Volume 15, No. 3
Summer 2012
Mesafent and co-worker Meneychel trim leather into custom-made boots. Through your support of IOCC, this shoemaker training provides much needed footwear to podoconiosis sufferers and much needed skills for these young men to earn a steady income. (Photo credit: Jake Lyell/IOCC)
Without the money to pay for an advanced education, Mesafent, 21, could only dream about attending college as he eked out a living shining shoes for a few dollars a day. Working in cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church-Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC), IOCC recruited Mesafent and five other street vendors into a training program that took them off the streets and into a workshop making sturdy custom leather boots for thousands of impoverished Ethiopians recovering from podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease that affects the feet.

The current staff of six shoemakers, ages 21-35, cut, stitch and sole a dozen pairs of boots a day, and are earning enough to support themselves and their families. "I am twice blessed," says Mesafent. He explains that his new shoemaking skills not only help podoconiosis sufferers realize their dreams of pain-free walking, but also provides him with sufficient income to pursue his own dream of earning a college degree.


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In This Issue

From Struggling Street Vendors To Valued Shoemakers

Helping Our Neighbors Near and Far

Immunizations For Greece's Most Vulnerable Children

Bosnian Entrepreneurs Nurture Post-War Prosperity

Georgian Youth Trade Troubled Pasts For Promising Futures

The Light of Christ Illumines All

Leave A Legacy Through IOCC’s St. Basil Society

Parish Reps Make A Difference!

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