The Swiss ophthalmologist Erika Sutter was born in Basel in 1917. She spent 32 years working in Elim Hospital, founded by the Swiss Mission in an impoverished rural area in North-Eastern South Africa. Together with her African colleague and friend, Selina Maphorogo, she founded the Care Groups, village self-help groups working for better health in their communities. The movement is still active after more than 30 years, and now has around 2,000 members, mostly women, in over 200 villages. Erika Sutter has received numerous international honours and awards for her pioneering work, including the award 'Woman of the Year' in 1984 from the South African newspaper 'The Star', and an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel. For the creation of this biography, Erika Sutter spent many hours with the author, her friend Gertrud Stiehle, telling the story of her long life ñ vividly, with a sharp eye for social issues, a hint of self-irony, and dry wit. Her account does not ignore events in the wider world. She experienced life on the Swiss-German border during the Second World War, and her years of working in South Africa were those when the apartheid policies of the South African Government were becoming more and more repressive, affecting many aspects of life in the country.
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