South Africa is often called ‘the rainbow nation’, a reference to its multicultural character especially following the end of the apartheid regime in 1994. TLM Southern Africa was established in 1949 to both raise funds and provide services in response to the leprosy needs in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Today there are very few new cases in the region, and cases are often diagnosed very late, so TLM teaches health personnel about leprosy especially in KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces, and provides assistance for people disabled or otherwise affected by the disease. Funds come from individuals and from churches, many of which have supported the work of TLM for many decades.
With the reduction in leprosy, TLM Southern Africa has turned its attention to disability and especially the challenges leprosy-affected and disabled people have in finding fellowship in their local church. In recent years, in collaboration with DisAbility ConneXion, TLM has pioneered the RampUp programme to assist people with disability to find a home in the church. RampUp aims to dispel myths, promote a Biblical view of disability and encourage the inclusion of people with disabilities in work, witness and leadership within the church.
The country leader of TLM Southern Africa is Peter Laubscher. The annual budget is around £100,000.