The gift of learning to read opens up a world of possibilities. Not only are reading skills vital for educational success, reading exposes us to new ideas and enriches our understanding of each other. Reading encourages us to dream.

Unfortunately, young people in South Africa are not reading. There are a few reasons for this as Mignon Hardie of FunDza Literacy Trust explains: “Books are expensive. Public libraries are under-resourced and most school libraries are virtually non-existent.”

FunDza is focused on improving literacy, using the simplicity of mobile phones. They provide books and reading material that make South African teens and young adults want to read and get this great content to readers in innovative ways.

“The stories we create reflect the lives of young South Africans. We have 180 partners – schools, libraries and youth groups – with reading groups,” she adds: “We have created a free ‘library on phone’ and reach 50 000 young readers each month, with weekly fresh, local stories. We also provide a platform for aspiring writers to share their voice, get published on our mobi network and be read by their peers.”

The United States Library of Congress Literacy Awards has included FunDza in their Best Practices’ publication as a project that exemplifies ‘innovative and effective work in the field of literacy and reading promotion’.

FunDza has been included on the Nominet Trust 100 as one of the most inspiring examples of social tech innovation from around the world.

They are most proud of the positive feedback that they have received:

“Some would not believe that I started reading FunDza in 2012 and since then I’ve been connected. Fundza has helped me with my English. I now know how to write essays and stories and what I love about the stories is that I connect with them and I learn from them. THANK YOU FUNDZA for the poems, stories, plays, essays and for giving us the chance to write. I’ll always support you.”


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This is Mignon’s story of help. To find out how you can help:

Mignon Hardie – Cape Town
tel: 021 709 0688