East African Children's Education Fund
The East African Children’s Education Fund, known as EACEF, is a not-for-profit organization founded by a group of high school students in October 2007. EACEF is student-staffed and operates as a fully independent 501(c)3 public charity. EACEF seeks to improve educational environments in East Africa by constructing school buildings and implementing learning programs. Having raised in excess of $250,000 dollars, EACEF is the largest independent student-run nonprofit organization in the United States.
EACEF exists to create and promote educational opportunity for academically gifted, economically disadvantaged children in East Africa.
Originally focused in Central Province, Kenya, EACEF has now expanded into Western Uganda. In both countries, EACEF engages in programs ranging from the promotion of English-language literacy to the development of inter-community relations. EACEF strives to create environments conducive to learning in every aspect of its outreach: through implementing the Nafasi Process, infrastructure initiatives such as the construction of fully equipped classrooms, libraries, kitchens, and latrines help to accommodate the everyday necessities of the students. Programs tailored to the needs of the students and teachers alike were also designed to ensure the efficient use of the new buildings. EACEF instills academic encouragement in communities that face educational hardships and believes that the first step to prosperity is proper schooling.
The Kirimara Project represents the first trial run of the Nafasi Process. Astounding improvements were achieved in both the lives of the students and their performance in the classroom through the unique combination of infrastructure improvements and enhancement programs.
The Chania Project seeks to replicate the successes achieved at Kilimara under the Nafasi Process. Located in Nyeri, Kenya, the school serves the children of destitute migrant laborers and squatters.
The Shalom Project is EACEF’s first venture into Uganda. The school will serve a population long neglected in the wartorn region of Western Uganda.
EACEF grew out of a realization on the part of its founder, Andrew Sugrue. In March 2007, he traveled to Kenya on an endowed exchange program through The Westminster Schools of Atlanta. Traveling throughout the country, Sugrue visited schools where libraries consisted of a single shelf with four or five books under a leaky roof. In contrast, the children who called these makeshift quarters their schools often exhibited academic potential and, given the chance, could greatly benefit from a decent education. Sadly, the Kenyan education system allows only the top fifth of school-age children to advance to high school; only those who receive the highest marks on the English-language KCPE exam are admitted. Many children living in rural communities unfortunately do not have the materials necessary to learn English, leaving them incapable of passing an exam in a foreign language.
Inspired, Sugrue returned home with the dream of addressing these inadequacies. With the help of visionaries like Scott Hawkins of the Mount Kenya Academy (MKA) Foundation, Kemi Nix of Children's Literature for Children, and Charity Mwangi, the Founder and Director of MKA, EACEF took form. Based on its mission of promoting opportunity through education, EACEF seeks to ensure that every student has the chance to live up to their potential. By providing educational support from furnished classrooms to school meals, rural children in East Africa will have the opportunity to go on to high school and to college. EACEF continues to grow with its first project at Kilimara Primary School outside of Nyeri, Kenya, now completed. EACEF intends to extend this successful design through itsnewly developed program, the Nafasi Process.