IOCC Assistance Going to Kosovo Communities in Need

Baltimore, MD (April 8, 2005) — Living in certain parts of Kosovo is a daily struggle — one that doesn’t get any easier with time.

Six years since the NATO bombing campaign, and a year since the renewed violence against minority communities in Kosovo, residents there continue to suffer from a lack of security, mobility, services and, in some cases, proper shelter.

This despite the efforts of the international community to help all ethnic groups in Kosovo coexist and build opportunities for reconciliation, stability and prosperity in the troubled province.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding to the nutritional and hygiene needs of minority communities in Kosovo through a new project that will provide more than 1,000 families with food and hygiene parcels and support the operations of a soup kitchen in Prekovac.

IOCC has identified the Pomoravlje region and the Gnjilane, Novo Brdo, Vitina, Pristina and Gracanica enclaves as the most vulnerable areas because they host many displaced people. Within these enclaves, IOCC will provide assistance to people living in 10 isolated villages.

Working through the local partner “Majka 9 Jugovica,” IOCC will provide a one-month supply of supplementary food and hygiene items to 1,000 families of all ethnic groups living in private accommodations, as well as families staying in a shelter in Gracanica.

IOCC’s support of the soup kitchen will provide immediate, life-sustaining assistance to elderly and other poor people in the Novo Brdo region, and sustain the soup kitchen operations for six months.

This latest project is the result of a detailed needs-assessment done in February and is accomplished with the support of longtime IOCC partner Vlade Divac and others. In December, Divac, star center for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, extended a challenge grant of $50,000 to IOCC for humanitarian assistance in Kosovo. IOCC matched the grant with the support of its Board of Directors.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to IOCC for all its efforts to assist the Church and minorities living in Kosovo,” said His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, abbot of High Decani Monastery in western Kosovo.