12.03.2020 - News

Oranges that haven't aged a wrinkle since 1962!

"We were asked if anyone had any ideas on how to make money. I suggested selling oranges, and that's how the orange sale started." In 1962, Claudine Planque came up with an idea of what would later become the largest humanitarian street action in Switzerland: Terre des hommes' orange sale.

The concept is simple: volunteers sell oranges to passers-by on the street to raise money. This action has been organised every year since 1962.

The beginnings of the orange sale (video in French)

The success of the first sale exceeded all expectations. "I organised this first sale in Lausanne. We were a group of friends and we raised 10'000.- Swiss francs. The members of the Council [of the Terre des hommes Foundation] raised their arms and said that it was a miracle and that we had to expand the action", said Claudine Planque, volunteer for Tdh from 1962 to 2002. The funds were then used to finance the treatment of children in hospitals in Switzerland.

Press clipping from the winter 1964-1965

Little by little, the action grew and expanded throughout Switzerland, thanks to the unfailing commitment of our volunteers. Like Dominique Delley, president of the volunteer group in Fribourg, who has been selling oranges for Tdh since she was a child. "I started selling oranges in 1976, when I was 12 years old." 44 years later, she has lost none of her energy and conviction.

"My contribution is a drop in an ocean of distress, but I know that that drop changes the lives of many children in need."

Dominique Delley, President of the Fribourg volunteer group


Today, the orange sale has become the largest street humanitarian action in Switzerland. Every year, more than 1500 volunteers sell 87,000 oranges and, with the support of local businesses, collect around CHF 600,000.-, an essential financial contribution to support our child aid projects in the field.

Read also: The first activities of Terre des hommes

"The orange sale is at the heart of Terre des hommes. It symbolises the unfailing support of the Swiss population for the most vulnerable children", says Thierry Monnin, in charge of the orange sale.

Would you also like to become a volunteer for Terre des hommes? Contact volunteer@tdh.ch to join the closest volunteer group or simply to take part in an event.

A look into the past: this is the third article of 10 about the history of Terre des hommes on the occasion of our 60th anniversary.

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