South Africa: Hope for Prisoners

Help prisoners in South Africa engage with the Bible


In a country that is desperate for change, Bible Society is working with World Hope Ministries to offer hope with God’s powerful word in some of South Africa’s darkest places – its prisons. The objectives of this project are for prisoners to engage with the Scriptures through lessons on practical issues of Christian life. 

South Africa has suffered extreme poverty, violence, and a history of racism.  Almost 22% of South Africans (over 12 million people) live in extreme poverty, living on less than US$2.34 a day and unable to afford basic nutritional requirements. 

South Africa has the world’s 12th highest number of prisoners, outranking countries with nearly five times its population. There are a total of 240 prisons countrywide, with approximately 164,000 inmates at any given time. The prison population remains overwhelmingly overcrowded, with more than 45,000 inmates without proper accommodation. Most of the prisoners have never owned a Bible and have a great need to hear the transformative message of God’s love. In addition to this, there’s an opportunity to reach out to Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Officials, who experience many challenges and among who there is a high suicide rate.  


  • Almost 22% of South Africans (over 12 million people) live in extreme poverty 
  • 45,000 prison inmates without proper accommodation.  

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