The Otto Foundation supports a number of impactful initiatives and projects that help our schools to offer holistic learning opportunities and remove obstacles to learning. Read more about these projects below.
Zonnebloem Feeding Scheme
The Otto Foundation established a school kitchen on the Zonnebloem Estate and is partnering with the Peninsula School Feeding Association to serve breakfast and lunch for up to 160 learners every school day.
According to the South African Child Gauge “extreme poverty and malnutrition compromise children’s cognitive development” - thus contributing to poor educational outcomes in South Africa. Research shows that school feeding schemes can “improve the nutritional status of children, improve school attendance, encourage learners to stay on throughout primary and into secondary school, and improve cognitive performance.”
The Otto Foundation is partnering with Music Works to offer their Creative Resilience programme at Holy Cross Primary School and Walmer Estate Primary School. The Creative Resilience Programme contributes to the psycho-social wellbeing of children living in under-resourced communities by providing safe spaces using dance, music and creative activities to help nurture their self-esteem and resilience.
The programme aims to help children to show increased self-esteem and confidence, learn how to express their emotions and regulate their feelings, develop relationships with peers through music-making and dance and develop agency in problem-solving.
Book Dash gathers creative volunteers to create new African storybooks that anyone can freely print, translate and distribute. Book Dash believes that every child should own at least 100 books by age 5. The Otto Foundation supports Book Dash by sponsoring story creation events, and by funding print runs of Book Dash books.
In 2018 and 2019, the Otto Foundation partnered with The Click Foundation to establish two computer centres with 40 workstations each at Zonnebloem Girls’ and Boys' Primary Schools. A full-time facilitator has been appointed to guide learners in using the available programmes and developing their computer literacy.
The centre is helping us to equip learners with 21st-century skills and helping educators to access online resources. In the foundation phase, there is a strong focus on promoting literacy and numeracy. For the intermediate phase, the focus is on maintaining and developing literacy and numeracy, whilst incorporating research, presentation skills and typing.
Our partner organisation, Community Keepers, offers on-site psychological and social services available to learners, educators, parents and guardians. The physical presence on the Zonnebloem campus and the long-term nature of the project allows psychologists and social workers the opportunity to establish continuing relationships and build trust.
The professional services provided by the Community Keepers staff assist in addressing psycho-social barriers to learning. By pro-actively tackling social concerns in partnership with the Zonnebloem educators, we ensure that learners experience the school as a safe, nurturing space and that they are emotionally prepared and enabled to make the most of their learning opportunities.
Teacher's Resources and Capacity Building
Being categorized as quintile 5 schools, Zonnebloem Boys’ and Girls’ Primary receive minimal support from the Western Cape Education Department. The schools are, however, not able to raise significant income from school fees. This means that the schools cannot afford to fund governing body positions, and class sizes have become unmanageable.
The Otto Foundation provides funding for two additional staff members at each school to reduce class sizes and enable the school management to broaden the range of extra-curricular activities offered.
In addition, we make available a teacher training and capacity building budget to the schools. Teachers and school management teams identify skills development that they would like to prioritise. The Otto Foundation then assists the teachers and school to identify suitable training opportunities, or continuous professional development initiatives identified by teachers or school management teams.
NEST Reading Room
The Otto Foundation created a reading and drama therapy room for the Zonnebloem NEST high school on the Zonnebloem College Estate Property. The room will host a great selection of age appropriate, locally and culturally relevant books - but will also host counselling sessions as well as intimate drama classes.