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Project information

Reading Leaders: Youth Leaders for Literacy

To empower unemployed township youth into community role models, developing them into leaders in literacy by training them to provide one-on-one reading help and reading clubs to primary school learners in township schools, whilst simultaneously growing their professional experience.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: help2read

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  • Need


    The Literacy Tutor (LT) programme is tackling the literacy crisis in South Africa where 78% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning. This comes with a high cost as low educational attainment is seen as the principle driver of youth unemployment, with estimates of 67% of township youth unemployed. Illiteracy is highest in disadvantaged communities with overcrowded classrooms (up to 50 children) & a lack of reading resources, where teachers are not able to provide one-on-one attention


    Unemployed young people in townships are trained as Literacy Tutors to support primary school learners in their communities through one-on-one reading help and reading clubs. The LT Programme aims to improve the learners' literacy skills, while developing the youth's employability, personal and professional skills. Thus, we match learners with committed & trained Tutors to simultaneously address the foundation of problems of poor academic achievement, unemployability and poor economic growth.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Harness the power of youth as community assets, role models & agents of change for young children


    » Encourage capable, literate youth to recognise their value as assets to the community and their role as leaders, changemakers and role models
    » Develop the skills of youth to act as Literacy Tutors equipped to implement reading help and literacy development programmes
    » Provide an added opportunity for growth for LTs to gain professional experience in operating Reading Clubs

    What success will look like

    # youth recruited, trained & engaged in personal/professional development, providing one-on-one reading help & delivering reading clubs

    Aim 2

    Provide ongoing skills development, regular mentorship &supervision to enhance LTs' career prospects


    » Ensure Literacy Tutors receive a variety of skills development and training opportunities in both hard and soft skills to improve employability
    » Develop life skills and exposure to world of work to enhance ability to successfully engage in interviews and secure employment
    » Provide career guidance and opportunity identification to ensure appropriate career pathways are pursued
    » Help youth complete a “My Journey to Work” record, showcasing their training and development, and supporting efforts to secure employment or support

    What success will look like

    # youth demonstrating success in securing ongoing career and/or employment prospects, e.g further study or employment

    Aim 3

    Support the improvement of literacy levels in primary school learners attending township schools


    » Use trained LTs to provide one-on-one reading help during morning school sessions
    » Provide age and stage appropriate reading resources for classrooms that LTs can use with their children

    What success will look like

    # primary learners in the programme & average improvement in scholastic performance & reading levels

    Aim 4

    Build family and school-wide literacy and an active culture and love of reading


    » Train LTs in the creation and operation of Reading Clubs: safe, educational and recreational spaces open to the whole school
    » Provide reading & recreational activities to children and invite parents & caregivers to workshops on fun ways to engage children with reading at home

    What success will look like

    Successful establishment of operational reading clubs incl # children, parents and teachers benefiting from them

  • Impact


    Enhancing the employability of unemployed youth through personal&professional development, as well as developing literacy & reading skills for primary learners are both enduring gains that provide sustainable benefits, improvement to quality of life & greater access to future opportunities for both target groups. The key indicator for learners is improvement in literacy skills. For LTs, indicators include successful securing of future work/study opportunities & improvements of hard & soft skills


    The primary risks are financial: youth need to earn an income in order to retain them in the LT programme. Therefore, funding for their stipends needs to be secured each year. Furthermore, the schools we work in do not have the means to pay for our services, but the learners do need our support. Solutions include long-term financial support and partnerships with NGOs and the private sector, such as Lightsail who's online library has thousands of (e)books across a wide range of topics and genres


    We will post a end-of-year report on the Big Give. In addition, all donors are encouraged to sign up to our newsletter and read our monthly blog posts reporting on our achievements. Furthermore, annual reports and customised donor reports are available upon request.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £168,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £34,800 Training Literacy Tutors Training LTs: Trainer, Venue, Material costs
      £112,800 Stipends Literacy Tutors Stipends for 95 LTs of R1980 per month per LT
      £12,960 Stipends Senior LTs Stipends of 8 Senior LTs - R3000 per month per Senior LT
      £980 Reading Resources Literacy skills development books & games
      £650 Reading Clubs Reading clubs led by LTs open to whole schools
      £690 Recruitment LTs Recruitment and Criminal Checks LTs
      £2,590 Area Supervisor LT Area Supervisor
      £2,530 Programme Staff Travel Programme staff travel/support costs
  • Background


    The funding is needed for running our LT programme in township communities throughout the Western Cape & Gauteng, where we work in under-resourced and overcrowded schools where teachers are not able to provide one-on-one attention to struggling learners & youth have little access to opportunity. The average age of a first-time job for township women is 29, youth unemployment rate is 67% and there is little infrastructure nor libraries supporting the development of literacy & a culture of reading


    Our main beneficiaries will be the 20 young people per township we work in, as well as the primary school learners they reach through the one-on-one reading help sessions and reading clubs (around 300 through one-on-one sessions and 700-1000 through reading clubs per township). The young people benefit by being provided with personal and professional development training and work experience. Primary school learners benefit by improving their literacy skills, academic achievements and confidence

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 12 years of experience providing literacy skills development & reading help to more than 17,500 children from disadvantaged communities. Independent results show an increase of 14.4 months in reading levels after 7 months of contact time. Our LT programme has adapted to the specific needs & constraints of township communities and has already given over 200 youth access to opportunity whilst also building the skills of children: a powerful example of asset-based community development.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Lynn Campbell

    Lynn is the Managing Director of help2read, who will ensure the overall effective implementation of the programme

    Smangele Mathebula

    Smangele is Regional Programme Manager for Gauteng who makes sure RLs are properly equipped and able to impact the lives of the children positively .

    Melody Volmink

    Western Cape Relationship Coordinator who ensures that the interests of all participants are served & that RLs are supported in performing effectively

    Mlungisi Mfekhetho

    Mlungisi is a previous Literacy Tutor who now is an Area Coordinator who provides support to trainee RLs ensuring smooth operation of the programmes.

help2read - The Gift of Literacy


will provide a child with one-on-one reading sessions by a trained Literacy Tutor for a whole month

“Grow a love of books and you will break the cycle of poverty and unemployment.”

Michelline Davids is a Literacy Tutor at Wes-Eind Primary School, and one of the young people enrolled in the Literacy Tutor Programme in 2018.