Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council Success Story

Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council Success Story

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council has always been aware that the condition in which people live determines their health, well-being and ability to engage in gainful employment. This is the road to eradicating poverty and hunger and it can be done through global partnerships for development.

In 1987, GOAC organized a program called Hope in Action (Helping Other People Everywhere) which assists those in developing countries. Dr. George Christakis was commissioned by the Archdiocese to make an extensive study of the health and nutritional status of the Orthodox in Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya. As a result, the Kenya Project came into being, a pilot program which sent a 25 member team of young adults to Laipipia, Kenya to serve as construction and medical teams in collaboration with the government of Kenya. The construction team helped build housing and water wells. The medical team was composed of two doctors, two nurses, a dentist, and five medical students who set-up clinics in the area.

The program was so successful that it evolved into the current Orthodox Mission Team Program. During the summer months, short-term volunteers who are doctors, educators, construction workers, engineers, carpenters and students assist communities with various projects around the world. They travel to Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon Chad, Albania, Poland, Slovakia, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guatemala, and Madagascar where they offer their expertise in establishing medical and dental clinics, construct schools, restore and build churches, help develop agriculture and build water wells. They teach, build, nurture and heal. They work in collaboration with the local governments and United Nations agencies.

In Calcutta, India they assist with medical outreach to needy children and adults and with education at the Orthodox orphanage which houses street children. Homeless children are fed daily and as well as impoverished families, the elderly and disabled people.
In Uganda, GOAC volunteer health professionals treat mostly tropical diseases including malaria, leprosy; TB and secondary infections from aids at the medical clinics they have established.

In Romania, GOAC volunteers offer seminars and counseling at the Protections of the Theotokos Infant and Mortality Center which helps prevent child abandonment and nurtures the bond between mother and child.

In collaborations with the International Orthodox Christian Charities, and Church World Service, nine women in Taybeh West Bank were trained in honey production, which they mastered so well that they became trainers of other women in other villages. The education and the needs of children were addressed as well by repairing and expanding the villages Orthodox School and building and equipping a library and computer center. The women purchased 19 sheep through donations and expanded their business by making their own cheese and yogurt . They hope to break into the European market.
In Guatemala, teams offer assistance in classroom activities and help with renovations and maintenance at the Hogan Rafael Ayou Orphanage which welcomes orphans and abandoned and battered children

These programs have been very successful in meeting the needs of people in difficult circumstances in economically underdeveloped countries with the help of global partnerships

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