Serving Africa since 1988
Dr. Schanzer dreamed of being a medical missionary since her childhood days when she first heard a Marynoll
priest describe his missionary adventures. Her dreams were first realized in 1988 when she and her husband, Tom
traveled to Nigeria. Over the years, Cathy and Tom have also worked in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Sierra
All of their efforts were carried out in existing programs that gratefully accepted Cathy’s surgical skills, Tom’s
administrative support and their donated medical/surgical supplies. However, in 2006 this pattern of mission work
changed. For the first time in their mission career, Cathy and Tom led the development of a permanent eye care
center in a remote village in Sierra Leone and Serabu.
Southern Eye Clinic of Serabu
In late 2005, for several months Tom supervised the renovation of a donated block building, adding water well
based water systems, generator electricity, patient examination areas, an optical dispensary and a modern
operating theatre, complete with state of the art technology equipment and air conditioning, something virtually
unheard of in the Bush but necessary for the high-tech equipment. Serabu was to be a modern eye care and
surgical center. On Cathy’s birthday, January 7, 2006 Southern Eye Clinic of Serabu was dedicated which included
a day and night of celebrations.
Today, Southern Eye Clinic of Serabu in open year round, providing diagnostic examinations, medicines, eye
glasses and modern eye surgery free of charge to all patients. It is not uncommon for patients to walk several days
to reach Serabu for their eye care needs. Upwards of a 100 clinic patients and 20 surgical patients per are typical
when Cathy and Tom are in Serabu. A Staff of 17 full time employees keeps the clinic operational and has
expanded the Clinic operations to include 10 satellite clinics in nearby villages.
This joint effort of Cathy and Tom with Catholic Mission continues to be a huge success for the needy people of
Sierra Leone. Catholic Mission contributed the land and building, while Cathy and Tom provide all the financial
support. They established Southern Eye Institute in order to raise financial support for the Clinic.
Copyright 2012 Southern Eye Institute