Lotti Latrous

Lotti Latrous chose a remarkable way: She gave up her privileged life in order the help the poorest among the poor: The people in the slums of Adjouffou in the Ivory Coast.  She independently built a hospital, an ambulatory and an orphange. Thus she saved thousands of life.

She received several awards for her humanitary committment.



Lotti Latrous
© Tomas Wüthrich

Lotti Latrous was born in Dielsdorf, near Zurich in Switzerland. She grew up in Regensberg and at the age of sixteen went to Geneva as an au-pair girl to learn French. There she met Aziz from Tunisia and found love of her life, a love which is unique in its generosity and respect for each other.

Due to Aziz Latrous’s work as director of Nestlé the family with the children Sonia, Selim and Sarah came to Abidjan, the economic metropolis of the Ivory Coast after spending times in Jeddah, Nigeria and Cairo.

After two years Lotti Latrous started to work at the hospital called “Mother Teresa”. The misery which she experienced there as a privileged woman with chauffeur, cook and swimming pool inspired her to open an ambulatory in Adjouffou, one of the slums of Abidjan. This she did with the full support of her husband. Hardly the ambulatory was opened Nestlé transferred the family to Cairo.

As Lotti Latrous wanted to carry on taking care of the ambulatory, she made a deal with her family – she spent two months in Cairo and one month in Abidjan. Soon it became clear that the balancing act between the ambulatory in the slum in Adjouffou and the family in Cairo is not possible on a continuous basis and a decision has to be taken. Although the decision taken hit the family and the marriage hard, but it didn’t break them up.

All this happened in 1999. Today Selim, Sonia, Sarah and Aziz, who is now retired, live in Switzerland and Lotti in the slums of Adjouffou. If possible Lotti comes to visit her family four times a year. Her family members also visit her from time to time.


On 8th January 2005 Swiss public elected her as the “Lady of the Year 2004” at the yearly “Swiss Award” ceremony.


Awards, Books, Media

  • In 2002 Lotti Latrous received the renowned Adele-Duttweiler Prize of Switzerland
  • The readers of the magazine "Bild" of Germany elected her as "Lady of the Year" in December 2004.
  • On 8th January 2005 Swiss public elected her as "Lady of the Year 2004" at the yearly "Swiss Award" ceremony.
  • Between 2002 - 2007, Author Gabriella Baumann-von Arx published thre books about the life and work of Lotti Latrous (all of them in German or French only)
  • 2007 documentary Egoiste - Lotti Latrous by German director Stephan Anspichler
  • 2009 Documentary realised by Swiss Television, "Oase im Elend, Lotti Latrous im Slum von Abidjan"
  • 2019 Publication of her autobiography "Was war. Was ist. Was zählt. Mein etwas verrücktes Leben" (in German only)