Eastlands Center (EC) began as a dream but now a reality. Since its inception in 2003 EC has been an oasis of youth empowerment and mentor-ship. From primary school pupils, secondary school students to those who have just finished school, this project has touched and transformed the lives of many, in turn changing the society. In 2004, EC started by containing primary school pupils who either needed facilities such as books, a tranquil environment to study and do their homework or assistive tutoring. This project proved beneficial and there arose a need to also include secondary students in the program. Later on through partnership with International Youth Foundation, ICEP and Microsoft Unlimited potential, the project was able to reach out to those youths who have just finished their secondary school education.
Thomas Raji from Strathmore University is a volunteer at the EC. He sheds light of what EC does in transforming the lives of the youth. This program helps to form people in the major areas including human formation, which basically entails helps one become a full human being; one is taught virtues such as prudence and temperance.
This type of formation is done through showing the participants videos then they discuss what they have gotten, through excursions and pep talks. This ultimately ensures the participant get mentorship and empowerment of the highest level and psychologically prepares them to step in and shape their own destiny.
The other area of formation is academic and professional formation where the participants are taught study skills, they get access to library materials and professionals are invited occasionally to talk to them, this leads to professional formation of the youths, who at times are still undecided on what they want to do with their lives. Spiritual or doctrinal formation is the last type, which teach the participants how to relate to God and how to become a saint in their lives or work. Priests from Strathmore University occasionally come to EC to give spiritual directions to anyone who needs their help. Through these types of formation, EC ensure the participant get a wholesome type of education and they become citizens we can be proud of and feel inspired whenever we see them.
Other activities that EC undertake are visiting the sick, the poor, homes for the elderly, and sporting activities such as football basketball, chess and scrabble. These are mainly done on the weekends and holidays. In 2006, the boys soccer club got a golden chance to go to Spain to get an experience of football after a successful tournament. Every third Friday of the month, EC shows a movie and sometimes on Saturdays after which they discuss its contexts and contents in relation to our daily lives. Meditations are also always done mainly on Fridays. Mr. Raji confesses that the achievement he has experienced in EC with an enthusiastic recite.
He says that he has seen young men who have lost hope and gotten into drugs but have changed after their experience here from the mentorship and support they have gotten and in turn they get a way to support themselves, families and friends.
Kiratu enumerates the rewards he has gotten from EC, Kuna tutors wako ready kukuexplainia kenye haujaelewa, hapa ninapata spiritual empowerment na pia space ya kufanya recollection. Nimeattend pia excursions, barbecue na pia kuna retreat.”
These, he says, has helped him change the way he perceived the world and his concept about life has completely took a turn for the better. He sums up by disclosing that he would wish to later to pursue Business management studies in the university and maybe start his own company and reach out to those people in need, he reiterates “since pia mimi na come from a humble background.”
EC is still determined to see even more lives transformed and change the society for good. We want to see a society where the youths are employed, youths who are God fearing. Youths we can count on and leave them with a task and be positive that they will accomplish it successfully without supervision. Youths who are always there for others and are willing to give themselves to the society. The leaders who lead today, not the ones waiting for tomorrow. Both Mr. Raji and Kiratu are glad they had an experience of EC and Mr. Raji passes out a message,” This place is open to everyone and all are welcome. You can come here for formation be mentored and get ready to seek help and get professional advice. “ Pauses a bit then with the final breath,” This is a great facility for you to grow”.