On Tuesday 3 May, the Year 9 students from Encounter Lutheran College walked 26km as part of Walk My Way, a fundraising and awareness initiative to help send refugee children to school.

Year 9 teacher, Mr Andrew Weiss said that the walk was a service component as part of the Year 9 camp. The boys walked the Heysen Trail from Waitpinga Campground to Tapanappa Campground, and the girls walked the Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Rangers.

In the lead up to the walk, the students learnt about refugees with presentations from Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS), the overseas aid and development agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia.

“The students were encouraged to think about walking in the shoes of refugee children as they conquered the 26km” Andrew said. For every 26km walked, $26 will help provide a teacher, textbook and table for one pre-school child living in a refugee camp in East Africa and Myanmar. Many of the refugee kids were born there, and know no other life. Some even arrived alone, without mum or dad.

Year 9 student, Kyla Bennett raised $772 for Walk My Way. “During our 26km walk, my eyes were opened to the reality that so many refugee children face,” said Kyla. “When blisters started to form and my legs began to ache, I reminded myself that this was nothing compared to what they must endure”. This is why Kayla grew so passionate about raising money and making a difference to better their lives.

Community Education Coordinator for Walk My Way, Kirra Lewis said that since 2019, Walk My Way has helped 62,500 refugee children go to school. “Helping refugee children go to school is so important, and not only for educational outcomes. School becomes a place of safety, somewhere to receive a nutritious meal, an opportunity to make friends, a chance to regain some routine and structure, to build resilience and rebuild communities” said Kirra.

“Australian Lutheran World Service is deeply grateful to schools like Encounter Lutheran College who have embraced Walk My Way as part of their service learning, building it into their culture and their key milestones, helping to shape students with a global conscience and putting love into action” said Kirra. “Encounter is living out their values to thrive, connect and belong, not only with their own students, but also with refugee children”.

To make a donation, visit encounter.walkmyway.org.au