Illiterate adults living in disadvantaged communities of Cape Town are given a second chance with the help of Mustadafin Foundation’s Adult Literacy Programme. Community members are encouraged to face their fears and become confident, independent citizens through the power of literacy.

Non-profit organisation, Mustadafin Foundation’s Adult Literacy Programme has for the past 28 years enriched community members’ lives with the gift of literacy. Operating in Delft and Sherwood Park, the programme instils a sense of belonging; most of the participants are aged between 17 to 60 years and over the past three decades the programme has seen over 1000 adults taking ownership of their lives.

One such gentleman is 29-year-old Caleb Floris from Sherwood Park. In Grade 1, Floris fell behind on schoolwork due to illness. Albeit an A in mathematics, he struggled to keep up with reading and writing. He enlisted in the Foundation’s programme in February 2015 and since then, have witnessed tremendous growth with a newfound passion for learning and life in general. Currently employed in the city, he wishes to finish his matric so that he can apply for a better position.

“During the past year and a half, I have grown a lot! I am focussing on myself to be the best version I can possibly be. Being an illiterate young adult has affected me quite a bit. I was not able to read basic information and had to ask people for help; not everyone is that helpful,” says Floris.

“Illiteracy is, unfortunately, a reality in our communities,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director of Mustadafin Foundation. “People don’t speak out about not being able to write or read, which keeps them back in life with no opportunity to grow and little hope to become self-sufficient. We are continuously encouraging the youth and the surrounding community to read and write on a daily basis as this will empower them.”

The programme takes place every week, for up to four hours at a time at the Foundation’s centres in Delft and Sherwood Park. The programme starts with a six-month pre-abet (Adult Basic Education and Training) course, which is equivalent to Grade R to 3. Students can then move on to abet classes, the equivalent to Grades 4 to 6. They can then also complete their schooling up until Matric.

“Mustadafin has helped me so much; I have learnt that it is up to myself to become a success and that nothing should hold me back,” says Floris.

Johnstone-Cassiem mentions that it is encouraging to see how these young adults and even elderly is tackling the programme head on. “Some of the older group members are now able to do basic administration and help out with children’s homework, something they were not able to do previously,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

Mustadafin Foundation is calling on residents to assist the programme. If you are able to help out with funding or if you would like to find out more information, contact Mustadafin Foundation on 021-633-0010 or visit Join their Facebook page at