Literacy Foundations

Updated: May 4

Developing a love of reading and improving literacy across South Africa.

Do you have old children's books that you would like to donate or would you love to volunteer your time to a wonderful cause? We have put together a list of some charities & organisations who are doing amazing things for developing literacy and inspiring a love of reading in communities across South Africa. They are always grateful for donations to add to their school/community library collections & volunteers to help them to keep doing amazing things.

If you would like to make any donations to these charities such as books, furniture, funding or volunteering your time, please contact them directly to find out how you can help them - Click on the link for each foundation to link to their website or social media page.

Book donations should be in great condition - without scuffs, tears or missing pages. Please let us know if you have a charity or organisation that would benefit from being listed on our page.

Read Educational Trust

Illiteracy is one of our country’s most serious problems, stunting individual progress

and South Africa’s growth. READ is dedicated to bringing about change. Read Educational Trust is a South African NGO that operates broadly in the education and literacy sectors, specifically in educator training and the provision of school resources. Established in 1979 and funded by both local and foreign donors as well as the private sector, READ works alongside the Department of Education to implement teacher training

and literacy projects in schools.

Read to Rise

Read to Rise is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting youth literacy in schools in South Africa's under-resourced communities. As the name indicates, we firmly believe that children need to read in order to rise in their personal development and contribution to society. Children who love reading, excel at school and go on to become constructive members of society. It all starts with reading. We aim to address the troubling reality that young children in our communities are not reading as much as they require for their educational development. READ to RISE has designed programmes to directly address these root causes of poor reading levels.

Reader's are Leaders

Readers R Leaders is a community based organisation that operates in the areas of Westbury, Newclare, Coronationville and Bosmont. The organisation assists children to improve their English reading fluency. They operate entirely with volunteers and are currently requiring more volunteers to work with them.

Youth Potential SA

YOUPSA paves the way to awaken the creativity, potential and purpose of South African youth. It is a non-profit education project for disadvantaged rural youth in the Western and Eastern Cape Province. We bring education alive by igniting the inner spark in youth. When children discover their “spark”, they tap into their own unique talents and interests. Youth who have the ability to express their own personality and know what motivates them to do their best, develop into people who have a sense of purpose, empathy and social competence, who achieve higher academic performance and contribute to the well-being of their greater community.

The Bookery

The Bookery identifies schools that need libraries, and partners with them to build vibrant and well-stocked libraries for their learners. They seek funding to help cover the costs of setting up and stocking the libraries with a range of fiction, non-fiction and reference books with help from professional librarians. They also employ trained library assistants to care for and grow the libraries.

Do More Foundation

The Do More Foundation inspires collaborative partnerships to “create better tomorrows” for the young children of South Africa. The Foundation places the young child at the centre of their programmes and initiatives with the belief that if you can impact and uplift the life of a young child, you will in turn impact the household which will ultimately positively affect the community. Households and communities are therefore seen as their key developmental partners as they increase their capacity to better meet the needs of young children through projects directed at food security, youth development, economic development as well as specific early childhood development initiatives.

Otto Foundation

The Otto Foundation is an education-focused philanthropic organisation established in 2016. The Foundation aims to improve early literacy by fostering a love of reading, promoting access to books, and developing and promoting contextually relevant reading materials for South African children. ​Their strategic focus is a response to South Africa’s literacy crisis - ‘Progress in International Reading Literacy’ studies indicate that 4 out of 5 Grade 4 learners in South Africa are unable to read with comprehension in any language.

Paleng - Place of Stories

At Paleng Children’s Centre, the dream is that every young rural Basotho child has access to books to read. Picture storybooks in their mother tongue, Sesotho-Lesotho. Books that are about their own lives and contexts. Books that help to reinforce what is learned at school. Books that spark interest and give pleasure. Books that speak to their intelligence, imagination and sense of fun. Books that support every child’s right to be literate.

Funda Wande

Funda Wande is a not-for-profit organization that aims to equip teachers to teach reading-for-meaning and calculating-with-confidence in Grades R-3 in South Africa. We do this by hiring the best people we can find and work as a team to create high-quality materials, experiment with different teacher training approaches, and independently evaluate everything we do. Our materials and training are created in the languages that children speak and understand and are freely-available for anyone to download and use. Our programs and materials are all evidence-based, independently-evaluated, policy-aligned and cost-effective.

Book Dash

Book Dash is a South African social impact publisher of free books for very young children. Their vision is that “Every child should own a hundred books by the age of five”, before they enter school! To that end, Book Dash gathers creative professionals who volunteer to create new, African storybooks that anyone can freely translate and distribute. We employ our unique, 12-hour book-making methodology to create beautiful new books in just one day! Then, we share with the world, here on our website and in physical format for children to own. Research shows that owning books is a key factor in holistic early development and lifelong academic and economic success: the effect of owning books outweighs a child’s socio-economic status and is equaled only by parents’ level of education. By working together to increase book ownership among young children, we could effectively disrupt a cycle of inequality for good.

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