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Uniting Church aid worker receives Australia Day awards

Uniting Church News
Uniting Church in Australia Aid-worker has today been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, for her contribution to international relief and development.

Fiona Dixon-Thompson has coordinated the United Church of Zambia Orphans and Vulnerable Children project in Mwandi, Zambia, since 2005.

It is a program of Uniting Church Overseas Aid.

The project feeds some 250 children six days a week, and provides medical checks, hygiene programs, clothing and schooling support for 620 children; all of whom have been left orphaned or vulnerable by the ravages of HIV/AIDS.

Zambia is one of the world’s poorest nations and millions of Zambians live below the World Bank poverty threshold of $1 a day.

An estimated 300 to 500 Zambians contract HIV everyday leaving a generation of children without carers.

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Gregor Henderson, said that the people of Mwandi with Fiona daily contend with the grinding reality of extreme poverty and what causes it.

“In a country where life expectancy is just 42 years, Fiona works with villagers to provide life-saving services so people can have a more hopeful future,” Mr Henderson said.

“International aid workers like Fiona challenge the church and wider society to care for people who lack the most basic services, and to overcome the world’s gross inequality.

“That’s what Uniting Church Overseas Aid who sponsor Fiona’s work is all about.”

“On this Australia Day we celebrate the contribution Fiona has made and that of all Australians who engage in the spirit of giving, whether to the local or international communities.”

Queensland Australia Day awardees included Longreach Uniting Church Church Council member Mrs Barbara Anderson who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to rural and regional communities in central Queensland.

Logan City Citizen of the year 2009 was Beenleigh Region Uniting Church Elder Mrs Ethel Spann who served for 35 year career as Director of Nursing of the Beenleigh Blue Care Service and has been fundraising organiser for the School Chaplaincy ministry through Scripture Union raising over $15,000.00.

Photo : Uniting Church News