South Africa



Adult Learners Being Reached

(318 women, 112 men)



Literacy Classes/Communities

Operation Upgrade is the oldest literacy NGO in South Africa. It was founded in 1966 with the active leadership of Frank Laubach, founder of Laubach Literacy International. Based in the city of Durban, Operation Upgrade emphasizes native language and English literacy within the context of varied community and institutional structures, including rural villages, impoverished townships and workplaces. Most of the learners are women, managing single-parent home situations, who desperately need help. Many are affected by HIV and AIDS

Operation Upgrade teaches adults to read in indigenous languages such as isiZulu and English. The learner curriculum includes human rights, gender equality, project planning, local government, workplace matters, childcare and family health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, domestic violence and many life skills such as getting proper ID, using a bank, applying for employment, wise buying and more. With the help of a growing network of trained community facilitators throughout the country, the organization shows people that basic education which includes literacy and numeracy, family health, food security and income development will give them hope and a future

"We have to talk about the issue so we can protect ourselves. If we don’t spread the word, people will keep on dying. We have to end the stigma, and we have to end the deadly silence.”

–Pinky Lebajoa, Operation Upgrade Literacy Facilitator, on the importance of literacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS