When Philani Dladla moved to Johannesburg as a young man, he hadn’t considered what good he would eventually do for the underprivileged there.
He journeyed to the city initially to find work, but soon after found himself homeless, unemployed, and destitute. He had given up his new life to drug addiction, and needed to turn things around. He began ravenously consuming self-help books and found the motivation and knowledge to kick his addiction. And then, what began as a process of self-improvement, turned outward after he discovered how much the process of learning can help someone.
From this experience, he realized this was the one thing that could get people like himself out of poverty, so he began his current work as the “Pavement Bookworm.”
“The Pavement Bookworm believes in the power of knowledge, and wants to encourage as many children as he can to get into the habit of reading.”
From his tiny business of selling books and reviews by the side of the street, Philani started a program to get kids to start reading. He learned firsthand how empowering learning and knowledge are, and has devoted himself to getting a generation of South African children out of poverty by getting them to crave reading. Check out his organization, Pavement Bookworm to learn more about what they do!
Watch below to see Philani’s amazing story.