Beulah Thumbadoo

Ashoka Fellow
South Africa,
Fellow Since 2001
Beulah Thumbadoo & Associates


This profile was prepared when Beulah Thumbadoo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Beulah believes that reading remains a key to national advancement and individual growth. Past efforts to combat illiteracy and aliteracy (lack of interest in reading), which affect nearly 90 percent of South Africans, have been piecemeal and ineffective. Beulah's organization, Everyone's Reading in Africa (ERA), is producing high-quality adult education products and programs, including the Book Box - a portable library of easy-to-read texts for youth and adults. It has also created an African Language Series with forty original stories in ten languages, and hosts an annual short-story competition. After a long and tireless campaign, Beulah has convinced the national Minister of Education to declare 2001 the "Year of the Reader" and to heed the call for a national strategy on reading.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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