Read to Recovery Project (Barb Houle and Lindiwe Sibisi) - Swaziland

Project Goal: $19,000

Current Progress: $19,200 (101.00%)

Swaziland is a small country in southern Africa that has been hit hard by health challenges (e.g., HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis) while also facing limited resources. 

We started the Read to Recovery project in 2010 after visiting a relative at Mbabane Government Hospital in Swaziland.  During the visit, we noticed that patients were just lying on their cot-like beds with nothing to do with their time while they recovered--no books, magazines, TVs--nothing!  It was then we had the idea that it might be helpful for the patients if they had something to read while they recovered--to distract them, keep their minds busy, and perhaps lower their stress level.  We discussed the idea and thus the Read to Recovery program was born.  (In SiSwati the project is called Buhlobo Lobuhle meaning "good relations," reflecting the good relations between the donors, receivers, and patients).  The project works as follows:  Donated books are given to the hospital or health center.  The books are placed on a cart and wheeled to each patient in the ward so that he/she can choose a book to read (patient family member(s) can also choose a book to read).  After reading the book, the patient places it back on the cart and the patient can choose another book if he/she would like.  In this way, books are continuously available to the patients and no books should leave the hospital.  Patients are grateful for the books and are especially touched at being remembered in their time of need.  We still have a lot more work to do!  Our goal is to expand the project by providing more books to health facilities throughout Swaziland.

Swazi children have also been negatively impacted by the health challenges of the country as many have witnessed firsthand the suffering of sick relatives and friends.  The second part of our project is to provide books for school libraries so that children can improve their English skills (vocabulary building and reading) and keep their minds distracted from the hardships of their ailing friends and family.  The books for this project will go to setting up school libraries at Ngwane Park Primary and Secondary Schools and Nain Primary School.  There is great enthusiasm and support for this project as these schools do not have the resources to accomplish starting a library on their own.  The administrators and teachers are extremely excited about the new knowledge and learning the library books will offer the students--presenting opportunities the children would never have dreamed of before!

Contact: Barb Houle, readtorecovery@gmail.com