Balzan Prize: “An important recognition for Terre des hommes”
An international distinction for Terre des hommes! The Balzan Foundation’s prize for humanity, peace and fraternity among peoples has been awarded to our organisation on Friday November 23rd in Rome. Endowed with one million Swiss francs, this sum will support a project combatting the mortality of new-born babies and their mothers in Mali. Vito Angelillo, Tdh’s Director General, was in Rome for the ceremony and answered our questions.
What does this prize represent for the organisation?
It is a valued token of appreciation for Terre des hommes and every one of our teams in the field and at headquarters. This prize honours the deeply-rooted commitment we have had for nearly 60 years. We can all be very proud and happy of the progress achieved; it is seldom that our activities are recognised as a contribution to world peace.
Precisely how does Terre des hommes work towards peace?
Humanitarian and development aid helps in the fight against inequality, poverty, the lack of access to education and to resources, issues that nourish breeding grounds for violence and radicalism. By supporting three million children and their families every year in more than 45 countries, sometimes even in the midst of conflicts and close to the front lines, we contribute to reducing injustice and to establishing the conditions of stability essential for peace. When over 1.7 billion children worldwide are victims of violence, it is more than ever vital to recognise their right to a childhood and to give them positive prospects: they are tomorrow’s generation, and peace is effectively in their hands.
Why should the Balzan Prize of one million Swiss francs be assigned to the SIMESON project?
This project to train midwives in the most remote regions of Mali responds to a crying need. The country has one of the highest neonatal and maternal rates of mortality in the world, whilst its percentage of qualified staff and assisted births is the lowest of all. The training given to caregivers intervening in births is thus an absolute health priority. Our mobile unit SIMESON (for SIMulation of Essential Obstetrical and Neonatal Care) makes it possible for nurses to learn the life-saving techniques. Thanks to this prize, our teams can operate this project on a larger scale and duplicate it in other countries, saving the lives, in the long run, of many thousands of mothers and their babies.
Vito Angelillo, Tdh's Director General
Photo credit: © Tdh