Growing Together is a children’s book and suite of teaching materials about Khulani, a young caterpillar with HIV struggling to find acceptance.
By percentage, South Africa ranks in the top five most HIV affected countries in the world. But even more pressing than the sheer volume of people infected is the stigma associated with the disease. In communities across South Africa, HIV is rarely spoken about. Those who fall ill can be ostracized from their communities entirely—shut out from the relationships that give their life meaning.
Growing Together offers an opportunity for school teachers, parents and others to talk about HIV with young children. Khulani’s story provides a number of jumping-off points to talk about specific aspects of the disease—medicine regimens, personal hygiene, and kindness to others.
Growing Together was written by Jacqueline Hull and Brandon Keelean and illustrated by Jenelle Huddleston. It is an initiative of together+, an organization dedicated to supporting communities by facilitating design-driven solutions to social challenges. Together+ is supported by the Kgosi Neighbourhood Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, the University of Notre Dame, and Pellegrino Collaborative.