Published: January 24, 2020
by Pranisha Parag
An AfLIA Leadership Academy Cohort 1 Project
Pranisha Parag, a participant in AfLIA Leadership Academy Cohort 1, is deeply concerned about children who are hospitalized for long periods. During periods of long stay at hospitals, children usually have nothing to face up to except drugs to make them better and visits from their families. Pranisha is of the firm belief that books have healing powers and that reading to a child on a hospital bed can speed up healing. It was not surprising that she chose bibliotherapy as her AfLAc project as a means of bringing joy and healing to children admitted at hospitals.
As a principal librarian with Msunduzi Municipal Public Library, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, she approached her Library management and run her proposal by them for approval and permission to carry out her project. As the saying goes, “leaders never work in isolation”. Pranisha put together a team with equal zeal and verve to assist her on her course of action. Grey’s Hospital, located in Pietermaritzburg, was the ideal place to implement her idea. She wrote letters to the Hospital management and while patiently waiting for a positive response, she took advantage of the waiting period to train her team and to select the books that would intrigue and arouse the interest of a hospitalized child. Eventually, Grey’s Hospital gave her the nod to bring and read books to hospitalized children!
Pranisha and her team visit Grey’s Hospital – Pietermaritzburg every Wednesday from 10.30am to 11am. They spread out in the ward with carefully chosen, amusing and
Pranisha’s AfLAc project answers directly to SDGs Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The project also strives to achieve Goal 3, Aspiration 1, AU 2063 Agenda – Healthy and well-nourished citizens. One of the striking points in the South Africa National Development Plan 2030, “Our future – Make it Work” is ‘Health is the responsibility of everyone’. Pranisha’s project strive to achieve Priority 1 of the Heath Goals – ‘Address the social determinants that affect health and disease’.