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NGOs and literacy organisations

Centre for the Book

The Centre for the Book is an outreach unit of the National Library of South Africa. It is responsible for promoting a culture of reading, nurturing writers and their writings and encouraging publishing in all local languages, and promoting easy access to books for all South Africans. From time to time, the Centre conducts capacity-building workshops for budding writers, such as in creative writing, writing and illustrating for children, editing and manuscript development.

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Wordworks was established in 2005 with the aim of strengthening early language and literacy learning among children from historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. By sharing its materials, know-how and enthusiasm with teachers, parents, volunteer tutors and home visitors, Wordworks seeks to ensure that children can learn to read and write successfully and have fair opportunities to reach their fullest potential.


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The Centre for Education Rights and Transformation

The Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) seeks to make a positive contribution to knowledge creation and social transformation. It combines academic research with action learning, fostering educational change at the grassroots. The Centre’s work is anchored in the ideals of social, political and economic democracy; racial, class, gender and language equity; and diversity in knowledge creation, discovery and dissemination. It defends education and human rights and promotes transformative teaching and learning.

Clowns without Borders SA

Clowns Without Borders South Africa (CWBSA) is a humanitarian organisation dedicated to using arts-based interventions to improve the psychosocial well-being of children and families affected by crisis. Since 2004, CWBSA has provided emotional relief to over 210 000 beneficiaries through performances and arts interventions all around the world.

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The Shine Centre

Shine Literacy is an award-winning leader in Foundation Phase literacy innovation in South Africa. Since its inception in 2000, Shine Literacy has taken an entrepreneurial approach to tackling the country’s stubborn and unacceptably low literacy rates. Focusing on developing the reading, writing and speaking skills of Grade Two and Three children from low-income communities, Shine Literacy aims to support children to engage effectively with learning by the time they finish the Foundation Phase of schooling. 

The South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP)

The South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) is a Cape Town-based non-profit organisation that has been serving youth since 1994. It aims to empower people who are neglected by South Africa’s education system through tutoring, skills development, enrichment activities, support and mentorship. It runs seven education programmes at the early childhood, secondary school, post-matric and tertiary levels, including a capacity-building programme for educare centres and a bridging year for matriculants who need a second chance to access and succeed in tertiary education.

Persona Doll Training

Persona Doll Training (PDT), a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, has been working nationally since 2004. PDT’s vision is of a South Africa free from prejudice, where everyone experiences dignity and feels respected and included.

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ORT SA Cape’s diverse educational expertise enriches impoverished schools and communities in South Africa. It is part of World ORT, one of the largest non-governmental education and training organisations in the world. In line with the World ORT vision, ‘Educating for Life’, ORT SA Cape’s objective is contributing to the improvement of the quality of education in South Africa, where possible, using science and technology. In its efforts to achieve its objectives, the organisation submits regularly to external evaluations and seeks partnerships with other relevant bodies.


Etafeni has developed a model of a community-built, community-staffed centre serving vulnerable children and their caregivers in Nyanga outside Cape Town.  Based on attachment theory, Etafeni  works with HIV+ or otherwise vulnerable mothers and grannies in the Women’s Wellness programme and offers preschool and afterschool care to vulnerable children.  The centre has an organic vegetable garden, a nutrition programme, a mobile VCT and TB screening unit, a lay counsellor programme, a social work and community care programme and a programme for unemployed youth called Fit for Life, Fit for Wo