Connecting Past and Present

June 12, 2018

Connecting Past and Present

IOCC has been doing humanitarian and development work for more than 25 years. Sometimes we come across a tangible reminder of that history—like the one shown here.

On a recent visit to headquarters by IOCC Georgia Project Manager Zaza Matcharashvili (pictured, center), Executive Director and CEO Dean Triantafilou (left) pulled out this memento of the project for a show-and-tell session with HQ staff (CFAO Tamara Segall pictured, right).

It’s a blanket made in the early 1990s by a Georgian woman displaced by conflict there. She was one of 300 women like the one shown below who, during the turmoil following the Soviet Union’s collapse, found employment through an IOCC project producing blankets that could be distributed to other people facing hardship. (The blanket, by the way, is still in perfect condition.)

From 1995 to 2000, the project yielded some 10,000 blankets and 5,000 mattresses.

Following Georgia’s independence and the collapse of the Soviet Union, of which it had been a member, conflict in the early 1990s displaced some 300,000 people in Georgia alone. IOCC’s humanitarian presence there dates from 1992, with projects assisting thousands of those displaced by conflict, and continues today with a focus on agriculture development.

In 2017, with funding from the IOCC Foundation, four low-cost greenhouses were built on land owned by the Orthodox Diocese of Poti and Khobi, where geothermal springs just beneath the surface provide natural heat. With the support of His Grace Metropolitan Grigoli, the Church’s greenhouses are now home to flourishing tomato plants, providing produce and an income stream for the Church, jobs for locals, and a viable model for improving the community’s agricultural productivity.