1955 Dr. Karl Schoepf, surgeon from Zams in Tyrol, began - together with the Swiss Capucine Fathers and the Baldegg Sisters - to build a modern hospital in the small town of Ifakara – at that time inhabited by 3000 people – in the Kilombero valley in the former English colony of Tanganyika. It replaced the old missionary hospital run by the Swiss Baldegg Sisters since 1931. In 1960, the new St. Francis Hospital was opened, one year before Tanzania became independent. It was run by Dr. Schoepf until his return to Austria in 1969. Since then, close relations between Zams and Ifakara have continued.
1995 Dr. Schoepf took the initiative again and intensified the old contacts with Tanzania. By a small group of committed people several aid transports were organized and the training of doctors and nurses was supported. After a number of visits to Ifakara, high engagement and, finally, noticeable success, St. Francis Hospital has become for us something like a "Tyrolean Hospital" in Tanzania.
1998 partnership between the Roman Catholic parishes of Zams and Ifakara was called into being.
2004 finally, the cooperation was intensified to such an extent that the private supporters believed it was necessary to found an association and have it officially registered. This way the "Association of the Friends of Ifakara" came into existence. Meanwhile, our association has won members and supporters all over Austria, in Switzerland, Germany and South Tyrol. Its members work voluntarily and pay for all expenses themselves – including flight- and travelling costs. That is why all donations directly flow into the projects of the association.