It all started in 1992 when Grace was visiting Chwele for her brother’s funeral. While she was there, Grace had to take her brother’s daughter to a tiny, one small-room Dispensary to be treated for Malaria. The healthcare facilities in rural Kenya at that time left little to the imagination. Grace herself had suffered from pre-eclampsia during her pregnancies and it was then she realized how fortunate she was to have access to excellent health care in the United States.
Grace came to the realization that had she probably would not be alive today, had it not been for the excellent healthcare she received in the United States during her pregnancies. Here is her story from that day at the dispensary in Chwele:
TIGARD COMMUNITY FRIENDS CHURCH
In 1994, Grace and Paul’s church Tigard Community Friends Church began working with them on the various development projects in Chwele.They have been an invaluable support and resource for Grace and Paul’s cause by adopting the Chwele Community Development as one of their ministries.
Their generous administrative support has both amplified Chwele’s cause and reduced overhead expenses –meaning 100% of your contributions to directly to Chwele.
Since 1994, hundreds of volunteers have visited and worked at Chwele to help with:
- Solar power installation
- Teaching at the schools
- Clinical work
- Small business planning and advising
- Mechanical work
- Construction work
- Research projects by College students especially from OHSU
So What Have We Done So Far ? Here’s Chwele’s Chronology:
- 1995 Partnered with Hillsboro High School to deliver 35 computer to Vihiga High School in Western Kenya for a Computer Literacy program.
- Release of Harambee! Stories and Recipes from the African Family Circle cookbook by Grace Kuto
- 1996 Helped raise funds and facilitated construction of a community library at Teremi High School in Kenya (Paul Kuto’s elementary school)
- 1998 Raised funds and helped build Chwele Health Clinic with support of former Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R-Oregon) and former State Senator Avel Gordly (D-NE Portland)
- 2000 Officially opened Chwele Health Clinic
- 2001 Medical Teams International sent 40 ft. container of medical supplies and equipment to Chwele Medical Clinic; also installed solar power to the clinic by volunteer labor and expertise from the U.S.
- Co-Founded Harambee Centre, now serving communities in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in Africa
- 2006 Began Phase 3 of the Chwele Community Development Plan to create blueprint of architectural drawings for Chwele Friends Community Peace Centre.
- 2008 Release of revised copy of Harambee! Stories and Recipes from the African Family Circle cookbook by Grace Kuto to support the Chwele Friends Community Peace Centre
- 2009 Groundbreaking for Chwele Friends Community Peace Centre.
- Led trip to Kenya during summer with 11 volunteers to work at Chwele Medical Clinic and participate in local Chwele Community fundraising
- 2010 Construction continued on Chwele Friends Community Peace Centre
- 2011 Led trip to Kenya during summer and fall with 11 volunteers to work at Chwele Medical Clinic, specifically including: a college student conducting research for Colorado College, one advising on electrical wiring for the project, 1 teaching quilt-making to the local women, and 2 teaching and exchanging art projects and who plans to establish an art/culture exchange annual camp for middle school students between Portland and Chwele
- 2012 Stellar Yi led a group of 5 other pharmacy students and one CNA student from Oregon State University to a volunteer trip to Kenya during summer to set up a more complete pharmacy at the Chwele Health Clinic.
- 2013 More than 25 volunteers visited Chwele to help initiate the income generating programs at the centre and collectively celebrate the official opening the Chwele Friends Community Peace Centre.