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Volume 7, No. 3WINTER 2004

Message from the Executive Director

His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou after the February 2004 signing ceremony formalizing a new partnership to fight HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. Photo: IOCC-Ethiopia

We’ve all heard the phrase “equal-opportunity employer” or “equal-opportunity lender.” The idea being that while society’s institutions — government, banks, corporations — cannot guarantee equal outcomes, they can strive to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. The same holds true in the field of humanitarian relief.

IOCC seeks to create opportunities for people who have been denied them by war, poverty, disease and natural disaster. We believe that people, given the right tools and skills, have the ability to not only recover from these circumstances, but to leave a better life for their children. What they need, then, is for someone to give them the opportunity to succeed, creating the conditions necessary for them to work their way out of poverty with dignity. That’s what it means to “help others help themselves” and “share God’s gift of economic self-sufficiency.”

In this issue of News & Needs, you’ll read about the ways in which IOCC creates opportunities for people in need around the world — the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and beyond.

In the West Bank, where unemployment is about 50 percent and freedom of movement is severely restricted, IOCC is creating job opportunities for adults and educational opportunities for their children. In the Republic of Georgia, struggling to overcome decades of central planning and state control, IOCC is creating opportunities for economic growth and entrepreneurship.

In Lebanon, where the flight of young, educated professionals is draining the country of its resources, IOCC is creating educational opportunities for students, so that they won’t have to leave to succeed. In the former Yugoslavia, where hostility among neighbors led to war, IOCC is creating opportunities for young people to be peacemakers. In Ethiopia, where HIV/AIDS has left 1.2 million children as orphans, IOCC is creating opportunities for a future filled with hope and promise for these little ones.

Now more than ever, IOCC needs your support to make these programs possible. Thank you for your commitment to IOCC’s vision of expanded opportunities for all.

Yours In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director

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