South African
Literacy Crisis

Our mission is to ensure that every South African child has access to books.

Literacy impacts every aspect of life, from filling out a job application to reading a medicine label to understanding a warning sign. Literacy is vital for breaking the cycle of poverty. Libraries for Literacy aims to break this cycle by promoting literacy and ensuring that every school-aged South African child has access to age-appropriate books.

92% of South African public schools don’t have functioning libraries

4.7 million South Africans are totally illiterate

Only 51% of children complete secondary school

78% of 10-year-olds can’t read for meaning

More than 58% of South African homes don’t contain books

In the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, South Africa scored last out of 50 countries

South African vs. USA School Libraries

Percentage of Schools with Libraries

South Africa



South Africa's Legacy of Apartheid

Percentage of Students Graduating High School.

Black students


White students

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development...Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize their full potential.

Kofi Annan