• Tell us about the history of your Organisation

Founded in September 2013, READ to RISE hopes to promote youth literacy in under-resourced communities in South Africa. Through our classroom programmes we hope to inspire children to read and give them access to the new, high quality reading books. Sadly, many children in our communities have never owned a book before. We believe book ownership can ignite a child’s love for reading so ensure each child gets their own new book to take home. We believe that children who love to read, will excel at school and go on to become constructive members of society. As our name says, we believe that reading is so important, and if you can read then you can rise above your circumstances. To date, we have conducted programmes in over 800 classes and given out over 51,000 new books to learners in Mitchells Plain, Soweto and surrounds.

• Which three words best describe your Organisation?

Passionate. Inspirational. Dedicated.

• If you could change only one thing about your Organisation, what would it be?

I wish we had sufficient and sustainable funding as we could inspire more children to read. Illiteracy is a major challenge in South Africa, especially in the under-resourced communities that we work in. More funding would allow us to offer more programmes for learners and we could expand to other communities in need.

• Describe what a typical work day looks like for you at your Organisation?

We visit classes in the Foundation Phase and have a fun, interactive 50 minute session with each class. We go through some lessons, read a story, discuss the story, give each learner their own new book, read the story all together and teach them a song. It’s heart-warming to see the children’s reactions. Our wonderful volunteers cover books in plastic and join us at school visits to read to the children.

• What is the one thing you wish members of the general public knew about your Organisation?

It all starts with reading! If a child cannot read, they cannot excel at mathematics or science, or go on to do great things. South Africa is better off, if all children can read. Our future will be brighter! Together, we can inspire more children to read.

• Describe the saddest moment you’ve experienced while at work in your Organisation

It is incredibly sad seeing learners using/sharing tiny pencils to write (so small that they struggle to even hold it to write!) or don’t have pencils at all.

• Apart from donating money, how can members of the general public assist your Organisation?

Individuals can volunteer to cover books in plastic or join us at a school visit in Mitchells Plain to read to children.

• Describe the happiest moment you’ve experienced while at work in your Organisation

There are so many happy moments, every time we give a learner their own new story book to take home their reaction is priceless!

• If you could say only one thing to the Community your Organisation serves, what would that be?

A community plays such as important role in a child’s life. Parents, teachers, principals, librarians are role models and must please encourage children to read, so that they can rise and be the best that they can be.

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