In celebration of our tenth anniversary, Architecture for Humanity is embarking on a fundraising campaign to support our chapters, grow the Open Architecture Network and bring critical design services to more communities in need. With your support, we can harness the power of the last ten years to make an even greater impact in the next ten years. Join us.
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We’ve gathered a growing collection of letters from some of the many individuals and organizations who have helped give a voice to designing a more sustainable future. We will be featuring a new letter each month throughout the year.
Dear Architecture For Humanity,
I first heard about Architecture for Humanity at the Aspen Institute in July of 2006 when I went to hear Cameron Sinclair speak about the organization’s work. He was personable, engaging, and left quite an impression. The following winter I made my first trip to the Nyaka School for AIDS Orphans in rural southwest Uganda. The school, was founded in 2002 by Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, a remarkable young man who was moved to open the school to address the plight of AIDS orphans in his village. While I was there, Jackson told me of his hope to open a second school in his father’s birth village and I immediately thought back to Cameron’s lecture.
At the encouragement of a friend, I wrote to Architecture for Humanity and told them about our plans for a second school. I explained how we were a small NGO but had successfully created one school and wanted to use the same model to expand and build more schools to educate as many orphans as possible. Our goal was to design a school that could be easily replicated and also to help build local capacity by involving the community in the building process.
Needless to say, we were thrilled when AFH agreed to take us on as clients. Within a few weeks, Matt Miller had accepted the challenge and was on his way to Uganda where he would spend the next six months. He conducted a needs assessment of the site and determined how to use local materials and primitive, “flintstone” technology to build the school. Matt was our MacGyver – figuring out innovative ways to site and build on top of a very steep hill in an area with no roads or electricity. He learned to use banana fiber in every creative way possible! His hard efforts and the support of the local villagers allowed us to build what is undoubtedly the best-constructed school in rural Uganda.