News & Information – February 2009
To Our Supporters:

I am pleased to present IOCC’s Strategic Plan for 2009-2011. This concise Plan is a testament and an affirmation of all that IOCC stands for and can achieve. You will note the same themes that IOCC has been committed to for 16 years: disaster response programs that are responsive and effective; development programs that help communities lift themselves out of poverty and achieve economic sustainability; organizational excellence in the way we manage our resources.

I would like to share this Strategic Plan with you (the complete Plan is available at iocc.org/strategicplan). This organization represents you and all Orthodox Christians who care about uniting together to respond to the challenges of a struggling world. You will also note that this Plan emphasizes our long standing commitment to build the capacity of the Orthodox Church to respond to emergencies and to help communities achieve economic sustainability.

Finally, we have updated the IOCC Mission Statement to clearly convey the scope and purpose of IOCC’s unique role as a humanitarian organization.
IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.
Over the past year, we have undergone a number of transitions in order to maximize our resources and to have greater impact. As always, we are deeply grateful to you for keeping faith with thousands around the world.

In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

Gaza: Struggling to Rebuild

In February, IOCC provided food, blankets and hygiene kits to thousands of families recovering from the recent war in Gaza. IOCC is targeting the neediest: those who have been displaced, are living in war-damaged homes, have experienced the death or injury of a family member, or have a primary bread winner who is unemployed as a result of the conflict. A total of 6,000 vulnerable families in Gaza will be assisted by IOCC through a $750,000 grant from ARD, Inc. and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). With the blessing of His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, IOCC has also been reaching needy Orthodox families with the cooperation of His Beatitude Archbishop Alexios of Gaza. IOCC is assisting about 120 families to repair their damaged homes and is providing food and hygiene supplies to another 500 families who live near the Orthodox Church in Gaza. IOCC has also provided $150,000 worth of food, blankets and hygiene supplies through Action by Churches Together (ACT) International.


Georgia: Families Cope in Displacement Centers
(photo credit: G. Giorgadze/IOCC Georgia)
Five months after a devastating war, about 25,000 Georgians will not be able to return to their homes in South Ossetia. While some have been moved by the Georgian government into new housing, others must continue to live in cramped and temporary shelters. IOCC Georgia has been providing continuous assistance to thousands of displaced families throughout Georgia since the conflict began. Through a $200,000 grant by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), IOCC assisted over 4,000 individuals by providing stoves, fuel for cooking, bedding and winter clothes. The Georgian Orthodox Church, IOCC’s long time partner in Georgia, helped identify needy families. In partnership with the UN’s World Food Programme, IOCC is also providing food to nearly 5,000 families (about 16,000 individuals) in ten displacement centers and 13 villages affected by the conflict.

Lebanon: Activities Enrich Public School Students
(photo credit: M. Joulouyan/IOCC Lebanon)
IOCC Lebanon recently held "Children’s Day" in Beirut for more than 300 public school students from throughout Lebanon. Students participated in a number of activities including art lessons, talent shows, puppet shows, and theatrical productions. Older students were also instructed in how to organize events to bring about awareness of good citizenship. Public school students in Lebanon often come from low-income households and their schools lack funding to provide extracurricular activities that can deepen their educational experience. The Children’s Day is part of IOCC’s $4.7 million program, funded by USAID, to improve the learning environment and academic performance of students in 213 public schools throughout Lebanon. The University of Balamand and the Lebanese Ministry of Education are key partners for IOCC’s educational activities.
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