“All it takes is a spark, which becomes a flame which turns into the fire needed to bring about change.”

— ROS TOERIEN

“All it takes is a spark, which becomes a flame which turns into the fire needed to bring about change.”

— ROS TOERIEN

Our Story

Once upon a time in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal, two friends connected with a dream – to uplift education in South Africa through the power of books and literacy. Aptly summed up in the quote ‘Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can’, The LEARN Project (Let’s Educate A Rainbow Nation) was founded by Ros Toerien and co-founder Lucy Pienaar in 2012.

Building bridges and breaking educational barriers one school library at a time is the result of a collaborative effort from our LEARN power house team, as well as volunteers, donors, schools, and companies, all committed to bringing about the change inspired by LEARN’s vision.

Our story is one that continues to unfold as each new chapter opens new doors of opportunity for learners and educators through whole school transformations, as libraries and classroom book corners are established, creating a culture of reading and a literacy-rich environment conducive to learning.

We are passionate about the work that we do and are encouraged by the positive changes we are seeing.

Who we are today

Meet the team

CEO, Founder and Trustee

Ros Toerien

Ros Toerien is a mother of three and qualified teacher. She holds a Bachelor Of Education and has a heart for children and a love for teaching.

Ros Toerien is a mother of three and qualified teacher. She holds a Bachelor Of Education and has a heart for children and a love for teaching. Ros is passionate about educating our rainbow nation and is proactively realising this dream. She lives by the motto ‘Small actions lead to big change’ and is the visionary behind the works of The LEARN Project.

Ros has been a guest speaker at a number of events and was awarded The Paul Harris, Fellows Award ‘in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world’ by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. She was an invited guest at the Pinetown District Department of Excellence Awards, having had the honour of handing out awards to top achievers for literacy excellence. She has worked closely on The Presidents ‘ Reading Champion Programme’, having been asked to train, monitor and evaluate reading champions and library assistants for the Pinetown and Umlazi Districts.

Co–Founder and Trustee

Lucy Pienaar

Lucy is a mother, businesswoman and sports enthusiast, having completed a number of cycling races, often to raise awareness and funds for The LEARN Project.

Lucy is a mother, businesswoman and sports enthusiast, having completed a number of cycling races, often to raise awareness and funds for The LEARN Project. She is determined to ‘be part of the change we wish to see’ and believes that at the essence of change and its positive impact is education.

Lucy has played a key role in our partnership with Umngazi River Bungalows and the Transkei rural schools we assist.

Trustee and Book Processor

Fiona Emanual

Fiona joined the LEARN team as a volunteer in 2013 and is our longest-standing volunteer to date.

Fiona joined the LEARN team as a volunteer in 2013 and is our longest-standing volunteer to date. She is a driven, efficient and highly valued member of the team who assists with everything from processing books to time given in setting up new libraries and book corners. She is now a LEARN Trustee, contributing significantly to the work that we do.
LEARN Librarian

Lyn Cutter

Lyn is a qualified librarian with over 25 years’ teaching and library experience.

Lyn is a qualified librarian with over 25 years’ teaching and library experience. She is a wealth of knowledge for all things literary and library-related and has been instrumental in devising and implementing our LEARN teacher, librarian and library monitor training courses and manuals.

Lyn is a hard worker who works miracles in our LEARN office, processing thousands of books in preparation for each new book corner and library.

LEARN Administrator

Cathy Robertson

As an administration whizz, Cathy is organised and efficient in her approach.

As an administration whizz, Cathy is organised and efficient in her approach. She works alongside our sponsor HRTORQUE as well as Bright Marble Accounting to keep our books up to date and finances in order.
LEARN Graphic Designer

Jennifer Makepeace

Jen has been with LEARN since its inception in 2012 and was the creative mind behind our LEARN logo.

Jen has been with LEARN since its inception in 2012 and was the creative mind behind our LEARN logo. She shares in our vision and her meticulous approach to each and every task and project leaves a stamp of excellence that we are proud of. Our newsletters, website, course material and posters are just some examples of her beautiful work.
LEARN Illustrator

Julie Smith-Belton

Julie is a talented illustrator who designs and creates our Proudly South African LEARN illustrations for charts and posters, as well as for manuals and books.

Julie is a talented illustrator who designs and creates our Proudly South African LEARN illustrations for charts and posters, as well as for manuals and books.
LEARN Ambassador and Librarian

Nomfundo Mthethwa

Nomfundo is a committed teacher and Librarian at Kasturba Gandhi Primary school,

Nomfundo is a committed teacher and Librarian at Kasturba Gandhi Primary school, having trained on our LEARN Librarianship course and doing us proud by winning KZN Librarian of the Year at the KZN Department Of Excellence Awards. Her school library, established by LEARN, also won KZN Library of the Year in 2017. She proudly represents The LEARN Project at literacy-related events and workshops and helps train and mentor other LEARN librarians.
LEARN Representative

Wiseman Njeke

Wiseman started as a volunteer at Ekuthuleni Primary School, assisting learners struggling to read and working in the school LEARN library.

Wiseman started as a volunteer at Ekuthuleni Primary School, assisting learners struggling to read and working in the school LEARN library. As an avid reader himself, he led the school’s reading club, offering reading sessions before school, during breaks, after school and even on Saturday mornings, leading to literacy quizzes and competitions. He now works with The LEARN Project and ensures weekly visits are made to our LEARN beneficiary schools, where he assists with reading both in the classroom and in the library – his visits are the highlight of many a learner’s day!

“I said ‘Somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realized I am somebody”.

— LILY TOMLIN

Our Key Contributors

Waleska Saltori

Copywriter

Copy review and editing of content

Thembi Biyela

The Bhambayi
Sewing Group

Library curtains, Library bags and Book corner cushions

Merle Fynn

Hombisa

Library cushions

Shan Goudin

Essentials Building

Library renovations

Caiphus Mkane

Carpenter

Book corner shelves