AUGUST 6, 2010 – Currently under SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas), IOCC will soon be functioning under the auspices of the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North & Central America, and is a member of ACT International (Action by Churches Together), a global coalition of more than 100 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and philanthropic advocacy.
Since the two airlifts to Russia, IOCC has partnered with many major philanthropic organizations in an effort to help alleviate human suffering throughout the world, providing supplies and relief to other poverty-stricken regions like Mexico, Albania, the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Kosovo, Georgia and other former Soviet Republics.
And the Rangos Foundation has continued to provide IOCC with unwavering and ongoing support, to include educational programs for minority children and sustainable agriculture projects in Kosovo; emergency assistance for farming families devastated by catastrophic fires in Greece; and emergency assistance and lifesaving pharmaceuticals for survivors of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.
Emergency Health Kits for Haiti
In March of 2010, the Rangos Foundation underwrote an emergency medical shipment to Haiti from IOCC.
When seasonal rains were aggravating the humanitarian crisis caused by the earthquake in Haiti, the populace was at increasing risk for mosquito-borne infectious diseases like malaria. In response to the urgent health needs of the Haitian people – many of whom are still without adequate shelter since the earthquake struck in January of 2010 – IOCC provided more than $350,000 in emergency health kits with basic medicines, consumable medical supplies for surgery and wound-care treatment.
Temporary shelters took up most open spaces in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Many of those shelters are composed of materials scavenged from homes and buildings which were destroyed. Most of these shelters do not provide adequate protection from the rain or the elements, much less protect people from mosquito- and water-borne diseases. So proper sanitation and protection were primary concerns for survivors to prevent further loss of life.
The medical shipment to offset this terrible threat to public health in Haiti was underwritten through a $25,000 grant from Rangos Foundation. The airlift of medicine and medical supplies to Haiti was the second such shipment by IOCC that month.
It was also part of a larger effort by Medical Teams International, an IOCC partner, to provide up to 20,000 people with basic medical assistance. The shipment included medications to treat malaria.
As the Haitian people continue the long process of recovering from the devastating temblor, IOCC’s efforts focused on providing medical assistance and projects aimed at improving public health conditions. IOCC has also provided water purification equipment, sanitation equipment, wheelchairs for the disabled, health promotion projects in some of the makeshift encampments for the homeless, and an ambulance for transportation of the sick and injured.
IOCC provided more than $2 million in assistance to Haiti. Its efforts in Haiti were also supported by gifts from Orthodox Christians, including hundreds of parishes who have contributed financial support, as well as hygiene kits. IOCC received more than $44,000 from His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos on behalf of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA, a vicariate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which, in turn, is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople.
Economic Development in Kosovo
In June of 2008, the Rangos Foundation provided a challenge grant for IOCC’s economic development projects in Kosovo, matching every dollar contributed to IOCC Kosovo projects up to $50,000. That initiative helped IOCC expand its aid projects in Kosovo by creating a matching gift program. It spurred IOCC’s total response of $500,000 for isolated rural communities in Kosovo and aid to some of the approximately 225,000 people who have been displaced from the region since 1999.
“We needed to provide a sustainable response to help families secure economic prosperity and a future for their children,” said IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. “The Rangos Foundation’s support for that project was vital. It provided new opportunities to assist families in Kosovo, and to avoid further displacement of people in the Balkans. It made a lasting difference for families in Kosovo, and we’re just so thankful to Mr. Rangos for his leadership in extending that grant.”
Funds contributed to IOCC for Kosovo go towards providing immediate assistance to families who are living in isolated minority enclaves. IOCC is also expanding efforts to provide sustainable agricultural training and other projects that provide employment and foster inter-ethnic cooperation. IOCC’s initiatives also provide assistance to schools and create educational and recreational programs. IOCC, which has provided assistance in Kosovo for the past 17 years, continues to work with local community groups and the Serbian Orthodox Church, including the Visoki Decani Monastery.
“Regardless of what has happened around them, the Brotherhood of the Visoki Decani Monastery has demonstrated true compassion for their neighbors of all backgrounds and ethnicities,” Mr. Triantafilou said. “We continue to work closely with the Monastery and local partners in the region toward an inclusive civil society that will provide lasting solutions.”
Aid to Greek Farmers Struck by Massive Wildfires
In September of 2007, the Rangos Foundation gave IOCC $200,000 to help Greek farmers affected by devastating wildfires which razed hundreds of villages, left thousands homeless and killed scores of people in the Peloponnese.
That grant helped IOCC provide 250 metric tons of animal feed to farmers who lost their grazing lands to the wildfires, which scorched more than 600,000 acres and 4.6 million olive trees. IOCC focused on providing animal feed because the wildfires decimated pastures, leaving nothing and nowhere for their animals to eat.
“It’s impossible to overstate the damage that was done to Greece by those fires,” Mr. Rangos said. “But as Orthodox Christians in America rose to the occasion during the crisis in the Soviet Union and civil war in the Balkans, we united our efforts through IOCC to respond to our brothers and sisters in Greece in their hour of need.” The Rangos Foundation’s gift helped some 800 small and subsistence farmers with smaller animals (goats, sheep) and large livestock (donkeys, horses, cattle) in the provinces of Ileia and Arcadia receive multiple distributions of feed, some of which was delivered directly to farmers in isolated mountain villages who were unable to reach distribution centers. IOCC staff found those small and subsistence farmers with the help of local Orthodox priests.