Kaya means home in Swahili and is the name of the communal building which provides a safe place to live for those suffering because of HIV/AIDS. Kaya is in north-west Dar es Salaam. 

Reverence for Life UK has supported this project by:

  • Providing the funds to purchase a plot of land and buy building materials. 
  • Designing the architecture of the building and providing architectural drawings.
  • Making a scale model of Kaya to show to the builders before construction.
  • Purchasing a truck to transport volunteers and materials to the site.
  • Fundraising for the installation of solar panels and a water pump.

Work started on this project in 2011. In 2015, the first residents moved into the completed building. 

The culmination of the project is a building designed in harmony with its surroundings. Percy Mark, the former chair of Reverence for Life UK and an architect, designed the building using the principles he had learnt about building in Africa from Schweitzer in Lambarene. For this reason, Kaya is a long narrow building to maximise cross ventilation. It is orientated on an east-west axis so that the low morning and evening sun hits only the short end walls, whilst the long walls can be shaded from the high, hot midday sun by an overhanging roof. The roof is hollow and open at the eaves and ridge to allow for air circulation. The rooms are high to allow the hot air to escape at the highest point. The roof makes maximum rainwater collection easy and effective. 

Central to the design is a shaded open terrace that stretches along one side of Kaya. This is where the residents socialise and eat. Kaya also has a communal kitchen plus toilets and showers with running water heated by the solar panels on the roof.

Kaya provides a safe and comfortable place to live. It has become a place to gather for the local community and a location for the members of VALITA to hold meetings to run the charity.


Reverence for Life UK is a registered charity in the UK. Charity No.1197043
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