published in Farming / AgricultureHope Spots 2024 on April 29, 2024

Hope Spot 14 – Boarded Windows

Michael shares how your support in Ukraine is helping people rebuild their lives

I don’t know about you …


… but right now people seem to me to be worn-out, weary and worried about our world.


Maybe it’s because the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza (and Myanmar, and the Horn of Africa) just keep going.


Maybe it’s the hurts we see close to home.


Stabbings in Sydney. Violence against women. Our own personal tragedies.


Maybe it’s because every day seems to bring another gloomy message about cost of living.


I don’t know.


What I do know is that some people can feel overwhelmed, and powerless in the face of crises that seem too big.


That’s why today I want you to join Executive Director of ALWS, Michael Stolz, and go with him to meet the people delivering your aid on the front line of the war in Ukraine.


You’ll see that your kindness, your generosity, your love, shine through the windows of bombed-out buildings into the hearts of shattered lives …


… restoring hope where human logic says there should be none.


Here is Michael’s story




“They expected boarded windows.”


Earlier this year in eastern Europe, I met Mark Mullen, the LWF project manager responsible for delivering your ALWS aid to the people of Ukraine. (LWF = Lutheran World Federation.)


Working with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), together we renovated 550 apartments for Ukrainian families in Kharkiv, close to the front line of the war. Mark told me:


“People expected us to board up
their blown-out windows
so that they could move back
into their apartment without freezing. 


They certainly did not expect us to show up
with a team of trades people
to completely refurbish their apartment. 


And when we did, they were amazed,
and overwhelmingly appreciative.”


In the photo, you can see Mark talking to a family who have been able to return to their apartment. One story he shared really touched my heart. It was from 73 year-old Mykola:


“We are looking forward
to returning to our own place.  


For us, it is not just a home.


It’s a place of inspiration,
a place where our family stories were born,
and a place of our strength.”


The goal this year is to refurbish another 1,550 apartments in Kharkiv (just 40 kilometres from the Russian border). Here, more than 10,000 apartments were severely damaged by missile strikes in the first weeks of the war.


Many people had put all their savings into these apartments.


They were older people like Mykola, single mothers, or people with disabilities. People who had neither the money nor the ability to make their apartments liveable again.


That’s where you step in with your kindness through ALWS, working with LWF.


You do more than simply restore apartments.


Mark told me that LWF has a holistic approach around the different needs of families – some need medical help, others have no income, others are traumatised by the constant air raids. That’s why LWF also provides integrated psychosocial care.


You can help carry on this front-line work that is restoring hope to families in Ukraine after 26 long months of war:

 $32 cares for a child in a Child Safe space for one month





 $4,500 can renovate an apartment in Kharkiv





 $250 can help repair a damaged classroom


You can even join me in ALWS Walk My Way Ukraine in Brisbane on Saturday 11 May, stepping out from QUT.


Register to walk or volunteer as a steward. If you need help registering to walk or volunteer, call 1300 763 407.


For now, let me simply thank you for all you do for people through ALWS. Seeing our impact for the people of Ukraine, I thank God for the kindness and generosity of people like you.




Walk My Way Ukraine is part of our ALWS campaign to help 210,000 children of war in 2024.


From Rohingya children in Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar, and refugee camps in Bangladesh … to children with disabilities forced from their homes in Somalia … across the Horn of Africa … to here in Ukraine.


Together, you and I can shine the light of hope through the boarded windows of a world weary of war. That’s something we all need right now.


Thank you for being a blessing ALWayS!



How your donation is used wisely


♥ You help with practical care

You help with practical care: Your donation supports the work of ALWS for the children of war and families of Ukraine, working through the Lutheran World Federation. Should more money be raised than required for this project, any excess will be used in ALWS-supported projects to help children of war in other countries. Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407


♥ Being careful with your care

In 2023, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 15.27%. The 5 year average is 15.7%. A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407.


♥ Your privacy is important to us

ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

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