The EAC (formerly the Kenya Kids AIDS Project) was started in September 2000 by our Founder and former Executive Director, Suzanne Wilson (formally Jeneby) to provide shelter and clothing to orphans living in a garbage dump outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Our organization has grown throughout the years to promote a proactive strategy of poverty eradication, aimed at supporting women and children, and keeping families intact.
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 began officially 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.
In February and March of 2002, we repaired wheelchairs for two paralyzed men in Takaungu, and arranged for the surgery of a boy with clubfeet from a nearby village.
In March 2002 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.
In August 2003, 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 2003, we started the Vutakaka Sewing Club to help local residents learn marketable tailoring skills, and in 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.
In 2006, 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 healthly practices.
We have accomplished so much in a short period of time, 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!
Please consider volunteering, or make a donation to the EAC. Thank you!