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A mother and daughter-in-law duo started an incredible initiative to raise literacy levels in South Africa. It takes a village to raise a child, so Sarah and Lauren Bradfield created an online one — Book Village!


Johannesburg, South Africa (23 March 2023) — In a society where apps have become more and more individualised as they are common, Sarah and Lauren Bradfield decided to do something different, uplifting and inspiring.

Aiming to better literacy rates in South Africa, the mother and daughter-in-law duo teamed up to put not only their skills, but the skills of the world to use in uBuntu spirit with ‘Book Village’.

“82% of children cannot read for meaning by the end of Grade 4 – but Book Village is changing that!”

After volunteering for many years teaching and reading to children in underprivileged South African schools, Sarah and her daughter-in-law Lauren (a teacher) decided to create their NPO. Sarah shares that she found the problem  However, they took things a step further by coming up with a solution that connects live tutors to children in overcrowded and under-resourced schools. The goal? Teach as many children how to read as possible by using volunteers from all over the world.

They’ve partnered with an app development team, BASALT technologies to create a unique and innovative solution to under-resourced students.

“The beauty of this app lies in its simplicity – any literate adult from any corner of the world can log on from their phone or laptop during school hours, even if it’s just for 20 minutes or a single reading session with one child. There’s no minimum or maximum number of sessions you can join. You can literally change a child’s entire world without getting out of your pajamas.” — Book Village.

Book Village not only facilities the volunteer-student connections, but also provides digital infrastructure for low-income schools.

“The children log on to their tablets in school (provided by Book Village), and they get the one-on-one attention they so desperately need while learning how to read. And they have fun while doing it!” – Book Village.

With over 1800 children already helped and over 75 volunteers on board, the concept continues to grow and add value to the lives of both students and volunteers.

“Thank you for teaching me to read. I enjoyed your books and I enjoyed reading your books,” a learner from Cosmo City Primary shared at the end of last year.

Book Village shares that the volunteers love participating in the sessions too. Monica from all the way Belgium says:

“When I signed up as a volunteer I’d never heard of Book Village so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The sheer joy of hearing smiling voices as the learners grew in confidence took me by surprise. I keep arriving late for work because I want to fit in just one more session.”

All volunteers are trained and facilitated by Book Village. For more information on what a session looks like, check out this video:

Do you want to help change the world? You can sign up to become a volunteer for Book Village here.

Sources: Book Village 
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Literacy and Literacy.

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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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