IOCC to Participate in “Blitz Build” in South Africa

Baltimore, MD (May 24, 2002) Deborah Hadjes Funti is going on a “very special mission” that combines her commitment to Orthodox Christianity and her interest in ecumenism.

From June 2-7, Mrs. Funti will participate in a Habitat for Humanity project to build 100 houses in Durban, South Africa. Part of a National Council of Churches work team, she will go as a representative of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).

Mrs. Funti, 47, of New Orleans, La., is a longtime Greek Orthodox delegate to the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and supporter of IOCC, the official humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians.

She and 2,000 other volunteers, including Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, will build 100 houses in five days as part of Habitat’s annual Jimmy Carter Work Project. “It’s a very special mission,” Mrs. Funti said. “I’m just incredibly blessed and honored to be a part of this. And I’m very grateful to IOCC for making it happen.”

Mrs. Funti said Orthodox involvement in such projects is important. “I think my presence will be a witness that Orthodox people in America do care,” she said. “And it’s just a great opportunity for me to put on the IOCC hat and let people know that we as Orthodox are out there and willing to get our hands dirty.”

Mrs. Funti’s participation also illustrates IOCC’s ongoing commitment to providing safe, affordable housing to people in need. IOCC’s humanitarian work over the past 10 years has included the rebuilding of homes in war-torn areas such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Since 1997, IOCC has helped rebuild an estimated 500 homes damaged in the 1992-1995 war there. A current IOCC program supplies construction materials and teams of skilled workers to Bosnian refugees returning to their pre-war homes.

Also present for the South Africa event will be Habitat for Humanity founders Millard and Linda Fuller. In all, the 2002 Jimmy Carter Work Project will build 1,000 homes throughout Africa.