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Fiona Dixon-Thompson Leaves Mwandi

AFTER almost a decade spent building the Mwandi United Church of Zambia Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project in Africa, Port Lincoln’s Fiona “Fred” Dixon-Thompson is moving on.

Ms Dixon-Thompson will leave Mwandi and her role as project coordinator later this year and move to Lilongwe, Malawi, where her husband Ruairidh Waddell has started a job as Zambia country director with World Renew, The Relief and Development Organization of the Reformed Church of North America.
Fiona - Mwandi UCZ Mission

Ms Dixon-Thompson and their children Lucy and Cora will join him there in June, and the couple will remain heavily involved in the project via the internet and visits.

She said the decision to leave was not easy.

“We felt it was time to move on, for the girls’ sake.

“Lucy needs school, friends to play with and social activities she is unable to do in Mwandi.”

In her 10 years in the village Ms Dixon-Thompson has made a huge difference to the Mwandi village.

She has instigated hospital upgrades particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, and the construction and establishment of a community-based and run orphans and vulnerable children program with child welfare programs and education and vocational training programs like the sewing centre, which is now selling its bags around the world.

The couple will continue to travel back and forth during the transition to help the new project coordinator.

Before Ms Dixon-Thompson leaves she hopes to finish amending the bakery to house the project’s temporary store room, which was decimated by fire last year, destroying essential food and project supplies, and school equipment.

She said the fire had been heartbreaking.

“People had worked hard over many years to fill that store room.”

The new store room is being built by Australian visitors.

Ms Dixon-Thompson is also hoping to see the hospital upgrade finished in coming months.

She is now looking for her replacement and is urging anyone who feels they might be able to take on the role to get in touch.

Ms Dixon-Thompson said while the role was a huge challenge, it was incredibly rewarding, and she was hoping someone would come forward to take on the role before the family left the village.

She also urged locals to keep supporting the orphans and vulnerable children program with donations for the feeding programs, fire appeal and student sponsorship program.

“It’s all about the children,” she said.

“We’re so grateful for all the amazing support we’ve had over the years.”

The coordinator will be responsible for joint overseeing of the project’s programs with the United Church of Zambia, managing finance, maintenance and supervising international visitors that come to the mission.

They will be strongly involved in the lives of the children, volunteers and staff.

Anyone interested in seeing the job description can contact her on 8684 2065 or email uczovc@gmail.com

She is continuing to seek sponsorship for school and university students, so anyone who is able to sponsor a student can contact Sandra Pugsley at sandrapugsley@gmail.com

Story by Natasha Ewendt (25 March 2014).

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