PRAESA falls under The Little Hands Trust, a charitable trust established in 2007 to motivate and nurture reading and writing among African children and their caregivers. The trustees of The Little Hands Trust are:

Carole Bloch is Executive Director of PRAESA, Extraordinary Professor: Language Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape and founder of The Little Hands Trust. Over her years at PRAESA, Carole has shaped and led the organisation’s holistic multilingual approach to early literacy learning and development, this includes research into young children’s literacy and biliteracy learning in multilingual African settings, facilitating training for teachers and teacher trainers and the publication of several storybooks for children of all ages in many African languages.

As Executive Director of PRAESA, Carole designed, initiated and led the first four years of Nal’ibali, an award-winning national reading-for-enjoyment campaign in South Africa. She then co-founded the Nal’ibali Trust, serving as a trustee for its first year. Carole served on the SA PEN committee (2015–2017), the South African Minister of Education’s Reading Advisory Committee, the PIRLS advisory committee and the IBBY International Executive Committee (2016–2018), and was Vice-President of IBBY International (2019–2020). She was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2022 and 2023, she is a fellow at The New Institute in Hamburg and a visitor at the Literacy in Diversity Settings research centre at Hamburg University’s Faculty of Education.

Carole has a PhD in early literacy in African settings from Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, is widely recognised as an international early literacy expert and has served as an early literacy consultant in several African countries.

Thando Gobe is the Managing Director of Personal Trust, an independent trust and investment management company specialising in the management of retirement capital. He also serves on a number of boards, including ASSET and UBUMBO, and is the Executive Chair of ReimagineSA.

Thando is deeply interested in poverty elimination and is a proponent of reading for enjoyment as an integral part of the solution. He has an honours degree in Business Science and a B.Com Honours in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management from the University of Cape Town.

Arabella Koopman is the Programmes’ Director at PRAESA and a freelance publishing professional. She is a published author and freelance writer, who has over 25 years management experience ranging from ECD centre management to senior management in the NGO and commercial publishing sectors. She holds particular expertise in multilingual content development and publishing, children’s literature and, project set-up and management. She has a master’s degree in Education from the University of Cape Town.


Ntombizanele Mahobe has many years of experience in education. She is a biliteracy teacher and teacher-trainer, researcher, materials developer, translator and children’s writer. She is one of the founders of the community reading clubs that promote reading in South African communities. Ntombizanele currently works at the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development at the University of Fort Hare. She is also a lecturer on, and has an interest in, literacy and biliteracy development.