April 2008
From the Executive Director: Looking Forward
This space usually announces IOCC’s new grants and initiatives, and while you will be hearing from me in the next few months on new programs in Georgia, the West Bank, East Africa, and the U.S., I wanted you to know about IOCC’s recent staff conference. The heads of office for four countries traveled to Baltimore for a week of meetings with our headquarters staff. We provided two days of training designed to sharpen our administrative and reporting systems. IOCC has always placed a premium on efficiency and professionalism. One day was spent on staff care, examining how to better handle the special stress that humanitarian workers face. Finally, we started the process of reviewing our planning documents in order to begin identifying specific objectives for the future. Our time together was valuable, allowing us to candidly discuss such issues as how all managers can refine the decision-making process and the changing world in which we live. Our facilitators commented that rarely had they seen such candor in an organization, or one that placed as much importance on cultivating relationships as IOCC. We remain, as ever, committed to providing those in need with food, shelter, economic self-sufficiency and hope, and to ensuring that the Orthodox Church has a seat at the humanitarian and development table.

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

NBA Star Provides Wheelchairs for Greece
All star basketball player Peja Stojakovic of the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets is partnering with IOCC to provide mobility assistance to more than 160 disabled people in Thessaloniki, Greece. More than $200,000 in wheelchairs, including sports wheelchairs for disabled athletes, and other mobility devices and therapeutic equipment were delivered to Greece in April. The project is part of a larger regional program designed and implemented by IOCC with the support and cooperation of the Peja Stojakovic Children’s Foundation to provide assistance to disabled children and adults in Greece and Montenegro. The wheelchairs will be custom-fit to suit the needs of each recipient in cooperation with a team of volunteer health care professionals from Wheels for Humanity of Los Angeles, California and other local partners in Thessaloniki. Stojakovic has previously partnered with IOCC to provide medical assistance and clothing to children in Serbia and Montenegro.

IOCC Podcast: Iraqi Refugees Speak Out
Hear from Iraqi refugees living today in Damascus, Syria. IOCC is reaching out to them with school tuition, vocational training, and emergency supplies. Listen to this IOCC podcast from Ancient Faith Radio.

IOCC Podcast: State of Christians in the Middle East Today
IOCC staff report on the state of Christians in the Middle East. Listen to this interview that was first broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio's “The Illumined Heart.”

American Soldier in Iraq Inspires Support for Iraqi Refugees
More than 21,500 school kits were delivered to Damascus, Syria in support of IOCC’s program to assist Iraqi refugees and disadvantaged Syrians. Betty Kurkjian encouraged family and friends to show support for her son, Bob Kurkjian, an American soldier in Iraq, by sending donations to IOCC. Betty, a longtime volunteer with IOCC’s Orange County Metropolitan Committee, collected $4,600, which was used to pay the shipping costs of the school kits to Damascus, where Bob’s great grandparents had once lived as refugees. Bob served in Iraq as an Operations Officer helping to manage equipment and property, as well as hazardous waste removal throughout the country. He is back home in Orange County, California with his family awaiting his next deployment to Iraq. IOCC’s School Kit program is in partnership with Church World Servivce (CWS). For more information on how you can support IOCC through our School Kits, click here.

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