My name is Sagal. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in a small land-locked country in southern Africa, Swaziland. I work as a community developer in a village with an emphasis on youth. My projects focus on youth empowerment, HIV/AIDS education, food security, income-generating and literacy.
My work is challenging but also rewarding. This month my community and I opened a library! The library project was a complete success because the community was very involved. The youth and the parents helped with the implementation of the library project. As a result, we have a wonderful, inviting, library room that’s fully owned and operated by the community.
As a child, I loved libraries! I grew up in northern Seattle and I use to spend countless hours at the Lake City Library. So, when I arrived in Swaziland and a local teacher asked for my help in establishing a library in the community, I was very much excited.
Peace Corps Volunteers work with the nonprofit Books for Africa (BFA) to establish libraries in Swaziland. BFA collects donated books throughout the United States. They then sort, organize the books by reading level and prepare them for shipment. The Peace Corps office funds half of the project expenses (transportation cost and the librarian trainings) and the other half is fundraised by volunteers like myself. This year, we opened 30 libraries including the one in my community and next year we plan to open 30 more.
Libraries don’t exist in the rural communities and we are trying to change that. One village at a time! I can go on forever about libraries but I will stop here!