Making an impact
for children

Annual report 2017

In 2017, Terre des hommes helped more than three million children and their relatives in 48 countries around the world. Our projects in protection, health and humanitarian aid improved living conditions and built brighter futures for people in need.

3.1 million

children and their relatives received aid


countries of intervention

102 million

Swiss francs was our total income in 2017

Humanitarian aid  

For the first time in our history, Tdh teams supported more than one million vulnerable children and their relatives affected by humanitarian crises in 2017: near frontlines in Iraq and Nigeria, in the midst of the forgotten war in Ukraine or South Sudan, where conflicts led to other disasters, such as malnutrition, and along migrant routes and in refugee camps, where we helped millions of Syrians, Rohingya and Somalians escape violence.

Bangladesh: Saving Rohingya children at Cox’s Bazar

At the end of August, the Rohingya minority group were targeted by a fresh wave of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. This triggered one of the largest humanitarian crises in 2017, forced 600,000 people to take refuge across the border in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, joining 220,000 refugees already living in the area. At the camp, our staff has opened several nutrition centres which are supervised by a doctor so that children suffering from malnutrition can be treated.

South Sudan: Surviving siege conditions with urban farming

In Yei, South Sudan, malnutrition is not caused by aridity or poor crops, but the civil war that has torn the country apart since 2013. More than 200,000 people, 15% of whom were children, suffered from acute malnutrition in 2017. This conflict has plunged the world’s newest nation into a serious food crisis. Our work in pictures.

Greece: A FabLab to create opportunities for young refugees


In 2017, Tdh’s activities supported more than 130,000 children affected by migration in 16 countries. We raised the awareness of children and their families prior to departure in order to prevent early and dangerous migration. We also protected children on the move and in refugee camps. In their countries of destination, Tdh helped young people integrate in the community by providing them with legal advice and opportunities for apprenticeships and education.

Protecting migrating children in West Africa

In West Africa, 80% of migratory movements by children and young people are due to poverty, insecurity or cultural factors. They migrate towards cities and production sites such as goldmines or cacao plantations.

Even though migration can constitute a work opportunity, it puts children at risk of exploitation, abuse and trafficking. Our goal was to reduce the vulnerability of migrating children between their place of origin and their destination and give them access to education and work opportunities.


Protecting Syrian refugee children

More than five million Syrian refugees, half of whom are children, have fled to neighbouring countries. Unable to attend school due to their families’ precarious situations, they are the first victims of violence, exploitation and early marriage.

In Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, we protected 90,000 refugee and vulnerable host community children from these risks through psychosocial, sport and educational activities. We assisted 11,000 children in dire need of individual protection and enhanced the capabilities of 4100 experts, volunteers and community members to support refugee children.

Child labour

In 2017, Tdh ran five projects across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East to improve the situation of 18,000 children at risk or victims of exploitation. Defending and protecting children’s rights by contributing to the reduction of child labour in the value chain is one of our priorities. To achieve this, Tdh is engaging with key multi-national enterprises and developing an innovative and protective framework to tackle child labour. By becoming a member of the Global Compact Network Switzerland (GCNS) and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in 2017, we took a step towards achieving our new goal.

Juvenile justice

With 22 projects and 13 publications, Tdh cemented its role as a global leader in promoting a restorative approach to juvenile justice. In 2017 we worked for 80,000 children by preventing violence and following up on children in conflict with the law to guarantee their access to justice and a smooth reintegration into society. We worked with justice actors from the formal state system and the informal justice system to promote children’s rights.

Juvenile justice in Latin America

Mother and
child health


women and their relatives were given information or care related to childbirth


children and their families were given access to drinking water


children were treated against malnutrition

IeDA: One million children consulted

In 2017, medical staff in Burkina Faso consulted their millionth child thanks to the IeDA (Integrated e-Diagnostic Approach) application. This application makes it easier to diagnose children using the WHO clinical protocol by saving their data to digital tablets. In 2017, it was used in 30 % of the country’s health centres (620 centres in total) and had significantly improved the quality of diagnosis. Since 2017, Mali has also used the application in 40 medical centres.

Digital technology can save lives 

Mobile midwives in Kabul

Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world. According to UN estimates, around eight children in 1000 and twelve mothers in 1000 lose their lives during childbirth.

Given this situation, we set up a team of mobile midwives who visit women’s homes in the areas surrounding Kabul. In 2017, this project enabled 230 mothers to be assisted by Tdh midwives to give birth at home.

Specialised care

In 2017, Terre des hommes’ specialised care programme won several battles in the area of heart disease. 240 children were successfully operated on in Europe. Every year, three Swiss medical teams – working with Tdh – travel to West Africa to carry out operations. In 2017, 150 children received on-site surgery, and 1200 were examined by specialists. In the long term, more children will be able to receive treatment in their countries thanks to a network of dedicated doctors and an effective skills transfer strategy.


“When I grow up, I want to be a doctor and come back to La Maison in Massongex. Someone saved me – now it’s my turn to save someone else.”

Fatimatou, 10 years old, who received surgery for a heart defect.

Promoting children’s rights

In Switzerland too many migrant children are being unnecessarily placed in administrative detention, an action which failed to respect their best interests. Tdh works to ensure that children’s rights are respected by running advocacy initiatives targeting federal and cantonal authorities, professionals, experts and civil society. We actively take part in work carried out by Swiss alliances and networks to change the way in which migration is perceived – not as a threat to national security, but as a cultural and economic opportunity. Above all, we seek to underline that migrant children are first and foremost children.

Education for sustainable development

Children’s rights, sustainable development and solidarity are central to the new Terre des Hommes Education programme for Swiss students. The programme was piloted in the cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Vaud and Valais in 2017, and will be rolled out to three other new cantons during the 2018-19 academic year. 

THANK YOU to our generous donors in Switzerland and abroad, our partners and institutional donors, to the UN agencies, cantons, municipalities and local organisations, as well as the foundations and companies that supported us.

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