News & Information – November 2009
Bassema Jaghoub is one of our dedicated staff persons based in IOCC's Jerusalem/West Bank office. On some days she must leave her home as early as 4:00 a.m. in order to negotiate the many checkpoints that she encounters on her way to the villages where IOCC is working. "I cannot say that we have broken down all the barriers that many families face here in the West Bank, but we have been able to break down some," she said, referring to IOCC's work in the Qalqilya region where IOCC has enabled hundreds of families, who have been cut off from their farmlands and water sources by the West Bank Barrier, to create house gardens and build water cisterns.

When I saw her again on a recent tour of IOCC's operations in the Middle East, it was a reminder to me of the many political and social challenges that our IOCC staff and beneficiaries face. Here in America, we are experiencing the most challenging economic crisis in a generation. Like many U.S. charities, IOCC has had to modify our operations and be more creative to leverage all of our resources, because the needs haven't decreased – if anything, they have increased. No matter where I travel, it is clear to me that there is an increasing role for IOCC as an Orthodox organization that reaches out to all people.
IOCC staff member Bassema Jaghoub shows off the house gardens and water cisterns that were developed by families in the West Bank with tools, seeds and instruction provided by IOCC. (photo credit: IOCC Jerusalem/West Bank)
IOCC's pledge to them and to you, our supporters, is to go only to those places where our resources and expertise meet real needs. Our global network of contacts with the Orthodox Church, governmental and local partners allows us to reach people efficiently, and to help them find their own solutions.

Back in Qalqilya, Bassema proudly showed us a harvest of cabbages in one of the many house gardens that West Bank families have been able to cultivate using tools, seeds and instruction provided to them by IOCC. It is hard to put into words how gratifying it was to see these families rise above their challenges. IOCC will also be launching soon a program to bring agricultural development and jobs to the West Bank through funding from Finn Church Aid and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This is all possible because of the generous support you provided to IOCC in 2009. On behalf of my colleagues at IOCC and our board members, thank you for putting your faith in our efforts to transform people and communities. You put your trust in us and we made good on that trust. I would ask you now to consider an end of the year gift to IOCC so that we can reach those who are still waiting to rise above their challenges.

I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with possibilities.

In Christ’s Service,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

IOCC Christmas Gift Catalog
The true meaning of Christmas is a celebration of God's gift of love to us through Christ. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to give gifts that allow us to share God's gifts to a world in need? IOCC's new Christmas Gift Catalog offers distinctive ideas for gifts that will share the love of God throughout the year with people devastated by war, poverty and natural disasters. The Christmas Gift Catalog is available here online – so get a head start on your Christmas shopping today!

School Books for Children in Cameroon
IOCC recently delivered a shipment of 17,000 textbooks for middle and high school students in Cameroon. The literature, grammar and composition books, valued at over $630,000, were provided by Pearson to IOCC in cooperation with Brother's Brother Foundation. The books were delivered to government secondary schools and to schools in the remote villages of Datcheka and Tchatibali where the Cameroon Orthodox Church provides health, education and agricultural support. IOCC has signed an agreement with Cameroon's government to provide additional school books.

Jordan Receives Wheelchairs from IOCC
A shipment of wheelchairs and other mobility devices worth $150,000, provided by IOCC through a partnership with Hope Haven International, was shipped to more than 170 disabled Jordanians. The organization, Eleanore's Project, provided a volunteer team of specialists to instruct Jordanians in using new models of wheelchairs, repairing wheelchairs, and to properly seat people with disabilities. Most disabled individuals cannot afford a wheelchair in developing countries like Jordan, and they live a life of confinement, completely dependent on others for mobility. IOCC's project was recognized by Princess Muna Al-Hussein, mother of Jordan's King Abdullah and honorary president of the Family and Friends Society of Persons with Disabilities which helped distribute the wheelchairs. IOCC has been active in Jordan since 2005 where it has provided millions of dollars worth of donated medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, blankets and books.

Providing Employment for
Ethiopia's Disabled
IOCC has begun a new project in Ethiopia to improve the employability of people with disabilities. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in cooperation with two established local agencies, the project will enhance the opportunities and employability of people with disabilities by equipping them with necessary skills, knowledge and tools. The project also aims to raise awareness among employers and the public about the potential for employment among people with disabilities. IOCC began operations in Ethiopia in 2001 through a partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to provide clean water sources and improved farming techniques. IOCC is currently operating a comprehensive U.S. government-funded program to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and has also recently initiated another program with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that creates awareness of sexual and gender based violence among urban refugees in the capital city of Addis Ababa.

Wanted: Hygiene Kits for
Families in Need
Do you need a project for your Sunday School kids and youth groups? Assemble an IOCC Hygiene Kit today and help families that have been displaced by natural disasters and war get the supplies they need! Supplies are running low, so help us get stocked up today! For information on assembling the kits, click here.

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