Project information

Improving Literacy - Improving Lives

Without the ability to read many African children struggle to access the most basic education. Without education there is little hope they will escape from poverty. We will provide good quality books, safe & stimulating libraries & trained staff to help children learn - and so leave poverty behind.

3 years

Charity information: School Aid UK CIO

School Aid UK CIO logo
  • Need


    Without the ability to read, it is difficult for South African children to access even the most basic education. Without education there is little hope for them to escape from a life of poverty.
    At age 10, 60% of S. African children are unable to read.
    Libraries are rare and teachers struggle to motivate their pupils with few resources. Many children are unable to access any books apart from those read to them during class and some will have never held a book, let alone read one.


    We will ship books, carefully selected to inspire interest, encourage enquiry and instil a love of reading, to S.Africa and Lesotho.

    These will be used to set up new libraries, offering disadvantaged children a safe and stimulating environment.

    Local people, trained as library assistants, will run literacy activities, enable easy access and manage the use of books.

    Helping children develop their literacy skills will help improve their education achievement and improve their life chances.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Support the improvement of literacy skills for children in South Africa and Lesotho


    » Source, sort and ship good quality, appropriate books to S Africa and Lesotho
    » Open libraries in S Africa and Lesotho
    » Run a programme of literacy activities in S Africa and Lesotho to encourage positive reading habits

    What success will look like

    Libraries will be open and active
    Increasing numbers of children will visit the library
    Usage of books will be monitored
    Literacy activities will be run on a regular basis

    Aim 2

    Establish locally-based, sustainable literacy skill banks in S Africa and Lesotho


    » Recruit and train local Library Assistants in S Africa and Lesotho
    » Train and mentor teachers to run literacy activities in schools and libraries

    What success will look like

    Library assistants will be recruited and employed in each library
    Training of the Library assistants will be undertaken
    Teachers and local volunteers will be actively engaged.

  • Impact


    Reading and literacy represent a long-term investment in the future of individual children and their wider community by enabling access to education.

    Our local project manager will provide regular reports based on observation and feedback from the library assistants, the library software and the school staff.

    These will address engagement in literacy activities and the development of positive attitudes to reading and learning.


    There is a risk of a funding shortfall but School Aid has a varied funding stream which reduces this risk. There is a possibility of a change of personnel in Africa for training and recruitment, but we are well -supported with a local team at School Aid South Africa. There is also some risk of delay in the resource shipment process but School Aid’s experienced network is very knowledgeable about this route and has partners in place for support.


    Donors will receive letters and regular reports of project progress via newsletters and social media. Major donors will receive a copy of the Annual Report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £17,400 Libraries Setting up two school libraries (including refurbishment, equipment, furniture)
      £2,100 IT support Providing computer equipment and software to enable book usage to be monitored
      £2,000 Books Sourcing, sorting, cataloging, shipping 6000 books to stock school libraries
      £1,725 Project Manager Library Project Manager to train and mentor Library Assistants
      £5,775 Library Assistant Provision of a three year stipend and expenses for two Library Assistants
      £1,000 Project Management Liaison between UK and Africa, monitoring and evaluation
  • Background


    Education in S.Africa is particularly difficult in the urban townships where schools are hugely overcrowded. In a country where youth unemployment is near the highest in the world at 50%, the cycle of illiteracy is carried on from parent to child.
    Lesotho is a mountainous country, completely surrounded by S.Africa, where 45% of the population are living in poverty. Schools are hugely under-resourced and only 20% of young people complete secondary education.


    Each library has the potential to directly benefit 800 African children each year, with further indirect benefits to their siblings, families and communities.

    The young people who will train as library assistants and receive mentoring when they begin their role working in the library will also benefit.

    In the longer term many more children will have access to literacy activities and books year-on-year, as well as the wider community who will benefit from improved educational opportunities.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    School Aid is a long established, highly respected charity working to improve educational achievement for African children.
    Since 1998 over 1 million books have been delivered to Lesotho, Tanzania, Malawi and S.Africa where 600,000 children have benefited from our books, libraries and the training of local educators.
    Our staff, volunteers and NGO partners ensure that resources are used effectively to improve literacy, support education and to give children a better future

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Janis Mowlam

    Chair of School Aid and Founder of School Aid South Africa, Janis has lived in S. Africa and Malawi and has a strategic overview of all programmes.

    Clare Junak

    UK-based General Manager, Clare heads the School Aid operation and co-ordinates all African projects and liaison with partners.

    Mike Makwela

    S. African-based Project Coordinator, Mike liaises with schools, recruits and trains Library Assistants, and manages library developments

    Adele Wilter

    UK-based volunteer, Adele provides training to staff in South Africa in such areas as management and data analysis

"mpho hae halaloe" everything that is given with good heart is always accepted, no matter how small it is

Bokang Cheka, Mateanong Primary School, Lesotho