My overseas trips to IOCC field operations always renew my personal dedication to our mission. My recent visits to Lebanon, the Holy Land, Syria and Jordan clearly demonstrated to me once again that IOCC’s strongest attribute is its caring, professional and committed staff. Our country staff performed every function as IOCC Board Chairman Alex Machaskee, Board Member Anne Glynn-Mackoul, and I visited with local partners, government officials and church hierarchs. They explained economic and political realities, showed us every hospitality, and introduced us to beneficiaries and project partners. The Middle East is a very complex part of the world, full of centuries-old conflicts and sensitive dynamics between religion and politics. However, our staff know the people, the terrain, the political and economic realities, and the social and cultural norms. When a humanitarian crisis breaks out, they are able to respond in a timely and effective manner, and they set the criteria for who IOCC will serve and how it will deliver those services. No one can put a value on this kind of priceless expertise. As we continue to celebrate our 15th anniversary, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our field offices from the Balkans, to the Caucasus, to the Middle East and Africa. Your hard work, combined with your professional commitment, knowledge, and faith enable IOCC to continue to strive to fulfill its mission to serve Our Lord Jesus Christ and to minister to those people who are suffering and in need.
Constantine M. Triantafilou Executive Director and CEO
IOCC Board Chairman Alex Machaskee, Board Member Anne Glynn-Mackoul and IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou visit IOCC reconstruction projects in southern Lebanon.
IOCC Ethiopia has broken ground on a new medical clinic to be built in the town of Woliso. The program, made possible through a grant by the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, will provide for the construction of a mid-level clinic, the purchase of furniture and medical equipment, an initial supply of medicines, and the provision of the first six months salaries and benefits for the medical clinic staff. The project is a partnership between IOCC and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (DICAC).
IOCC Greece and IOCC Jerusalem have launched a program to improve the food security of five villages in the Qalqiliya region of the northern West Bank. The Qalqiliya area is almost completely surrounded by the West Bank Barrier. Unable to reach their farmlands on a regular basis (residents have to apply for special permits from the Israeli government), and no longer allowed to work inside Israel, such factors have contributed greatly to Qalqiliya residents facing a severe food shortage. Through a new grant from the European Commission Humanitarian Organization (ECHO) IOCC Greece and IOCC Jerusalem will assist approximately 300 families to provide for their food needs by improving the use of their land and livestock. IOCC will provide tools, seeds, and expertise to assist families in cultivating house gardens with the aim of providing up to 50% of their food needs. In addition, training will be provided for bee-keeping and animal husbandry.
IOCC has just completed furnishing the kindergarten in Hama, Syria. The aim of the project was to provide a safe place for children whose mothers have to work in order to provide additional income for their families. The project will also provide additional income for the Al Huda Association which will now be able to cover running costs for the orphans they care for. The project was completed in cooperation with the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. “We believe this program with IOCC will offer a pilot model of social service programs, and income generating projects that the Church is seeking to implement in Syrian society today,” says Samer Laham of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.