Project information

Literacy for life, for livelihoods, for good

The ability to read can transform a life, a community, a nation. Literacy is the foundation of learning. It is central to understanding of and participation in the world; unlocks doors to opportunity, encourages active citizenship, enables prosperity, promotes democracy. We aim to erase illiteracy.

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information


help2read logo
  • Need


    In South Africa more than ¼ of Grade 2 learners cannot read a single word and more than 80% of Grade 5 learners have not mastered reading. Shocking statistics that have a massive impact on employability, prosperity, democracy, development. Many children come from homes that are so poor with hard working parents travelling long distances and so not having time to instil a love of reading or money to spend on books. Library access is also limited. This does not help promote a culture of reading.


    help2read’s reading help & literacy skills programmes are run at over 60 public primary schools in suburbs and townships, providing consistent one-on-one attention from a dedicated Reading Helper. But we have to reach more children if we are to erase illiteracy. In 2017 we are expanding not only our volunteers and tutors. We are building partnerships with teaching institutions, children’s homes, caregivers etc. to train them in our methodology and spread its application farther and wider.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To engage 750 new volunteers, reach 70+ schools / 1,500 children with our reading help programme


    » » Volunteer recruitment & training: recruit and train that at least 750 volunteers are fully trained in the help2read methodology, how to implement it
    » »Volunteer match & monitoring: ensure that volunteers are matched with the right children (temperamentally, age, gender etc.) to maximise success
    » Volunteer resourcing: provide access to Reading Resource, age and stage appropriate books, writing materials, stickers and literacy games that volunte

    Number of volunteers engaged throughout the year, training / support sessions; number of sessions with learners; academic progress achieved by the 2,000+ children receiving help

    Aim 2

    To train 50 Literacy Tutors to increase reach & benefit of our method for literacy in young children


    » » Recruit and train 50 Literacy Tutors to support 600 children learning to read in primary schools in township communities where volunteers don't go
    » » Further develop the skills training programme for Tutors to increase their employment options and skills
    » » Implement a comprehensive employment & professional skills development programme supported by internship and/or work placement or further study

    Number of tutors engaged, developed & supported; number of learners they help and the performance they achieve, number who successfully find employment on completion

    Aim 3

    To train 12 new partners to increase reach & benefit of our method for literacy in young children


    » » Partnership identification & training + full year of support work to enable programme implementation in their organisations
    » »Training of Trainers & provision of support materials to facilitate their ability to reach at least a further 1,000 children in their circles of care

    Depth and breadth of partnerships, number of caregivers / teachers they train; number of children they reach, improvements in children's performance

  • Impact


    Our work is premised on the fact that a child who cannot read cannot learn, be employed, contribute economically or establish a sustainable livelihood. We intervene at an early stage to help primary school children benefit from their education. South Africa’s public schools are overcrowded with one educator to a class of more than 40 learners. Not surprisingly struggling learners cannot be given the individual attention they need. Our success will be evident in educational achievement.


    Typical risks are those associated with relying on volunteer engagement especially when a programme calls for consistent attention throughout a year. We believe our volunteer support efforts assist, including additional training, support worker mentoring and regular contact, helps manage this risk. In the tutor programme the risk is that tutors will drop out of the programme if they find work. Paying a stipend and assisting enhance the future prospects has helped us reduce this risk.


    help2read provides comprehensive reporting of impact to donors that covers scholastic performance of learners measured by regular volunteer assessments as well as formal school results and that includes feedback from schools, learners, learners’ parents, volunteers, tutors and support workers.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £100,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £19,605 Readers & Reading helpers Recruitment, advertising, interviewing, criminal record checks, school engagements etc
      £9,885 Training & Materials Literacy Training in help2read methodology; ongoing skills development courses; training materials /
      £21,255 Support worker activity Support workers time, travel, assistance to volunteers, schools, educators and tutors; regular engag
      £11,455 Learner resources Book Boxes: readers, educational materials, literacy skills games, writing materials and creation of
      £14,070 Literacy Tutor Development Professional development and employment skills workshops; community book clubs, Monthly stipends
      £8,640 Project management Field staff to train and support volunteers and schools, reporting
      £8,810 Administration Governance, Reporting, Accounting, Auditing, Overheads
      £6,280 M&E Impact evaluation; Learner, volunteer & tutor performance tracking & assessment
  • Background


    South Africa’s literacy levels have been described as “a national catastrophe and a disaster for the country’s economic growth”. The 2011 Progress in Reading/Literacy Study shows SA’s children are up to two years behind international literacy standards. Economically the divide between rich and poor has worsened since the start of democracy, much of it a result of inferior education which starts with literacy. This has to be address to develop South Africa’s potential and protect its future.


    help2read’s beneficiaries are children from disadvantaged and poor communities in South Africa who don’t have access to quality education or reading resources as well as young adults who are literate, educated but unable to find employment. Importantly, our programme enables adults from more advantaged backgrounds to give back and support the countries development, enabling active citizenship and building community cohesion.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    As sister charity to Beanstalk UK, we haves a long track record of performance. Our unique approach works exceptionally well, often providing the only one-on-one attention children from impoverished communities get. We believe our methodology is profoundly simple but effective and that if we can expand its reach through partnerships, our impact will continue to grow. In the last 10 years we have reached over 12,500 children. With your support we can reach 15,000 at least in the next 5 years.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alex Moss - Chairman And Founder

    London businessman inspired when a Beanstalk volunteer who saw the need for similar support in South Africa and introduced the programme in 2006

    Tamzin Ractliffe - Director, help2read UK

    Founder of GreaterGood South Africa, designer of many giving campaigns, Tamzin has wide experience of crowdfunding & using challenge funds

    Mandy Trevor - COO, help2read SA

    Over 9 years in literacy development in South Africa and a track record of performance in project implementation and service delivery with help2read