About us

Terre des hommes (Tdh) is the leading Swiss organisation for children’s aid. Through our health, protection and emergency relief programmes, we provide assistance to over four million children and their families in around 40 countries each year.

Vision and mission

Vision

We aspire to a world in which the rights of children, as defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are always respected. A world in which children can thrive in safe environments and become agents of change they wish to see in their lives.

Mission

Terre des hommes, founded in 1960, is an independent, neutral and impartial Swiss organisation committed to bringing meaningful and lasting change to the lives of children and youth, especially to those most exposed to risks. We strive to improve their well-being and ensure the effective application of their rights as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant human rights instruments. To make a difference, we focus on the areas of maternal and child health, children and youth migration, and access to justice. We aim to empower children and youth through active participation. We advocate for the respect of children’s rights, supporting them in voicing their needs and interests. We work in fragile and conflict settings, as well as in stable environments.

Our principles of action

We act in the best interests of the child, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant human rights instruments;
We promote and enhance child, youth, family and community participation and empowerment;
We foster local partners’ ownership of projects and actions, reinforce local systems to support and enable various national and local stakeholders to provide expertise and best practices;
We trust and build on the capacities of stakeholders and communities as primary responders and agents of change;
We implement humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities;
We integrate constant learning, improvement, collaboration and knowledge sharing;
We strive for innovation and sustainability in all our actions and programmes;
We are accountable and transparent to beneficiaries, partners, donors and to ourselves;
We partner with other organisations to advocate for the respect of children’s rights.

Timeline

1960
Creation of Terre des hommes by Edmond Kaiser.
1966
The charter setting out the primary objectives and ethical principles of the association is drafted by Edmond Kaiser and adopted. The Swiss model inspires the creation of other Terre des hommes bodies in France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to name but a few. They all come together to form the «Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF)».
1970
La Maison children’s home opens in Massongex, in the canton of Valais.
1972
Terre des hommes Foundation and terre des hommes Switzerland split to form two separate entities.
1980
Edmond Kaiser leaves Terre des hommes to found Sentinelles.
1988
Terre des hommes Switzerland changes its status from an association to a foundation and files its new statutes.
2002
The French Republic awards the Human Rights Prize to Terre des hommes for its work in fighting child trafficking in Eastern Europe.
2010
The Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary.

International Federation TDH

The Terre des hommes Foundation, based in Lausanne, is a member of the Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF), which includes sister organisations in Switzerland and other countries. The TDHIF allows for their voice to be heard at an international and European level and represents them before the various bodies of the United Nations. It organises awareness-raising campaigns and approves joint positions, always in the best interests of children.

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Related publications

Courage No. 73: In the gold mines of Burkina Faso, children work at the risk of their lives
Annual Report 2020
Our Values

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