Message from the
|Volume 12, No. 3
An IOCC staff person recently traveled to the nation of Georgia to report on the plight of displaced families and how IOCC was assisting them. About 25,000 individuals were displaced from their homes as a result of the 2008 war in South Ossetia. She tells of walking into a school that had been converted into a makeshift shelter for about 100 families from South Ossetia, mostly farmers. As soon as the residents learned that she was a visitor, they immediately crowded around her, convinced that she had news of their farms or could tell them how soon they could go home. One woman came up to her and said, "Please tell them to stop burning our farms because we are willing to go back."
The sad truth for these families and tens of thousands that IOCC works with every day is that they will probably never be able to go home. As time goes on, they begin to accept the reality of having to start a new life in a new place, usually with few resources. As you'll read in our cover story, that's where IOCC comes in. Since 1993, when we started assisting those who had been displaced by the Bosnian war, to today where we work with Iraqi refugees and Georgian displaced persons, IOCC uses a comprehensive approach to helping these individuals build new lives; first, emergency supplies to help meet their daily pressing needs; counseling to help them recover from the effects of war trauma; education for children, which more than anything can give them a sense of normalcy; and vocational training for young people to help give them marketable skills.
You will also read about IOCC's new initiative that has provided millions of dollars in educational materials to the National Head Start Association. This is vitally needed now when public schools in low income areas are feeling the effects of the economic downturn.
IOCC Intern Ryan Erickson writes movingly about his time in Georgia and the resilience of Georgians to use their own tradition of hospitality to recover from the lasting effects of war. In Uganda, IOCC is working alongside the Uganda Orthodox Church to enable children who have been orphaned by a long-running civil war and AIDS to receive an education. And in Romania, IOCC's new program will work alongside the Romanian Orthodox Church to create more effective programs to reach the poor.
During these difficult times, your support means more to us than ever before, and we are working diligently to maximize the benefit of every dollar you contribute. IOCC's programs are only possible through your commitment to work alongside us to reach those in need.
Yours In Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO