Message from the
|Volume 12, No. 1
Growing up I was always fascinated with Africa. When I finally traveled there after college I was amazed by its beauty and grandeur. I loved the people and their culture – so much so that I returned to work for a year on construction projects for the Orthodox Church in Kenya. My work for IOCC brings me back to Africa often, but now the beauty seems a strange backdrop to the severe need. Whether its AIDS, cholera, malaria, or the chronic shortage of hospitals and supplies, most African countries are grappling with grave public health issues.
Our cover story shows how IOCC’s health initiatives meet real African needs while building the capacity of the national Orthodox Churches to respond to their communities. You will read about Ethiopia, where IOCC has conducted its flagship HIV/AIDs program and educated 7 million Ethiopians on prevention strategies; and Zimbabwe, where medical shipments worth more than $8.5 million have provided medicines and surgical equipment to a crumbling society. And IOCC has also started new projects in Niger and Cameroon in the last year.
In this issue of News & Needs, you’ll also read about how Gaza and Georgia are recovering from war. With thousands displaced, living in temporary shelters and struggling to recover from trauma, you will read about how IOCC’s Jerusalem and Tbilisi offices responded to the crises and used their networks of cooperation – particularly with the Orthodox Church – to reach those most in need.
In Greece, a new $1.3 million grant by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese will continue to help farmers recover from wildfires. IOCC will construct a soil lab in the Peloponnese that will allow farmers to determine what crops to cultivate and what supplies to use to get the best yield.
In 2008, IOCC led an effort to recruit and mobilize Orthodox volunteers for service opportunities in the U.S. Read about how over 200 volunteers provided $3.5 million in assistance that was focused on long term housing, education and family support needs.
Finally, IOCC recently completed a strategic planning process involving our staff and Board Members. As part of that process, we updated IOCC’s Mission Statement. We feel this new statement more clearly conveys the scope and purpose of IOCC’s unique role in the humanitarian field.
IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.
Thank you for allowing us to keep faith with thousands around the world.
Yours In Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO