Sarah Leeper: Living Positively Project, 2004-2005

Sarah Leeper

Project Overview

Sarah Leeper worked at the Children’s Rights Centre in Durban, on the east coast of South Africa, from 2004 to 2006. She developed the Living Positively Project, which uses collaborative documentary methodology to record the experiences of children and families living with HIV. For the project, she provided photography workshops and lessons in Khayelitsha, a township outside of Cape Town, and Lusikisiki, a rural area in the Transkei region. The photographs made by participants, along with excerpts from interviews with families, health care workers, and counselors and photographs made by Leeper during many clinic and home visits, were compiled into the Living Positively Handbook.

The Living Positively Handbook is intended to teach children, age five and older, who are living with HIV about their illness, its medical management, and its psychosocial implications in a positive, honest, age-appropriate way. The handbook includes space for children to write or draw their own stories and to record their own health information. The book has been translated in Zulu and Xhosa in addition to English, and the Children’s Rights Centre is currently working with partners within and outside of South Africa to make the handbook freely available at many Sub-Saharan African pediatric treatment sites.

Sarah Leeper

Sarah Leeper

Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow 2004-2006

Sarah Leeper graduated from Duke University in 2003 with a major in developmental psychology and coursework in education, photography, and medicine.