Since Craig Keeland’s first visit to Vilcabamba in 1991, he has had a special place in his heart for the children of Vilcabamba. One of the first things he noticed about the schools there was their lack of adequate school supplies and technologies to prepare them for a life in the ever-advancing technology-based world and the knowledge available to them through an online access to the internet. His first response was to reach out to his new found friend, Jaime Mendoza, a local Vilcabamba resident and leader in the community at the time, to inquire as to how they could best deal with the educational poverty plaguing the children of his community.
Jaime’s immediate reply was to form a foundation whereby these precious children of the Andes could receive outside help for their educational needs that had been overlooked by the Ecuadoran government due to their remote location, far from the capital city of Quito. Upon his return, Craig immediately contacted his long-time friend and business associate, Terry Minke and together with Mark Pedersen, world-renowned Herbalist & Author, they founded the Andes Children’s Foundation (ACF), naming Jaime Mendoza as its first director. ACF’s sole mission was the advancement and aid to the educational needs of the children of Vilcabamba through an association with the schools in the valley.