UPDATE: 30 March 2020
Good news! Our local partners who deliver your help are already using your gifts to respond to COVID-19.
Plus, the Australian Government, who support our programs in Cambodia, Nepal, Somalia and Indonesia, has acted quickly to allow us to use their funds as needed – so that our partners can work with communities to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19. We’re very grateful to the Australian Government and DFAT for being so proactive.
In the table below, you can see the actions planned in four of the countries where you work. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with further plans on the way you’re helping vulnerable communities deal with COVID-19.
Your COVID-19 help
5,500 Households from Morang, Jhapa, Kailali, Dailekh and Lalitpur built awareness on precaution measures from COVID-19
Support provincial and local governments with health equipment to protect health workers during treatment of people at their health facilities
Communities in 44 communes have increased awareness of preventing the spread of COVID-19
Support communities in 44 communes with materials to promote the prevention of spread of COVID-19
1,500 students, their teachers and families have increased awareness of preventing the spread of COVID-19
Provide resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19
38 villages have increased awareness of preventing the spread of COVID-19
38 villages have reduced risk of exposure to COVID-19 through anticipatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation training
Community based organisation and groups in 38 villages have increased respiratory hygiene and WASH materials and education
A banner in Indonesia welcomes participants to an information session on COVID-19 prevention.
UPDATE: 24 March 2020
We want to let you know how COVID-19 may impact the people you help through ALWS.
1. YOUR CRITICAL ACTION
Here in Australia, we know the actions we must take to protect ourselves and our community.
This is also the focus of your work in refugee camps, where an outbreak of COVID-19 would be utterly terrifying. As you know, conditions in camps are crowded, sanitation basic, nutrition poor, and medical facilities limited.
That’s why our high priority actions are:
- WASH: water, sanitation and hygiene (life-protecting)
- Education: ensuring children can protect themselves
- Food distribution: keep people strong
- Psychosocial work: support those suffering trauma
- Protection: looking after those most at risk
Your help focuses on those in danger of being forgotten:
- the elderly
- people living with disability
- those who are sick or frail
- orphans, and children separated from parents
- pregnant women and lactating mothers
- children under 5
- the poorest
2. DISRUPTIONS TO YOUR NORMAL WORK
COVID-19 health precautions mean there are some areas of your work that need to stop immediately:
- group trainings in communities
- public events
- staff meetings
At the same time, there are already reports of fear and misinformation in communities, which can lead to panic, so it is important we remain closely connected to the people you help.
3. THE TEAMS YOU SUPPORT
Our key ALWS partner LWF (Lutheran World Federation) has 8,400 team members serving 2.3 million people across the world.
(In fact, out of 1,000+ UNHCR partners, LWF is 7th largest!)
LWF has asked ALWS for urgent help to support frontline workers so their work (your work!) can continue:
- clean water
- hand sanitiser
- protective clothing
- COVID-19 training
Each of us will feel the hurt of the COVID-19 challenge in different ways.
These are challenging times.
We understand that even though your heart may break for people in need, you might not feel able to help as you’d wish. That’s OK.
We will keep sharing with you about the people you already help, and boldly place before you the needs we meet as we seek to be the hands of Jesus in a world hurting so badly.
In this, we are encouraged by a verse from the Bible the LWF leadership shared with the team across the world:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Here at ALWS we refuse to be timid in the face of COVID-19.
We won’t turn away from those who need our help. Each day we are blessed to see the power of love to change lives, and so will be self-disciplined facing whatever challenges may come.
When the media is filled with horror stories each day …
… we will share good news stories of the wonderful things happening in people’s lives because of you.
When it seems hard to help as you’d like to …
… we will find ways to make your help go further – like the 11:1 matching grant we have to help displaced Rohingya people.
Thank you for your kindness which shines through the chaos. We pray God will keep you safe and calm as together we find our way past these current challenges.
UPDATE: 18 March 2020
As COVID-19 takes hold across our communities, all of us must work together to limit the spread of infection.
ALWS has worked hard over the last 96 hours taking on board the relevant government directives and advice from medical experts. We have also consulted with leaders in Lutheran Education, and Pastors in the regions where Walk My Way is planned.
It is clear ALWS must postpone Walk My Way
planned for Melbourne on 18 April,
and the Barossa Valley on 2 May.
This is disappointing given the wonderful energy and enthusiasm from volunteers and Walkers, and the generosity from people giving donations.
At the same time, we know how important ongoing ALWS support is to people in refugee camps, because there is real danger if COVID-19 strikes. Conditions are crowded, sanitation basic, poor nutrition common, and medical facilities limited.
And, of course, refugee children still desperately need their education.
That’s why, instead of Walk My Way, we now offer you: Walk YOUR Way
In Walk YOUR Way, you register as normal.
Ask people to support you as normal. Receive a T-shirt, LLL Sweat Towel and African Carry-Bag as normal …
… but you do Walk YOUR Way on your own – or with one other person, as per Government regulations.
You can do Walk YOUR Way on the original day, or at a time that suits you better.
You can follow our maps (Melbourne or Barossa), or walk close to home. If 26 kilometres is too far, you can do less. If Health Advice says we must stay at home, you can do it in your backyard, over a number of days.
You can Wheel your Way with a walker, wheelchair or pram.
You can even Woof your Way with your dog!
We’re looking at:
- providing podcast stories
- inviting song suggestions for a Walk playlist
- offering reflection meditations
- and many more surprises!
(At this stage, we have not yet postponed our Gold Coast Walk My Way on 1 August, and 70th Birthday Albury walk on 17 October… but will be guided by Government advice.)
Through ALWS, it costs just $26 per year to support a refugee child to go to school.
We still dare to dream big and aim to support 10,000 children through Walk YOUR Way in 2020!
ALWS really appreciates your patience and support as we get on with the big job to change plans, contact registered Walkers, update the website …
… and look beyond our COVID-19 challenge at home to the refugee children we help through Walk YOUR Way.
You can help by telling others about Walk YOUR Way – in your family, classroom, church, community …
… and encouraging people to:
The COVID-19 challenge makes it more important than ever that, if Health Advice permits, we step out together to help refugee children go to school …
… and show our community what it means to bring love to life!
IMPORTANT: We make these plans based on Health Advice of 17 March 2020. If Health Advice changes, we will look anew at the impact on Walk YOUR Way.
POST: 13 March 2020
On 12 March, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
At the same time, we have seen stock-markets crash.
As Australians, we have just lived through a summer of terrible bushfires. Many parts of our country continue to struggle with drought.
Naturally enough, people are feeling fear and uncertainty.
Here at ALWS, you can be certain our focus remains firmly
on the people you bless with your kindness and generosity.
The people you help through ALWS are the most threatened in the world. I think especially of those in Refugee Camps and Internally Displaced Persons Camps, in places like East Africa, Myanmar and Jordan. Forced to leave everything behind, they now live in cramped conditions with only basic health and hygiene protection.
Here, you help those most at risk – people with disability, the elderly, the sick, and children, especially those children facing the world alone.
The front-line teams you support are taking emergency steps to protect these people in the greatest danger. In other countries, where you work with the poorest and most marginalised, your teams are close to the community, have their trust, and so are in the best position to support them through this crisis.
ALWS fully understands that you personally are dealing
with the impacts of these crises on your own life.
At the same time, ALWS must stay true to our commitment to stand up for the poor, the forgotten, those left behind. So we will continue to put before you the needs of those who desperately need support … while, at the same time understanding you may not be able to respond as you’d wish to in normal times.
We will keep you updated on your work through ALWS, and the impact – if any – on what ALWS does in schools and churches in Australia.
No matter what happens in the days and weeks ahead, we hold on to the promise of Romans 8 that nothing – nothing – can separate us from God’s love.
If you have questions, call us on 1300 763 407 or email email@example.com
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
Isaiah 1:17 (MSG)