Shine’s vision is of an Africa in which every child can read and write. Their mission is to help alleviate poverty by tackling one of its root causes – illiteracy – among children in some of the poorest parts of Africa. Shine strives to empower children with the skills they need to escape the cycle of poverty into which they were born. They are working towards this goal by setting up literacy schools for orphans and vulnerable children within poverty-stricken communities.
Their current project is in Zambia, a land-locked country in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has a population of around 13 million. Zambia is a poor country, with the majority of its population living below the poverty line. Most of these live in poor urban shanties or ‘compounds’, which are neglected by the government. The vast majority of people living in compounds are illiterate. Shine’s current work is in one such community where their are helping to give the gift of literacy to over a hundred children through their first free literacy school, Shine Zambia Reading Academy.
Shine Zambia Reading Academy is different from other schools: it runs a free 2-year course focused on literacy and numeracy aimed at the poorest, most vulnerable children. At the end of the course children are expected to graduate, provided they have reached their prescribed literacy level. Shine then places them in formal education in nearby schools where they enter directly into Grade 5 and they pay for their tuition fees until they complete Grade 7.