Flooding the country with books
We believe that every child should own a hundred books by the age of five.
Few South African children own books and this contributes to very low literacy levels country-wide. Low literacy levels carry a huge cost to the economy. Studies show that improving levels of book ownership from an early age is a low-cost, high impact way of addressing the problem.
However, existing publishing models are not designed to create affordable books for all.
Book Dash designed a publishing model that harnesses professional creative volunteers to vastly reduce the time and costs involved in creating beautiful new books for children.
1 Book creation
Children in South Africa need more books, but they cost too much when purchased from traditional publishers. The cheapest books have no publisher – then the only cost is printing. The Book Dash model condenses the traditional publishing model, which stretches over many months, into a 12-hour day based entirely on volunteer time, skill and passion. Because the participants are all volunteers, we have none of the costs that publishers traditionally have to incur. So our volunteers do the work of publishers in a single day, and the books created in this way are their gift to the world.
2 Book Dash team
The Book Dash team works to ensure effective organisational management, responsible use of funds, mutually-beneficial partnerships and a considered advancement towards our vision of every child owning one hundred books by the age of five.
3 Free online library
All our books are published here on our website, and people all over the world read them for free with the children in their lives. We also publish the books to our free Android app. Our books are also featured on the digital platforms of other organisations like Freekidsbooks.org and Storyberries, with thousands of people reading them every day.
The open license means that anyone can adapt and re-share the books to reach more children all over the world.
4 South African translations
Young children should be read to in their home language, so many of our books are available across the eleven official South African languages, and we raise funds to continue creating new language versions of existing books.
5 Book printing
Book Dash seeks funds to print the books we create, to move towards our vision of every child owning one hundred books by the age of five. Funding partners and donors get more books for their bucks because of low origination costs, the open license and the economies of scale at which we print.
6 Funding partners
Our loyal funding partners support our vision by sponsoring events, translations, print runs, distribution and more with their energy, money, products and other resources.
7 Book distribution
Book Dash books are distributed directly to children and caregivers through partner organisations in the literacy, early childhood development and health sectors. Our local, high-quality books underpin and enhance the literacy aspect of the work they do. To date, we’ve worked with over 200 organisations to get books to children.