Tour through the Centre Espoir

Entrance of the Centre l’Espoir in Bassam
Entrance of the Centre l’Espoir in Bassam. © Tomas Wüthrich

The NGO "Center of Hope" was founded on November 11, 1998 in Adjouffou.

The Center of Hope One (Centre Espoir Un) - the ambulatory - was inaugurated on February 1, 1999. It consisted of three converted containers: two were fitted with four beds each and the third one served as a consultation room and social office. In addition, there were two toilets with showers and an Apatam, which is a covered open air area.

Five people took care of the center: a doctor, a nurse, a maid, a guard and Lotti Latrous herself. With very limited resources, but with a lot of love, passion and empathy, general health consultations were provided for the slum dwellers.

Soon it became clear that many patients who came to the ambulatory had Aids and were in such bad health, that all we could do was provide them with comfortable surroundings to die in peace. Many other patients were concerned and afraid, hesitant to come to the ambulatory, a place where the hearse had to be called several times a day. So a hospice was built to provide the terminally ill patients a place where they could take on their final journey in peace and quiet.

The Center of Hope Two (Centre Espoir D’Eux ) was built in 2002. The name is based on a pun: in French “deux” means 2 and “d’eux” means “hers”, the Aids Patients’. The 30 beds were constantly occupied. At that time no good Aids therapy was available; the available Bi-Therapy led to a quick death.

Hundreds of mothers died, many of them leaving their infected children behind. This motivated us to open a children’s home in 2007 - the Center Three (Centre Trois).

As plans to extend the airport of Abidjan were getting more concrete, the government is planning to tear down the slums adjoining the airport in the near future. Clearings of slums can take place without prior notice, this is common practice and has happened in other slums previously. Therefore Lotti and Aziz Latrous went in search of a new location for their centers. In 2015, after a strenuous and obstacle rich search, they managed to acquire a piece of land just outside a large slum in Grand Bassam. With a bit of luck they also managed to acquire the neighbouring house. The new Centre d’Espoir in Grand Bassam was opened after a brief planning and construction phase of a mere 18 months; Aziz Latrous taking expert lead of the building project throughout. All patients, all the staff and all the children, in brief the entire family, moved to the new location. The names Centre Espoir Un (for more information click here) and Centre Espoir D’Eux (for more information click here) remain. Today both centers operate side by side. The children could move into the neighbouring house LOAZIZ d’Espoir (for more information click here), where they can enjoy the peaceful, spacious rooms and lovely gardens with large old trees.

Our latest project is our village "Village AYOBÂ L'Espoir", which was built primarily for old people who suffer from chronic diseases. But we also want to take in disabled and paralysed people in the village. For more information click here.

After more than 20 years, we are well established and perform our work in an experienced manner. We have more than 80 local employees, who know their work well and enjoy good working conditions; 20 percent of them are former patients of ours, who have Aids and once were patients themselves in the Hospice. Now that their health condition has improved they are able to work and no longer depend on social assistance.

The foundation Lotti Latrous was founded in Zürich in 2005.