Message from the Executive DirectorEthiopian Orthodox Church officials demonstrate a new water pump and well for IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou. Infrastructure projects such as water system improvements are one way that IOCC seeks to improve the quality of life for impoverished communities around the world. Photo: IOCC-Ethiopia
The dictionary defines infrastructure as “the basic facilities, services and installations needed for a community or society” to function properly.
In a society whose infrastructure is fairly sophisticated, most people in the West don’t give the topic a second thought: Our roads are fairly well maintained; public utilities are generally reliable; our homes provide security and shelter. Are our lives worry-free? Certainly not. But the “basic facilities and services” are there, and fear of losing any of them is not a constant preoccupation for most of us. But go to a place like the Republic of Georgia or the West Bank or Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it’s a different story. It’s that story that we want to tell you in this issue of News & Needs.
In Bosnia, where the 1992-1995 war destroyed homes, public utilities and other infrastructure, refugees returning home have found that there is not much to return to. What good is it to rebuild one’s home, they ask, when there is no running water or electricity? IOCC has been addressing this challenge over the past few years with projects restoring village water supply lines and electricity supply networks. To date, 373 households have been reconnected to repaired water lines, and 468 households have been reconnected to repaired power lines.
In the West Bank, where an almost constant state of turmoil has wreaked havoc on roads, public buildings and homes, people despair of an infrastructure that will last. This in a part of the world with buildings that are centuries old! IOCC has been active these past two years opening new agricultural roads, building retaining walls and hedging, constructing community centers, health clinics and libraries, and repairing school classrooms. As each village has partnered with IOCC in this endeavor, the renewed pride in their community has been palpable.
In the Republic of Georgia, where decades of decay and neglect left the education system in shambles, IOCC is repairing schools one-by-one and restoring a sense of optimism among Georgia’s educators and school children.
These infrastructure projects are not just about buildings or roads or power poles. They are about the people whose lives are restored to some semblance of normalcy through access to these services. IOCC has found that if you build it, they will come come home to a village with running water and electricity, come to class in a school where water doesn't drip through the ceiling, come to a clinic where health services are available to all.
Thank you for helping us make these vital projects a reality.
Constantine M. Triantafilou