News & Information – May 2010
One million Ethiopians are afflicted by a dreaded disease called podoconiosis, which causes severe swelling to feet and legs. With the support of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, IOCC is distributing shoes and providing training to prevent and treat this painful condition for individuals like Lydia (pictured above). (Photo credit: S. Tomczyk/IOCC Ethiopia)
One of the most rewarding aspects of my position is witnessing people tackling tough challenges and changing lives as a result. I had such an experience recently on my latest visit to Ethiopia where our staff is focusing on one of the most heart breaking diseases in this impoverished country: podoconiosis.

The condition is caused by the exposure of bare feet to silica-rich soil that causes open sores and ulcers, infection, and grotesque swelling of the feet and lower legs. For the nearly 1 million Ethiopians who suffer from this debilitating disease, misconceptions abound, and some are even shunned by their families for bringing on them this "curse." Yet, a simple pair of shoes and daily foot treatments can change all of this.

Our staff in Ethiopia are working with a British physician and educator named Dr. Gail Davey who has lived in Ethiopia since 2001 and has personally taken up the cause of researching podoconiosis, something that hadn't been done in the last 20 years. According to Dr. Davey, less than 4% of those afflicted with podoconiosis in Ethiopia have access to care. Knowing that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with more than 40 million adherents, is a powerful agent for change in Ethiopia, she teamed up with our staff.

With support from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society and private donors, IOCC will distribute shoes and provide training to prevent and treat this painful condition. "Through the Orthodox Church," says, Dr. Davey, "there is potential to reach more than 50% of those afflicted and even more with prevention education. That's why I am excited to team up with IOCC."

The tragedy of this affliction is that over a million people are afflicted and yet it can be readily prevented and treated. As IOCC works to expand its work on the continent, we are committed to development programs that will empower local communities to find solutions and to partner with the Orthodox Church as it plays its own vital role.

Thank you for your faithful support for IOCC. You are making this necessary and life-changing work possible.

In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

Learn more at iocc.org/worldprograms


NBA star and longtime IOCC supporter Vladimir Radmanović tours a greenhouse that was used to provide occupational therapy and vocational training to disabled people in a project implemented with IOCC in 2008. In a new partnership with IOCC, the Vladimir Radmanović Children's Foundation will expand the occupational and physical therapy services available for more than 1,600 people with disabilities in Serbia. (photo: IOCC Baltimore)
NBA's Vladimir Radmanović To Support Serbians With Disabilities
Golden State Warriors Forward Vladimir Radmanović, a long time supporter of IOCC, will fund a new project to improve therapeutic and skills training for more than 1,600 disabled children and adults in Serbia. The aim of the project is to assist Serbian institutions to expand the occupational and physical therapy services available to people with disabilities. Radmanović, born in Trebinje, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina), has supported other IOCC initiatives including a project that provided culinary and other job training for at-risk youth in Serbia. The new project, valued at over $220,000 and focused mainly on institutions in rural areas south of the capital Belgrade, is being funded with a $110,000 grant from the Vladimir Radmanović Children's Foundation.

Learn more at iocc.org/Serbia


Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Georgia
IOCC has received a new grant to continue to promote healthy lifestyles among Georgian youth by training Orthodox clergy and youth leaders on HIV/AIDS and drug abuse prevention. The program is made possible through a grant by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). An estimated 200,000 individuals are abusing drugs in Georgia. Georgian youth are experimenting with Ecstasy, marijuana, and other illegal substances. They are also taking prescriptions drugs and "cooking" them to make them more potent, and, in many cases, lethal. So prevalent is this problem in Georgia, that 65% of all HIV cases are intravenous drug users. His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, the primate of the Georgian Orthodox Church, has created an anti-drug center in his charitable foundation and proclaimed the combat of drug abuse as a priority for the Church.

Learn more at iocc.org/Georgia


IOCC Offers Volunteer Opportunity To Help Build Homes on Gulf Coast
IOCC is calling on Orthodox volunteers from throughout the U.S. to build homes for families whose lives were devastated by Gulf Coast hurricanes. Volunteers don't have to be skilled. Activities include roofing, framing and landscaping. The volunteer contribution is $800 per person and includes round-trip airfare to New Orleans, local transportation, room & board, materials, supplies and tools. Volunteers can apply online at iocc.org/volunteer (or contact Pascalis Papouras at ppapouras@iocc.org).

Learn more at iocc.org/volunteer


VOLUNTEER HIGHLIGHT:
Emily Howard, Boston, MA
Emily Howard was 16 years old when the IOCC Race to Respond team came to visit at the Antiochian Village summer camp. It was the first time she had heard about IOCC. Eight years later, Emily is the person inspiring young and old to get involved with IOCC. She has served on the IOCC Boston Metropolitan Committee for two years and recently ran in the Boston Marathon for IOCC. Emily raised over $2,000 for IOCC while teaching, helping her parish, serving on the IOCC committee and training for the marathon. "[Volunteering for IOCC] is something that is near and dear to my heart. It is easy to be a Parish Representative because I am already involved in my parish community. The more you learn about the work IOCC does, the more you are willing to help. I hope IOCC will always be a big part of my life."

Learn about other volunteer opportunities at iocc.org/getinvolved


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