Tuesday, November 11, 2008

EAC Christmas Cause Walk and Holiday Bazar for Vutakaka

I would like to invite you all to The East African Center’s 1st Annual Christmas Cause Walk and our Annual Holiday Bazar!

The Cause Walk is a great opportunity for those looking to create a new Christmas Day tradition for their families, as well as those who don’t celebrate the holiday and are looking for something fun to do on the 25th!

All proceeds raised from the event will go towards building a new classroom at the East African Center’s Vutakaka Junior School in Takaungu, Kenya. To prepare for the event, simply fill out the registration & sponsorship forms. All are welcome! So help spread the word & join us in making a real difference this holiday season.

WHO: Anyone interested in establishing a new Christmas Day tradition with their friends & family

WHAT: A walk benefiting the East African Center’s Vutakaka Junior School in Takaungu, Kenya.

WHERE: Green Lake Park (check-in at Green Lake Community Center), Seattle, WA

WHEN: Christmas Day (December 25th) at 12 noon.

WHY: To capture the season’s spirit of giving and togetherness, by helping those who need it most.

Are you hoping to get a head start on this years holiday shopping? Looking for a one of a kind gift for your loved one? Then please join us at our new University District office for an afternoon of shopping, gorgeous products from our sewing cooperative & holiday cheer!

WHAT: An afternoon of fair trade shopping & yummy spiced cider! All proceeds will benefit the EAC's efforts in Takaungu, Kenya.
WHEN: Saturday December 6th from 10am-4pm
WHERE: Our new office- located in the gray house immediately north of the rear entrance of the UW bookstore's University District location. (Behind MJ Feet, in the ally between Bartells & The U Book Store on the AVE). Look for the Red & Green Balloons!

Our 2008 goal is to raise the funds necessary to build one new classroom for the students of Vutakaka Junior School in Takaungu Village, Kenya.

Hope to see you there!

Emma Nierman

The East African Center for the Empowerment of Women & Children

Director of Education Programs . enierman@eastafricancenter.org . 425-681-2459

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Welcome to the Vutakaka School blog!

Dear Future Sponsor:

The Vutakaka Junior School in Takaungu, Kenya opened its doors in January of 2004, offering nursery level classes for 60 children. In 2005, due to extreme demand for quality education in the area, we expanded our school to include a 1st grade class. Every year since, we have added an additional class of 30 students. Today we offer kindergarten through 5th grade cases to over 175 pupils.

We are thrilled with the progress our students are making and know with the completion of our school these children will have the necessary skills and education to continue on to quality secondary and tertiary programs. Unlike other schools in the Kilifi District which have upwards of 200 students in a single class, the Vutakaka Junior School maintains small class sizes and adequate resources and classroom materials. Each student is provided with textbooks and all teachers receive continuing education.

Last year, with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the EAC acquired a 6.5 acre plot for a new school near our current site. With the generous help of our donors we have built three new classrooms on the land and are very excited to continue construction with the help of additional funding. Our goal is to raise the $20,000, needed for the construction of two new classrooms by the end of next year.

In the meantime, classes are moving forward and the students of Vutakaka continue to rely on your generous sponsorship. Your donation of just $285 will fund one student’s education for a full academic year. This donation covers the cost of school fees, a complete uniform, shoes, books, school supplies, a lantern (to study with at night), a backpack, comprehensive health care services, and a nutritious daily lunch.

Research has shown that when girls are educated they marry later, have fewer children and higher incomes. The general nutrition and health of everyone in the community improve, and the risk of contraction of HIV is reduced. We are proud that our school is not only increasing the opportunity for education, but providing the highest quality education available in our area. The EAC is confident that given the opportunity, these children, boys and girls, will be agents of change in their communities for generations to come.

Thank you for helping the EAC save lives, build bright futures, and transform communities.

Emma Nierman

Director of Education Programs

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Close of School Day

Another semester has come to a close and we sent the students off with a bang! Attended by parents and other members of the community, the celebration started with a performance by the drama club! The play, "Multiple Choice" was written by three interns from The New School in New York and directed by our primary school teacher Mr. Sanga. All their hard work and practice paid off because the play was well received by the other students, their families and the community members attending the event.

Next, a group of students performed a local Giriama dance and one of our adult education students recited a powerful play about the challenges and importance of educating girls in Eastern Kenya. A local karate group demonstrated their skills for the audience. Before the student achievement awards were announced, the volunteers and interns performed a dance they choreographed for the students to a popular song in Kenya, "Anita". The volunteers and interns had been working with the students for months through the school and health center and were happy to make them laugh on their last day of school!

Class test results were announced and the top 3 scoring students and the most improved student from each class were called to the front to be recognized and given a prize. Their scores and averages are competitive with some of the best schools in Kenya and far surpass the scores of students in the local public school. We hope to be able to reach out to more of the community as the school grows and offer as many students the opportunity to take advantage of this education as possible.

To end the day's events, Vutakaka's new Girl Guide (Brownie) club performed an induction and flag raising ceremony that was lead by two representatives from the Mombasa Girl Guide chapter. Girl Guides "offers girls and young women opportunities to learn and develop as people and to participate fully in the welfare of their communities". The representatives attended our close of school event and remarked how impressed they were with the school, the teachers and the students. We feel fortunate to be able to offer this group of girls this opportunity!

As the close of school day ended, parents thanked teachers for their influence in their child's life and the EAC for bringing this school to their village. We here at Vutakaka thank you for making it possible and continuing to support these students as they work to expand their opportunities through education and by getting involved in school organizations. See you September! View more photos in our Close of School Day photo album.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Game Day at Vutakaka!

The much anticipated Game Day was held after the last finals were taken and just before the last day of school. The day was the perfect opportunity for the students to celebrate their successful semester and to bond with other students and teachers. This year was especially exciting! Teachers divided all students from KG1 through STD4 into four groups. Each group wore their team color on a ribbon tied on their wrist.

Students representing their team took to the tracks, sometime in sacks or tied to the leg of their friend, to challenge each other in a series of events. The teachers took their turn and raced a relay run around track with their students cheering them on! Other events included a long jump and even a dance competition. The day was full of smiling faces and laughter! Check out the Game Day photo album!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Vutakaka Hosts World Population Day

In 1968, World leaders proclaimed that every individual has the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. But since then, lack of access to information, and social and religious pressures have prevented the realization of this right for hundreds of millions of women. World Population Day exists to recognize, reaffirm, and celebrate the right to plan your family. On this day each year, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) offices throughout the world enlist the help of local organizations to promote awareness of family planning. This year the East African Center’s (EAC) Vutakaka school grounds in Takaungu was chosen as the site for the World Population Day celebration.

Family planning is a major issue in Takaungu and the surrounding area. Religious and traditional beliefs put pressure on families to grow large, creating strains on the overall health and educational and economic opportunities for the family. The event was attended by hundreds of residents from the community, local chiefs, and district officers.

Vutakaka staff and volunteers, with administrative help from Germany-based health group DSW, the Maria Stopes organization, and the Takaungu public dispensary staff, assisted women seeking family planning counseling. Another 445 individuals were treated for general health issues, and 26 people took part in Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV/AIDS (VCT). UNFPA also provided free anti-malaria drugs, anti-biotics, and contraceptives which were administered throughout the day. Acrobats, actors, dancers, and musicians also performed to entertain and educate the crowd.

The EAC is honored to have been chosen for this event and grateful to help promote the right to family planning and health in Takaungu! For more photos, visit the World Population Day photo album. Learn more about UNFPA and World Population Day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Becoming a sponsor

Dear Future Sponsor:

We are so glad you have decided to join our efforts in providing a better life through education and community development in Eastern Kenya! Student sponsors will receive personal email and post mail updates and photos with information about the individual student they are sponsoring. These updates will include a picture at least once a year as well as health and academic evaluations of the students. Sponsors will also be able to follow along with the activities at Vutakaka on the school's blog and have access to the Vutakaka photo albums both which are updated regularly.

We realize how important it is for sponsors to keep in touch with the students and make every effort to communicate with sponsors throughout the year. If you feel a special connection with one of the students, for instance if they are a Girl Scout and so is your daughter, please indicate to us that you would like to receive information about that specific student (or those specific students if you are sponsoring more than one student).

Thank you for making this effort! Your support is appreciated by those of us at the EAC and invaluable to the students of Vutakaka.

There are 3 ways to become a sponsor of a student at Vutakaka:

Please choose between a monthly donation of $23.75, a yearly donation of $285, or a one-time donation of $285 to sponsor a student.

  1. Donate online
  2. Print, fill out and mail the sponsor form below
  3. Call 425-681-2459 to pay by phone

Please feel free to email us at sponsor@eastafricancenter.org with any questions!


If sponsoring by mail, print and fill out this form, address envelope to EAC at PO Box 95703 Seattle, WA 98145. If paying by check or money order, enclose payment with payment form. (no form is needed when completing sponsorship online).


I would like to sponsor _______ student(s) by donating $285 each year for _____ year(s)

I would like to sponsor _______ student(s) by donating $23.75 each month for _____ year(s)


Name________________________ Phone_____________________



Do you want to receive more information, pictures & correspondence from your child or children as the school year progresses?

YES____ NO_____

Would you like your sponsorship to automatically renew year to year?

YES____ NO____

Would you like to sponsor a specific student?

YES____ (indicate name(s) below and we will send you information about the student(s) you have listed) NO____ (we will send you information about the individual student your money is sponsoring)

_________________________ _______________________ ________________________


Check or money order: ­­­­____ Credit Card: ___

Type of Credit Card: ____________________

Credit Card Number: _____________________________

Expiration Date: ___/___ Sec Code: _______

Signature: _______________________________

PLEASE CALL US WITH ANY QUESTIONS or to give your payment details over the phone: 425-681-2459