BALTIMORE, MD – International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) continues its international humanitarian efforts as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Just in the first half of this year, IOCC has helped people around the world with:
More than more than 11,820 food kits distributed to families displaced in Syria; more than 160 health professionals from nine districts and 61 health centers in Ethiopia currently being trained on proper treatment and prevention of podoconiosis; 40 ICU hospital beds distributed to a community hospital in Tbilisi run by the Patriarchate of Georgia; hot meals, bread parcels, fruits and vegetables for 770 Lebanese vulnerable and Syrian refugee households were distributed through IOCC’s community kitchens in the Bekaa Valley and North Lebanon;
more than 15 volunteers assisted Missouri residents whose homes were hit by severe flooding; 40 Frontline volunteers participated in the Annual Frontline Conference to share lessons learned about providing spiritual and emotional care; more than 600 students a day at four schools are receiving healthy snacks in Athens; and non-formal education activities have been provided to 140 Greek and refugee children in Athens.
Father Evan Armatas said of providing education for Uganda, “In 2002, an idea was born in an Orthodox seminary dorm room that has blossomed into something far bigger than I ever could have imagined. My idea was to support the educational dreams of needy children in Africa. The Saint Nektarios Education Fund was created to reach out to any child because knowledge develops the human character in a way few things can. After years of successfully providing scholarships, it was time to do more.”
He continued, “Decades of hardship from civil war, a bad economy and an AIDS pandemic left 2.7 million of Uganda’s children orphaned and millions more with no education. The chance to pursue a secondary education was virtually out of reach for many of the country’s older children.”
“Since 2010, we have partnered with IOCC to build four schools in Uganda and open the doors to education and opportunity for thousands of children,” Fr. Armatas said.
“The schools are located in Lwemiyaga, Gulu and Butembe. For the children of Butembe especially, it was like 10,000 Christmas mornings to be given this kind of opportunity and school. The elders in the remote mountain village were desperate to welcome a secondary school. They saw the potential in their youth, but lacked the resources to nurture that potential into a better future for their children,” he added.
“We couldn’t have found a more willing, professional, and efficient partner to take our vision, understand it, and make it happen. We couldn’t have done it without IOCC,” Fr. Armatas concluded.
IOCC is as its slogan says, “Inspired by Faith. Driven by Purpose.” The organization, according to its mission statement “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. We envision that, by God’s grace, IOCC will enable those suffering and in need to continue to improve their own lives and communities and to have means to live with dignity, respect, and hope. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC and its partners have provided more than $600 million in relief and self-help programs to people in more than 60 countries. Current programs focus on emergency relief, agriculture and food security, education, health, water and sanitation, and economic opportunity in places including Syria, Greece, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, the Balkans, and the United States. 2017 marks IOCC’s 25th anniversary celebration.”
More information is available online at: www.iocc.org.