So what is AKWAK? Australians Knitting for War-Affected Kids

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AKWAK is a group of Australians (with some wonderful international followers too) committed to helping children affected by conflict with hand-made clothes, toys, blankets and enrichment items.

AKWAK crafters aim to create warm, sturdy clothing and other items to help children who have been adversely affected by war and conflict. In South Australia there are a number of dedicated, committed people who support the project by either knitting or crocheting items that are then packed and distributed to children living in squalid conditions in Syrian refugee camps. AKWAK’s aid for the Syrian children was distributed in several Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in December 2021, right at the cusp of the worst of the winter months in Syria. AKWAK’s contribution provided clothing and play and enrichment items for 2,000 children.

This is a wonderful project for connecting with your local community and as such the project has been introduced to the Wimala Presbytery. A number of Wimala congregations have been supporting this project with volunteers knitting, crocheting or buying for AKWAK. While this support has been very much valued and appreciated, another opportunity has arisen for further support to be shown and an invitation is being extended to all members of the Wimala Presbytery.

So how can you help? Over the past couple of years, Campbelltown Council has allowed the local AKWAK group in Adelaide to use Brookside Cellars in Tranmere as a base for storing and packing the various items ready for distribution.

Unfortunately Council has made the decision to refurbish the facility to make it more viable for commercial hire which means the AKWAK group have lost their ‘home’ as they have been advised they need to vacate the facility within the next 4 weeks! This means the group is seeking a location suitable to both store the items that have been created or donated as well as a place to pack them ready to send overseas. Ideally the location would be within 20-30 minutes of the Adelaide CBD. AKWAK, as a not-for-profit community group, has no access to funds nor does it fundraise and so all its efforts are voluntary and it has no capacity to pay for any hire of facilities.

The ideal solution to the current problem would be to find a suitable church hall/building large enough to store the items and then room to set up multiple tables to pack the boxes. In 2021 over 100 boxes were packed. Given the need to vacate the current location in such a short time, there is a real sense of urgency attached to this request. Any short-term offer to accommodate the group would be much appreciated but ideally a long term ‘new home’ would be preferred.

So if you believe your church community could assist through the offer of a suitable space then we would love to hear from you. To discuss further what you might be able to offer or for more information or any queries about AKWAK, please feel free to direct them to Liz Irving, AKWAK State Coordinator (akwak@adam.com.au) or Carol Lang, Wimala Presbytery Secretary (wimala.secretary@sa.uca.org.au).

If you are able to assist in addressing this issue then please know your generosity will make a very great difference to these young lives which have so tragically been shattered by war.


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