READ Educational Trust received an Angel Network Award in conjunction with the Oprah's Book Club selection Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. READ Educational Trust (READ) has been operating as an independent, non-profit organization in South Africa for nearly 25 years. READ was formed after a group of Soweto high school students protested inferior education for black South Africans under the Apartheid government. With funds from private organizations, a group of committed volunteers began supplying high schools in Soweto with books.
The donated books only solved a portion of the problem—many students were unable to read and write on a high school level; teachers lacked the training to integrate the books into their curriculum. READ expanded its focus to include developing teachers' skills, training them to use the books to create a stimulating academic environment and promote student-centered learning.
Today, READ serves 1,600 schools in South Africa and develops materials and books for students and teachers in a variety of South African languages. Its mission is "to assist and empower people throughout South Africa to develop their reading, writing, learning, information and communication skills so that they become independent life-long learners." READ also coordinates the annual READ-A-THON, a national reading awareness campaign, which reaches 27,000 schools and over 11 million students.
READ works closely with South Africa's Ministry of Education, providing educator training to a variety of educational institutions. As an independent, non-profit organization, READ Educational Trust is funded by international government aid agencies and private and corporate funds. READ operates offices in all nine provinces of South Africa with outreach to K-12 schools, teacher training colleges and community libraries.
READ Educational Trust
National Director Cynthia Hugo
P.O. Box 30994
Johannesburg, South Africa