but don’t worry, it’s not your luggage your LWF team is unloading.

In fact, this is equipment you helped supply for the medical centre at Morang:

  • one X-ray machine
  • two electronic suction machines
  • one Oxygen concentrator machine
  • Personal Protection Equipment
  • N95 and Surgical Masks.

This life-saving medical equipment was handed to the Honorable Minister for Social Development, Mr Jiban Ghimire by Pastor Joseph Soren of Lutheran Community Welfare Society, our LWF partner.

The Minister noted as he thanked your team:

“We always respect the international donors and their support for our priority and humanitarian and development initiatives …We are planning to establish more quarantine centres for migrant workers as they come to the country before they move for their village.  I really appreciate that the medical items provided are from the list that has been shared.”

This medical equipment helps people alongside your other COVID-19 protection activities in Nepal, which are supported by the Australian Government 10:1 Grant:

  • health messages in local language on radio
  • posters in strategic public places
  • food and sanitation for quarantine centres
  • food for migrant workers returning from India
  • water, sanitation and hygiene items to vulnerable families
  • food for Bhutanese refugees
  • psychosocial support for those most in danger.

 

Now, it’s time to head to CAMBODIA, 4,000 kms south east.

 

Because flights are out, I asked Google Maps how long it would take to walk.

No answer yet – it seems there are some rather large ‘hills’ in the way!

Here in Cambodia, your 10:1 Grant work is helping protect people in:

  • Battambang
  • Kampong Chnnang
  • Kampong Speu
  • and Pursat Provinces.

 

Already you have distributed:

  • 19,000 posters on preventing COVID-19
  • 19,000 posters on proper hand-washing
  • 450 litres of cleaning alcohol
  • 94 boxes of masks
  • 739 boxes of gloves
  • 206 bottles of hand-sanitiser
  • 5,338 packets of soap

You also trained and equipped 334 community promoters to develop Action Plans for villages in 41 communes.

Your kindness protects 18,841 people.

After all that, you probably need a breather.

 

So let’s head down to INDONESIA.

While this billboard you helped erect tells you to ‘Stay at home’, I can assure you the people here welcome your COVID-19 support.

Through ALWS you have for many years supported training of Lutheran churches to support their communities through disaster risk reduction, and building livelihoods.

Now, during the time of COVID-19, churches have organised to distribute food to districts hit hard economically.

 

Due to the governmental shutdowns, many people have experienced reduced incomes, or lost their jobs completely.

The Christian Protestant Church in Indonesia (GKPI) developed a delivery service for the community to encourage people to stay at home while helping merchants make an income.

Meanwhile, the Protestant Christian Batak Church (HKBP) gave 100 chickens to establish a chicken farm to increase family income.

A fish pond was stocked with 2000 tilapia fish as a means of income for families in need.

 

After all that eggcitement, it’s time to head to PNG …

… to see Aussie goggles and gum-boots at work.

Here in PNG, ALWS provides expertise and energy to help the PNG Lutheran Church implement the programs the Australian Government generously supports (more than $1 million each year!)

The COVID-19 crisis has forced the church to pivot activities to protect lives.

 

The focus is on people in rural areas including and surrounding Lae, Finschaffen, Nawae, Markham and Menyama Tewai-Siassi. The innovative work includes:

  • 12 day campaign reaching 576 people with disability (see photo of the Awareness Team below)
  • 500 boxes of gloves and hygiene materials for 5 Lutheran Health rural hospitals
  • 600 sets of overalls, gum-boots and goggles for hospital workers
  • training for 18 Lutheran Health service staff
  • support for Lutheran Development Service to prepare two Seed Bank sheds to provide seedlings for backyard vegetable gardens
  • pastoral support through national newspapers
  • COVID-19 awareness sessions on ELCPNG Kristen radio 89.1 FM
  • 500 brochures, 1,000 posters, 3 public banners in Lae City.

 

Now it’s time to head for HOME – your bag packed with souvenir memories of all you do for people through ALWS …

… and while riding with hygiene materials in PNG might not be the most comfy way to travel, the fact you protect precious lives should make you feel FIRST CLASS!

 


HOPE  Spot #12:

Sometimes it feels our world is so broken …

… it seems there is no way it can ever be put back together again.

Right now, we think of COVID-19.

It feels like it’s shattered everything we took for granted.

(Though here in Australia we are blessed with resources, health-care and leadership to protect us just about better than any place on earth. Even footy’s coming back!)

Last Friday ALWS received an email from the team you support in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, caring for Rohinga refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp.

The Camp now has its first cases of COVID-19 – and people are scared.

Exactly one year ago Jonathan from ALWS visited Rohingya people forced to live in Displaced Persons Camps in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

He saw how wonderful the people are, how eager children are to learn …

… and also how dangerous a disease like COVID-19 could be when people live in crowded camps, with only basic sanitation, unreliable water supply, not enough food, and minimal health-care.

All that seems a world too broken for us to put back together.

Yet here at ALWS every day we see how acts of kindness from people like you can spark hope where all seemed lost.

A while back Jonathan wrote a little book – come to life – about trying to live as a Christian in this mixed-up falling-apart broken-down world.

 

Right now, ACR who sell the book have agreed to work with us to use come to life to help fight COVID-19.

Here’s how.

Simply buy the book for $20 … and $10 helps people threatened by COVID-19.

($10 covers printing and sale of book – Jonathan receive’s nothing, ACR gives a kind donation.)

The $10 that goes to ALWS supports the 10:1 COVID-19 campaign, so you actually support $100 worth of life-protecting action (PLUS you get the book!)

There are stories in come to life that show your kindness supporting people to put their world back together …

… proof that when we each do our bit, even in the hardest places hope can come to life.


HOPE Spot #11: 13 May 2020

Today we’re going to take you somewhere you can’t go.

Nor can we.

Nor can any Australian.

Somalia.

Even before COVID-19 stopped overseas travel, the Australian Government warned:

Do not travel to Somalia
due to the high risk
of terrorist attack, kidnapping,
armed conflict and violent crime.

Yet, through ALWS …

…  and supported by the Australian Government 10:1 Grant

… YOU are in Somalia right now!

 

The lady you see in the photo is a Community Education volunteer practicing social distancing to protect against COVID-19.

She is one of dozens of volunteers you train inside Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Kismayo in Jubaland in the south of Somalia.

This is where our Australian ALWS family supports 1,500 displaced children to go to school.

It’s dangerous work.

There is only a 15 kilometre wide safe zone. Terrorist group Al Shabaab is a constant threat. Just last July a hotel in Kismayo was bombed and 26 people killed.

Yet here you are, hands on, helping people.

Each child you support at school receives 600gms of soap, as you can see here.

 

They then take their soap, and COVID-19 training, back to their shelter in the Camp and teach their families how to protect themselves.

Of course, soap without clean water can’t protect against disease …

… so you also support our LWF team to provide an extra 57,900 litres of clean water for hygiene and sanitation for the 600 girls and 900 boys our ALWS family helps!

You’re welcome to keep using the 10:1 Grant to help children go to school and support this life-protecting ALWS COVID-19 work in Somalia …

… or simply smile, reach out, and join our special
Soaped-Up Social Distancing Somalia Samba!

 

Thank you for having the courage to be kind to people you don’t know, in places you can’t go … that’s how hope grows.


HOPE Spot #10: 8 May 2020

Surfing is the main reason Australians go to Mentawai Island in Indonesia. It has some of the best surfing waves in the world!

Through ALWS, you’re here not to surf … but to save lives.

In ‘normal’ times, you support our partner CDRM&CDS, working through local Lutheran churches, to help communities protect themselves from natural disasters (like the Boxing Day Tsunami).

Now, you are teaching people to protect themselves against the disaster of COVID-19.

Just last week you put up this Billboard in the centre of a local village …

 

… and in coming days will put up 250 more in Mentawai, Nias and Pakpak regions.

If you look closely, you can see your ALWS logo … along with the Australian Government logo, supporting your work here with a 10:1 Grant. Donate 10:1 now!

Billboards are just the start of your life-protecting work in Indonesia.

Field staff (using mask, physical distancing, and multiple hand-washings) go door-to-door to distribute 7,000 smaller posters to villagers.

 

The posters are printed in the 3 local languages used by most people – Mentawai, Nias and Bahasa.

Your Field Staff (using mask, physical distancing, and multiple hand-washings) teach what the posters outline.

Already 1,955 villagers have been reached:

  • 656 males
  • 556 females
  • 63 people with disability
  • 330 boys
  • 350 girls

After the villagers have been shown how to wash their hands properly,
and why, you support them with soap + plastic or bamboo water tanks …

 

You then support local village governments to create a COVID-19 Action Station:

  • a Team Member volunteers to lead village preparations:
    • check body temperature of people arriving from outside the village
    • spray disinfectant
    • register visitors
  • Provide disinfectant to spray public places:
    • village hall and office
    • churches and compound
    • local school
    • Health Post
    • Community Centre
  • Provide hand-washing kits:
    • plastic water tank
    • soap

All this is your work through ALWS, supported by the Australian Government 10:1 Grant.

 

You don’t have to be a surfer to want to go to this beautiful part of the world…

… you simply need to care about families struggling against poverty, disease and the threat of natural disaster.

That’s a wave of kindness we can all ride – thank you!

 

 


HOPE Spot #9: 6 May 2020

Take one minute right now to come into the refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where you care for Rohingya refugees through ALWS.

This is the largest refugee camp in the world right now, and the threat of COVID-19 is terrifying. Through ALWS (working in a 11:1 partnership with the Czech Republic), you support:

  • local production of hand sanitiser
  • distribution to front-line health workers
  • distribution to refugees + local communities
  • livelihood support to people on lowest income

See for yourself the impact you make, by watching the 1-minute video below: 

 


HOPE Spot #8: 1 May 2020

BOM says it will be cold and wet in the Barossa Valley tomorrow morning.

Yet dozens of people will be pulling on blue Walk My Way T-shirts, social distancing, and walking up to 26 kilometres to help refugee children go to school.

While that’s amazing, that’s not the surprise. (Here at ALWS every day we see how wonderful people can be in their caring.)

 

YOUR DOUBLE SURPRISE

This week an ALWS supporter couple, with a teaching background in Lutheran schools, offered an amazing dollar for dollar ‘match’ for this weekend’s Walk My Way.

The offer runs for the 48 hours from midday Friday to midday Sunday … and is valued at $12,500 – enough to support 480 refugee children to go to school!

It costs $26 to support a refugee child in school for a year … but now, your donation of $26 can support TWO children. Simply click here to have your donation DOUBLED!

 

How is this a COVID-19 HOPE Spot?

This wonderful DOUBLE offer is a COVID-19 HOPE Spot because school is where refugee children learn why and how they must wash their hands properly!

That’s protection against diarrhoea, water-borne disease and COVID-19!

(PLUS, the children teach mum and dad too!)

Your DOUBLED donation will be a big encouragement to our brave Walk My Way walkers this weekend PLUS a lifetime blessing to the children you support go to school.

DOUBLE donate now


HOPE Spot #7: 29 April 2020

Today’s HOPE Spot is only 20 seconds long …

… and is brought to you by the kids at Calvary Kindy in SA (voices)

… and the children you help through ALWS (soapy hands and sunny smiles).

Enjoy – this life-protecting work is yours. Thank you!  


HOPE Spot #6: 24 April 2020

When you meet Ciza from Burundi – one of the five poorest countries in the world – and hear her story about COVID-19, you might wonder where hope can possibly be.

“I’m CIZA Anastasie, 28 years old, from Kabingo Colline, Gisuru Commune, Ruyigi province.

I already know about the disease and its symptoms like fever, cough, and physical pains.

I have so much fear.

I think that whenever it will reach here at the field, we would die massively because we are already vulnerable and our country is so far behind other countries worldwide where the covid-19 killed so many people.”

You can hear Ciza’s terror, can’t you?

The reason this is a HOPE Spot is because you are already working here in Burundi. You’ve taught her, and her community, how to wash hands properly.

See that FLM on the bicycle?

That stands for Federation Lutherienne Mondiale – French for Lutheran World Federation, our ALWS partner.

The two regions where you work through ALWS – Ruyigi and Cankuzo Provinces – are the poorest in Burundi. They border Tanzania, from where many Burundian refugees are being forced to return home.

People go into quarantine – but you can see the danger as people are crammed in together.

There can hardly be a place on earth where your kindness is needed more.

Mrs. Emelyne Ndakiriye, who you see here, is the LWF Manager in Cankuzo.

“There are many deaths as there is not enough infrastructure,  equipment, medicine or specialised health workers.

There is also not enough food for adequate nutrition, which means people have less strength to resist the coronavirus. 90% of people live from agriculture, but farming has had to stop.

There is no selling of harvest in order to cover other basic needs because markets are closed. Many products are imported and prices have increased, which people can’t afford.”

You can keep supporting ALWS COVID-19 action here.

Because of your kindness, people in Burundi are being taught to properly wash their hands. People do hear COVID-19 messages over the radio, and from loudspeakers on cars.

Most important, thanks to you, people know they are not forgotten.

When they see that FLM bicycle, they know someone cares enough about them to come to them and help them.

This is YOU. This is your work through ALWS. This is the HOPE Spot you create.

On behalf of Ciza, front-line staff like Emelyne, and every other person you help to hope – thank you!


HOPE Spot #5: 21 April 2020

You’ll be inspired to see what Samir, a refugee at Kakuma Refugee Camp is doing since COVID-19 has begun threatening the camp.

A young designer, he has started sewing face masks – 100 a day!

Samir readily admits his masks are not surgical quality – but aim simply to discourage people from touching their faces.

Samir sews the masks on a foot-powered treadle machine, and uses African fabrics of many different colours, each representing the different nations living in the camp.

(One of the many activities you support in Kakuma Camp through ALWS is teaching sewing skills so people like Samir can set up their own tailoring businesses.)

Sewing doesn’t stop at Kakuma though.

Each Friday morning (in non-COVID times), the Lutheran Community Sewing Group in Adelaide welcomes former refugees, now our new neighbours, and teaches them how to sew – while making new friends and having fun!

There are 37 ladies on the books, and another 5 waiting for a sewing machine to become available. The ladies come from Iran, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Sudan, India, Iraq and Eritrea.

Mai, (on the left), fled war in Liberia to a refugee camp in Guinea. She recalls:

“It was terrible at the  war. We ran away with nothing.

 It was strange arriving in Australia. If you don’t speak good English, it is very hard to get a job.

Back in Liberia, I had a business. I could buy and sell. But here in Australia you need much more to start a business.

 I came to Sewing Group with a friend. Everyone here is lovely and welcomes me.”

 

Helen Semmler, (on right), played a key role in starting the group in 2002. She says:

“I love seeing the women go forward. They often come to us quite traumatised, or with very low self-esteem because they come from cultures that don’t value women.

We take a photo of even the smallest item a lady makes – even just a pin-cushion. We all stop and clap because we want to affirm the progress people are making.”

 

The Sewing Group could not happen without the support of volunteers – like this group from the Barossa Valley, an hour’s drive away!

In total there are 17 volunteer teachers, three more volunteers in the kitchen, four in the creche for 12+ children, plus four drivers …

… and all these volunteers have had a big job this year supporting the Sewing Group to sew 800 African Carry Bags for Walk My Way – now Walk YOUR Way (because of COVID-19).

Why the ‘carry’ on?

The Carry Bags are a simple way to say thank you to Walkers like Maya, who walk 26 kilometres to raise money to help refugee children at Kakuma go to school. (Each $26 raised supports one child – donate here.)

Maya lives in Melbourne but comes from Perth – so just before the WA borders closed, she flew home to be with her family during lockdown. 

Maya did her Walk over the weekend, and explains why she walked:

“Freedom – just what the refugees I’m fundraising for also crave.

 My ALWS ‘Walk My Way’ was extra special because I finally had the freedom to leave the house after 14 days of self-isolation/quarantine!

 I couldn’t wait to go for a walk further than the front lawn! And to be able to do it all for a great cause made it all the sweeter!”

Sew what next?

Watch a 4 minute video of the Sewing Group here (you’ll need tissues).

Register or donate for Walk your Way here (each $26 helps a child go to school).

Use 10:1 Government Grant to multiply 10 TIMES your ALWS COVID-19 action here.

What a blessing it is that despite the challenges, of COVID-19, all of us can find a way to work together to help people hold onto hope!


HOPE Spot #4: 14 April 2020

Jump aboard!

This ute is taking supplies to set up a Quarantine Room for COVID-19 patients to a hospital in Jhapa, on the Nepal border with India.

As part of the ALWS family, you helped load this ute – thank you!

We’ll show you more below, but first we have GOOD NEWS for you …

… the Australian Government has approved ALWS for a 10:1 Grant to fight COVID-19 in our projects in Nepal, Cambodia and Indonesia!

DONATE HERE so your help is MULTIPLIED 10 TIMES!

ALWS has already kick-started your COVID-19 action … which is why the ute is on its way! Your kindness (multiplied 10 TIMES) helps supply:

  • 20 plywood beds
  • 20 mattresses
  • 20 sets of bed sheets
  • 20 pillows
  • 20 woollen blankets
  • 20 mosquito nets
  • 20 dustbins (1 per bed)
  • 20 pairs of slippers
  • 20 sets of plates and glasses for kitchen at the quarantines
  • 400 pieces of soaps (for quarantine only)

You can see the supplies being handed over here …

 

… and below is one of the 20 quarantine beds you supply:

 

No, there’s not a lot of comfort – but before your help, there was not even this!

See the ‘ALWS’ marked on the bed-frame?

This is part of the accountability process, to make sure your help can be monitored all the way through … so you can always trust your donation ‘gets there’!

DONATE 10:1 NOW

Your 10:1 donation also cleans up!

Soap for proper handwashing is critical – not just at the Quarantine Room, but for families living in threatened areas…

… so your ute also delivered 2,000 bars of soap – enough for 500 families!

ALWS is very grateful to the Australian Government for supporting our COVID-19 action in Nepal, Cambodia and Indonesia … and for the 10:1 Grant that multiplies your help 10 TIMES!

This (bea)uteful way of helping people in danger from COVID-19 is your HOPE Spot for today! Thank you!

DONATE 10:1 NOW

As we take this very different Easter into our daily lives, we leave you with some words we hope will encourage you:

When I am hurting, I will find comfort in your promise that leads to life.

Psalm 119:50


HOPE Spot #3: 9 April 2020

Come to South Sudan and share in the joy your kindness brings, and see how your handwashing lessons for families are saving lives!

Check out this amazing ‘tap dance’ …

 

Simply push the stick down with your foot … and the string tugs down the jerry-can … and you are hands-free to wash with soap!

You’re protected from COVID-19, and other diseases that threaten when you live in poverty and only have basic sanitation, like this toilet:

 

Despite the challenges the people of South Sudan face, their faith is strong. Below you see a local tukul decorated to celebrate Easter:

 

Girma Gudina heads up the LWF team you support in South Sudan.

He shared with us the challenge of fighting COVID-19 here:

“God is there, everywhere, as always … I hold on to hope by keeping trust in the unfailing love of God, and doing the best I can in the circumstances. Even in difficult times, I believe God has a plan for us, plans for hope and a future.”

As we celebrate the victory of Easter, we leave you with the verse our partner LWF has chosen for their 5 year strategic plan. May this be your HOPE Spot too:

I will bless you with a future filled with hope – a future of success, not of suffering.

Jeremiah 29:11 (CEV)


HOPE Spot #2: 7 April 2020

You don’t know Phatima.

You will never visit the remote village in Nepal where she lives with 31 families.

Yet life is safer here because of a message from the front-line LWF team you support through ALWS. The message explained the dangers of COVID-19, and how Phatima’s community could protect itself.

You deserve to know how much Phatima valued this care and concern:

“I feel some emotion when I receive this message.

“We feel great that Lutheran has expressed their concern about us and our safety.

“We also hear the message through FM radio in Santhali language. This has better impact in the society for those who do not understand Nepali language.

“Before, we were in a dilemma about the rumour and also the fake news spread all over the village about the consequences of COVID-19.

“Now, we are hopeful that Lutheran is with us for our support, and to give us authentic information, and help us to prepare against the risk.

“We are practising the social distance, frequent hand-washing, covering the nose and mouth with elbow while sneezing.

“There are 31 families in my village, and some of them cannot read. I have asked them to get support from their school-going children. Our children catch the message easily, and they tell us if we are not following the instructions properly!”

As Australia works to protect ourselves from COVID-19, we hope you can feel a sense of joy knowing your generosity keeps on working hard in places like Phatima’s village.

While we have a wonderful health system, good education and quick access to care – people in poor communities like Phatima’s don’t. So it’s vital we are quick and creative in how we work to protect them from COVID-19.

So, as well as messages to community leaders like Phatima’s, through ALWS you also provide posters like this one …

 … and radio messaging in Nepali, Tharu, Doteli and Santhali.

You also support front-line teams with masks, surgical gloves and goggles to protect them while they distribute soap, and provide handwashing lessons, to local communities.

Your kindness through ALWS brings love to life for people who might otherwise be forgotten.

Your generosity helps make sure no one is left behind. Thank you!


HOPE Spot #1: 3 April 2020

Image: LWF Kenya/ P. Kwamboka

Your kindness through ALWS changes children’s lives.

The children in the photo above are three of the 44,000+ refugee children supported to go to school by last year’s ALWS GRACE Project.

They live at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

The Kenyan Government has now closed down schools – including the 21 Primary Schools at Kakuma – to protect children against COVID-19.

Your HOPE Spot is that all these children have already learned the life-protecting power of washing hands properly.

They were taught this skill to protect against diarrhoea and other diseases that can easily spread in a refugee camp – but now it helps protect them against COVID-19 too!

PLUS, these 44,000+ children teach mums and dads how to wash their hands properly too! Hooray!