February 2008
From the Executive Director
In February, IOCC was awarded a $1.6 million grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to continue and expand its current relief and recovery work for Greek farmers who lost livestock and pasturelands to last summer’s wildfires. This latest grant will enable IOCC to reach an estimated 2,000 farming families with emergency supplies of animal feed and forage seed. For many farmers, IOCC’s help will mean the difference between saving their family farm or having to return to Athens to find work.

The Greece program is the latest example of IOCC’s ability to respond to emergencies. We mobilized IOCC headquarters staff and members of our Belgrade and Athens offices to make assessments, oversee distributions, and also to consult with scientists in order to identify forage seed that will allow the Peloponnese to begin recovering its damaged pasturelands — a long-term solution for farmers.
In 2008, I am excited about our development programs including the expansion of our HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign in Ethiopia, our new program to combat drug abuse in Georgia, and providing food security to more villages in the West Bank. These programs have been carefully planned and assessed. While it is impossible to know when and where the next emergency will be, we will carefully and wisely assess our resources and our capabilities so that we can respond in the most appropriate and effective way.

Yours in Christ

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

Food Security for the West Bank
IOCC Jerusalem will be able to expand its successful food security program to five new villages in the embattled Qalqilia area of the West Bank. The $440,000 program, funded by the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission, will aid 600 families with training, tools and supplies to create house gardens, water cisterns, and cultivate bee hives. The aim of the program is to help the families achieve food security since many of them are cut off from their farmland and water supply by the West Bank Barrier.

IOCC Georgia Launches Two New Programs with Patriarchate
IOCC Georgia has launched two new programs. The first, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will train clergy of the Georgian Orthodox Church and public school teachers to combat drug abuse by learning to identify risky behaviors and to facilitate educational and prevention activities among young people and parents. The one year campaign targets the most impressionable group of Georgians: youth between the ages of 11 – 21. The program will also include a mass media campaign to raise awareness on drug abuse by using faith-based messages. An estimated 1.35 million Georgians will be reached through the media campaign alone. The second program involves an agreement between IOCC and the Patriarchate to create a model cattle farm in southern Georgia. The farm will teach new farming methods to help Georgian farmers raise better quality beef.

US Program Dedicates New Gulf Coast Homes
IOCC staff and Habitat for Humanity volunteers recently attended a dedication ceremony for “Faith Village,” a cluster of six homes in Covington, Louisiana. Sixteen faith-based organizations, including IOCC, provided the materials, supplies and volunteers to build the new homes. IOCC also contributed $150,000 towards material costs and mobilized 200 volunteers in 2007 to help work on these and other homes on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. In an emotional ceremony, the families were presented with hammers, representing their own volunteer days, Bibles, representing their faith in God, and keys, symbolizing their ownership of their own homes. IOCC board member Fr. Michael Rosco of Perth Amboy, NJ, on his third tour as a volunteer with the program, offered the opening prayer for the ceremony.

Orthodox Diakonia

Representatives of Orthodox philanthropic organizations from around the world met in Geneva in February to continue their work of creating a network for shared ideas and resources. A survey has been created to further understand the “international landscape” of all Orthodox charitable organizations. IOCC was represented at the meeting by CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou. Plans were made to meet again in 2009 and to launch a common web site.

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