Montevideo, Uruguay


Photographer: Tali Kimelman

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

“Gato peludo” – “hairy cat” – is the password that allows entry to Natacha Ortega’s house, the fourth one along a block in a working-class neighbourhood of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Saying it out loud opens the door to the mini-cultural centre Natacha has set up in her home where children of all ages come to listen to stories, write poems and play music. Orginally from Mendoza in Argentina, Natacha, 35, moved to Montevideo in 2004. Every day, before or after school, children come to her home for creative workshops or to read books in her library. Recent years in Uruguay have seen the government concentrate educational resources on poorer people. Parents of middle class families have turnd to out-of-school classes run by people such as Natacha to give their children the extra learning they think they need.