An Australian Lutheran World Service Leadership Pilgrimage went to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya in July. Some South Australians who were a part of this group were Encounter Lutheran College Principal Kelvin Grivell and SA-NT Assistant Bishop for Mission Stephen Schultz and his wife Jenny. Here are their stories.
I met this young woman, Eliza, at Kakuma Refugee Camp, in the north-west of Kenya. She is part of the local football (soccer) competition and is captain of the ‘Bright Starlets’. She is proud, capable and strong.
To me, her smile, her words and her conviction were symbolic of so many we met within the camp. Eliza does not want pity; she simply wants an opportunity. She does not feel sorry for herself; she wants a future for herself. Eliza has a unique capacity to articulate the challenges she and other young women face. Football creates a barrier to serious physical assault and other risks within the camp, yet also provides a doorway to positive relationships, a healthy lifestyle and other possibilities beyond the pitch.
Eliza’s story is just one of so many. There are almost 200,000 refugees in Kakuma, with over half of them being under the age of 18. Kakuma is known as the children’s camp. As someone who serves in a school community to nurture and empower young people, my hope is for Eliza and many others in Kakuma to thrive in life. I hope the words ‘Bright Starlet’ on the back of Eliza’s football jersey might come to symbolise her future reality, as many are inspired to continue supporting the work of Australian Lutheran World Service.
Stephen and Jenny Schultz
We have supported the work of ALWS for some years now and have always believed our money would get to where it was needed the most. When the opportunity arose to witness the work of Australian Lutheran World Service first hand at Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, we jumped at the chance.
What we saw made a deep impact on us both. We were overwhelmed at the scale of human need, inspired by the resilience of humanity in the face of adversity and encouraged and humbled at the work being done on our behalf by ALWS.
We saw the way lives are being changed, the way people are being empowered, the way hope is being generated and the way the Gospel is being enacted. We have come away with an increased conviction in the difference that ALWS is making in some of the most challenging environments on the planet.
Rest assured, your gifts to ALWS are bringing God’s grace to many lives!
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