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NPO READ to RISE celebrates 10 years of inspiring children to read

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

On 18 September 2023 READ to RISE will celebrate its 10th birthday by giving 10,000 new story books – 200 new story books to 50 primary schools in Mitchells Plain and surrounds.

According to the latest PIRLS survey, 81% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa are functionally illiterate.

READ to RISE, founded in 2013, is a non-profit organisation that promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities in South Africa. “We hope to inspire children to read so that they can ‘rise’ above their circumstances.” says Co-Founder Athol Williams. To date, the organisation has conducted over 6,800 class programmes, placed 372 mini-libraries in classrooms and given out a total of over 300,000 new story books to children around South Africa – over 127,000 children have benefited.

READ to RISE has worked with Grade 2 and 3 learners at all 47 primary schools in Mitchells Plain over the last 10 years and does the OAKY Puppet Show at public libraries during school holidays to get children excited about reading. This year, thanks to the partnership with Origin Learning Fund, READ to RISE launched its pilot READ to RISE app for 1,000 children to help with reading and comprehension and digital skills.

Last year, READ to RISE received the award for Substantial Contribution to the Development and Advancement of Reading and Literacy by the Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sports. “We’re happy to be able to help the children especially in communities like Mitchells Plain where the learners and schools face so many challenges.” says Programme Manager, Roscoe Williams.

Over the last 10 years, READ to RISE has partnered with various sponsors to visit schools in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, North-West Province and KZN.

‘Today we celebrate 10 years of inspiring children to read! We thank all our sponsors, partners, staff, volunteers and supporters and look forward to many more years of getting children excited about reading.” says Taryn Lock, READ to RISE Co-Founder and Executive Director.

READ to RISE will also be hosting the third Cape Flats Book Festival on 4-5 November 2023 at West End Primary School in Lentegeur, Mitchells Plain. There is an amazing line up of authors this year including Patric Tariq Mellet, Sarah Isaacs, Mia Arderne, Chantal Stewart, CA Davids, Karen Theunissen, Baydu Adams, Yusuf Daniels, to name a few. There will be workshops, storytelling, a puppet show, booksellers, food stalls and prizes up for grabs. This annual book festival is great for both adults and children and is free to the public.

READ to RISE relies on sponsorships from individuals, corporates and trusts to conduct its class programmes. For only R50 per learner, he/she will benefit from the READ to RISE Class Programme and also receive a new story book to take home. Donate here.

For more information or if you would like to assist READ to RISE in promoting youth literacy, please visit or email

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