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Nonprofit Photography – The Otto Foundation

Nonprofit Photography: The Otto Foundation and The Liyabona Library

Creating space for children to read, study and dream

A few weeks ago, we collaborated with Eveline Gerritsen to photograph Holy Cross Primary School in District Six, Cape Town.

– Text by Alice Goodridge, images by Eveline Gerritsen

Last year, The Otto Foundation donated a library to Holy Cross school, named the Liyabona Library, to help them address their low literacy levels and provide an inspiring environment for the children to learn in. It was named after a grade one boy from the school who sadly died in a taxi accident. However, one month before the project was due to be completed, there was a terrible fire at the school that burned the newly built library, and the building that housed it, to the ground. The Otto Foundation are now working hard to create a new education space in the foyer of the school, but they are in need of further funds for resources. We wanted to offer them our support through providing them with professional photographs to support their campaign, and by sharing their story on our own platforms.

I spoke with Zephne, from the Otto Foundation, about the importance of the library and she said:

‘We believe in the importance of education, literacy and the desperate need to increase literacy levels. A library is one mechanism to kickstart the process of increasing literacy levels and creating safe spaces for kids to encourage reading, doing homework, and opportunities to dream through the availability of books and opening new worlds for kids – all in a safe and beautiful space. A library is not just a room with books and it won’t be functional without a phenomenal librarian to drive the process. We also believe that such spaces should be beautiful. All kids deserve to be literate and have access to safe and beautiful places.’

She informed me that ‘Phase One’ of the build is complete. With the help of designers from See-Saw-Do they have built bookcases and painted murals in the space. Books have also been donated by The Bookery and community members. However, they are in need of further funding to make the space soundproof, close up open spaces, build reading nooks, buy computers for e-literacy and build more bookcases. They are also hoping to collaborate with Shine Literacy to provide a Shine Centre – a reading program where volunteers will help children learn to read on a one on one basis.

You can donate here to help provide a safe and inspiring place for the children of Holy Cross to learn. 

The Otto Foundation is an organisation working to improve literacy within the disadvantaged area of District Six in Cape Town. The Liyabona Library is just one of their projects. You can find out more about their work on their website

To see more of Eveline Gerritsen’s work, you can view her portfolio here

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