Literacy unlocks potential

We provide every child with the key so they can shine.

The need

Literacy levels in South Africa are notoriously low, leaving most of our children unable to reach their academic potential.

In addition, poor nutrition, dire living conditions and violence in communities distract effective learning. The high rate of repeating grades in the Foundation Phase dampens the learners’ self-esteem and weakens their motivation to learn.

Often, there is very little support for children at home with parents and caregivers being too weighted down by work-life demands and challenging socio-economic circumstances. Sadly, some parents also undervalue their own abilities to support children on their literacy journey.

Our solution

Through our context-appropriate, sustainable literacy support programmes, we are tackling the literacy challenge in South Africa.

We focus on Grade 2 and 3 learners to secure effective learning through the ability to read for meaning by the end of the Foundation Phase.

At the heart of our approach lies creating a culture of reading in schools and homes in our communities. We do this by training individuals, educators, communities and organisations in our methodology so that we may tackle the educational crisis together.

We transform children’s prospects in low-income communities across four provinces in South Africa with the help of youth, volunteers, donors and partners – who believe that every child deserves an equal chance to succeed.

Our Approach

(Theory of Change)

In South Africa, literacy levels are unacceptably low, and too many children do not fulfill their academic potential at school. If we deliver programmes that support literacy learning at home and school, we will help to increase children’s access to quality literacy learning opportunities and resources, and equip parents and communities to play an active role in promoting early literacy. This will result in more children reading and writing at an appropriate level and ultimately in improved educational outcomes.


Join us for read-along-stories on our new data-free mobile site

Our latest publications

Shine Literacy Mid-Year Report
Creating a Nation of Readers
Shine Literacy Annual Report 2021
Shine Literacy Hour handbook

The Shine Literacy Hour is an early intervention programme, giving support with reading, writing and language to children in Grades 2 and 3. Trained volunteers, work with one or two children at a time, providing a level of attention that is not always possible in the classroom. This Shine Literacy Hour handbook is a volunteer key resource explaining content, methodology and materials used during the Shine Literacy Hour.

To find out more about Shine Literacy Hour contact

Donate towards literacy

Help us Create a Culture of Reading in spaces where children live, play, learn and thrive. Literacy is essential as a means for transforming the futures of South Africa’s young and disadvantaged children as it will enable them to break an endless cycle of poverty. Help us support as many children as possible on their road to reading – commit to a monthly contribution or donate a lump sum.

Other ways to help

Sponsor a child

Through GlobalGiving and our #CCR @Home campaign, you can sponsor a child and keep updated on their progress. There is no limit to how many children you choose to sponsor.

Fundraise for us

Spread awareness and raise money for us by running a marathon, trekking through Africa, or crocheting non-stop for a week – whatever you enjoy!

Swipe your Myschool card

You can raise funds for us at over 1 500 partner stores by simply swiping your MySchool card. Just make sure to add us as one of your beneficiaries.


2006 – Maurita Weissenberg finalist in Woman of Worth
2008 – Reconciliation Award from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
2010 – Shine was one of 30 finalists selected from 89 countries for the prestigious WISE Awards
2012 – ‘Rising Star’ (Africa-Middle East) Award from the STARS Foundation
2013 – Outstanding Volunteer of the Year from SAIF awarded to Kathryn Torres
2013 – Silver Award from Impumelelo for Social Innovation

Each individual matters
Shine creates an environment which affirms a child’s importance.
Listen with respect and without interruption
The quality of our attention profoundly affects the quality of other people’s thinking.
Treat each other as thinking peers
We learn from one another, regardless of age or qualification.
Ease creates, urgency destroys
An environment that encourages children to work at their own pace facilitates learning.
Practice the art of appreciation
Be generous and genuine with praise and words of encouragement.