The EAC (formerly the Kenya Kids AIDS Project) was started in September 2000 by our Founder and former Executive Director, Suzanne Wilson to provide shelter and clothing to orphans living in a garbage dump outside of Nairobi, Kenya.
We have accomplished so much in the past decade, and it has only been possible with the steadfast support of hundreds of caring donors, willing to give of their time, money and talents - people who recognize that that the situation in Africa is difficult, but that it can be made so much better with the right kinds of community-based support.
We hope that you find our story inspiring and that it encourages you to get involved with our organization in some way. We would not exist without people just like you, who make a choice to care, and to do something to help a woman or a child on the other side of the world. We have seen first hand the joy and well-being our work has brought to so many. We hope you will be a part of it!
2001: The East African Center is Born
Through the Kenya Kids AIDS Project's work with orphaned children in Nairobi, Suzanne and the other volunteers of the KKAP increased their understanding of the problems facing women and children in Kenya and wanted to take a preventative approach by empowering families and helping to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Thus the idea of starting a community empowerment center was born, and the East African Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children was incorporated as a non-profit in December 2001.
After scouting out many possible locations for our new community center, we were given the opportunity to lease (at no cost) a tract of land in the rural village of Takaungu, in Kenya’s Coast Province. In January 2002, we conducted a participatory rural appraisal with the Takaungu community. This appraisal allowed the community to identify it’s needs and for us to begin planning our facilities and programs.
2002 - 2006
- We repaired wheelchairs for two paralyzed men in Takaungu, and arranged for the surgery of a boy with clubfeet from a nearby village.
- We established the first library in Takaungu at the Takaungu Primary School and began construction of the first permanent classroom of the Vuma Primary School.
- We began construction of the Vutakaka Community Center in Takaungu with the help of volunteers and workers from the local community as well as a cadre of international volunteers.
- We became a non-governmental organization in Kenya in July 2003, and in August 2003 we established the Vutakaka Self-Help Group (a registered community-based organization in Kenya), comprised of 20 local residents, to plan and oversee the operations of the Vutakaka Community Center.
- In November 2003 the Vutakaka Community Center officially opened, with a joyous celebration with all of the community, including a hearty meal, tree-planting and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
- In December we started the Vutakaka Sewing Club to help local residents learn marketable tailoring skills.
- January 2004, we began our nursery and primary school, adult education classes, after-school training, health education classes and health library, and the Farmer's Field School.
- We received funding to build a three-room health clinic staffed by a registered nurse, and to hire a team of 10 Community Health Workers to go door-to-door teaching the community about healthy practices.
2006 - 2010
- With a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the EAC acquired a 6.5 acre plot of land that enabled us to expand our school to grades 1 through 8.
- January 2008, the sewing program officially became its own cooperative with their own constitution and bank account.
- May 2009, we received 100 laptops from One Laptop Per Child and a grant of $10,000. The funds we received enabled us to bring electricity to the school.
- We began to teach HIV/AIDs prevention courses to hundreds of students in surrounding schools through our now popular Stay Alive program.
- Community Health Workers were once a month setting up children growth and monitoring days in neighboring villages as well as Takaungu.
- Teachers at Vutakaka pursue their Master's degrees.
- We are awarded our first in-country grant from the Nation AIDs Control Council.
2010 - 2013
- February 2010, the parents and community raise $3,000 for the EAC.
- We are awarded a grant for a water well that enables us to develop a sustainable farm that provides lunch for the 320 students at Vutakaka Junior School.
- The laptops remain a part of the everyday curriculum at the school.
- We build new, and much needed, toilets at the school with the help of the Rotary Club of Darien, CT.
To join us in bringing much needed services to a deserving population in rural Kenya, please consider joining us a volunteer or intern or by make a donation to the EAC.