The idea for AEP was born in 2002 in the cafeteria of Radnor High School in Pennsylvania. Four sophomores decided they wanted to do a service project for students living in communities that were under-resourced and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Zambia. Founders Hillary Bridges, Sarah Hayes, Christian Mark and Julie-Anne Savarit-Cosenza sought the advice of their native-Zambian soccer coach at the time, Dave Chalikulima, and connected with his brother, Amos, a community leader in Kafue.
Within two years, AEP was registered as an official 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The founders started their work by shipping books, computers, school supplies and clothes to Kafue. After graduating from high school in 2005, they traveled to Zambia and learned that the community lacked an educational, creative and safe space to go before and after school.
In August 2006, members of AEP traveled again to Kafue, Zambia. With community leaders and youth members, the flagship Learning & Leadership Center was opened.
Photo: Julie-Anne and the local team in Zambia. The majority of the local team running the day-to-day operations and programs are alumni of the Learning & Leadership Center. © AEP