By: Saniya Kaushal
My name is Saniya Kaushal. I am sixteen years old, starting grade 12 at Yale Secondary in September. Once a week, I volunteer at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, as a unit visitor and doing library rounds. This means that I get to go around visiting patients and having conversations with them. It is amazing to hear about different patients’ lives and families. The stories I hear are truly gratifying. While performing library rounds, I circulate with a cart full of books and magazines asking patients if they would like to borrow something to read. Many patients get bored and lonely by themselves, so reading offers them a good distraction. I was saddened that some patients were unable to distract themselves due to a language barrier. Every shift I had, a Punjabi patient would ask if there was anything they could read in Punjabi, because they could not read English. I knew something had to be done to resolve this issue. I brought in some copies of Punjabi Patrika the next week. As I was pushing around the library cart that day offering out books, many Punjabi patients automatically said they did not want any because they were so used to not being able to read any of our English books. When I told them I had Punjabi Patrikas today, their eyes lit up and they smiled big. They were so happy that they had been recognized and now had something available for them to read as well. That day, I gave out my whole stack of Punjabi Patrikas to Punjabi patients, who usually never took anything from the library cart. Seeing how happy these newspapers made the patients, I was confident that I needed to find a more permanent solution. I contacted the owners of Punjabi Patrika, and they very graciously, with no hesitation, agreed to delivering newspapers at the hospital every week. I know that this is going to enhance the Punjabi patients’ experience at the hospital. I’m very gratified that I was able to do a little something to help make them happier.