South African schools, particularly in disadvantaged communities, are still challenged to cope with the realities of poverty. Teachers are probably in the most favorable position to influence their learners and the broader communities towards positive action - Olivier, Wood & de Lange, 2009. "Picturing Hope" is based on a research project initiated by Tilla Olivier, Lesley Wood and Naydene de Lange in the Motherwell Township of Port Elizabeth. Through the Masenze Umehluko: Reaching out to make a difference project, teachers were challenged to look for and identify the manifestations of hope in their impoverished community, using the visual research methodology of 'Photo Voice'. This technique 'enables people to define for themselves and others, including policy makers, what is worth remembering and what needs to be changed' (Caroline Wang, 2005). These photographs and verbatim narratives are empowering and enabling, and are a living example of how teachers can be involved in broader action for social change.
T. Olivier is a professor in the faculty of education and the research technology and innovation unit at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. L. Wood teaches and researches at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She focuses on developing programs and materials to equip teachers and schools to deal with the challenges presented by HIV and AIDS in the classroom. N. de Lange is an associate professor in educational psychology in the faculty of education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research focuses on social inclusion of adolescents, addressing diverse issues such as Tourette's syndrome, termination of pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, and particularly visual participatory methodologies.