addarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-up82CF3E98-D323-4B3E-9EDD-EF2E73FB5C9E@1xcancelclosedowndownloademailIcons / Social / FacebookfilterhomeIcons / Social / InstagramleftIcons / Social / LinkedIn895A4639-EEE0-4BEB-B7D1-CAB21217861B@1xMenu IconremoverightSearchtagtik-toktimeline-arrow-lefttranslateIcons / Social / TwitterupIcons / Social / YouTube

Dr Johannes and Susanne Schäfer – TLM Heroes

An older couple pose for a photo on the beach with rolling hills and a sunset behind them

Johannes and Susanne Schäfer live in Calw, on the edge of the Black Forest. During Johannes' medical studies, they spent six months in India through which they were connected with the work of The Leprosy Mission.

In 1992, after Johannes had completed his studies, the Chadian government invited The Leprosy Mission to establish a model project for leprosy control in the remote, hard-to-reach and medically underserved province of Guéra.

The aim was to train the staff of an existing health facility with a team consisting of a doctor (Dr.J. Schäfer), a nurse (Geeske Zijp) and later an occupational therapist (Marjan de Koning).

The work of The Leprosy Mission in Chad began in Mondjino II, a small leprosy colony of patients from all over Guéra, most of whom had severe disabilities and were outcasts because of their wounds and ulcers.

Their work expanded both geographically and in scope. They began to integrate persons with disability and Chad’s nomadic populations within their efforts.

"When working with persons with disability in Chad, it quickly became clear that we had to think beyond the health care facilities, so very early on we sought contact with other organisations and built up a network." Johannes Schäfer reports. The desire for a life lived with dignity was consistently at the centre of all they did.

The Schäfer family returned to Germany in 1997 with their two sons and from then on supported the work of The Leprosy Mission from their hometown. Since 2000, Johannes Schäfer has been a member of the Board of The Leprosy Mission Germany and has been Chairman of the Board since 2004.

In the words of Bettina Merz, TLM Germany’s Country Leader,

“The Schäfer family is characterised by an unbelievable openness, loyalty and people-oriented nature. They build a bridge between people from different backgrounds and connect generations. With creativity, fresh ideas, perseverance, the courage to try new things and a large personal and professional network, the Schäfer family supports The Leprosy Mission and makes it known beyond the city limits.”