The single-storey building is central to a 1,300m2 compound, accessed via an entrance on the south side. The building itself is arranged around an open courtyard; the small kindergarten and offices on the south side, dorm rooms along the east, toilets and stores to the west, and shared spaces (dining, TV room) to the north.
There are currently 60 children based at the orphanage, between the ages of 3 months and 18 yrs. This is more than the current facilities have a comfortable capacity for; there are 3-4 children per bed in some instances.
Most of the children are from the area west of Kilimanjaro. They are brought to Kao La Amani by the police or by social services and end up staying if the authorities cannot find a suitable family for them to return to.
The younger children attend the kindergarten, then attend Kao la Amani primary school once they reach the age of 5. Secondary school children are funded to attend a variety of schools in the wider region.
Several of the full-time staff live on-site, sharing rooms in cramped conditions.
The internal areas are less fit for purpose; many rooms do not have good natural lighting or ventilation. Several rooms, such as the TV room, do not even have an external window. This can make them uncomfortably hot and dark. Two dorms have no direct doors to the courtyard and must be accessed via another dorm.
Kitchen facilities are clustered in the open at the north side of the courtyard. The dining area is inside, again lacking good natural light or ventilation. The toilets are dark with only limited ventilation. Laundry is done in the courtyard, with informal drying space amongst the trees in the compound west of the building.
There is only limited external space for play. We have a slide and swings and there is an area to play soccer adjacent to where our school buses are parked.
The orphanage and kindergarten use around 1500 litres per day, which equates to 1.5x the capacity of our water tank. This normally comes from the municipal supply, but sometimes can run dry and we need to purchase it to be delivered by a truck.
There were no significant problems with the power supply. Whilst there are occasional power cuts it is not a major problem. Both internal and external spaces could benefit from more lighting.