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Journey towards life

Terre des hommes arranges for disadvantaged children, particularly children suffering from heart defects, to be transferred to Europe for medical treatment or surgery. We also provide care for children in their own country and training for local doctors.

Specialised care


Surgical operations in Europe

Tdh arranges for disadvantaged children to be transferred to Europe (Switzerland, Spain and France) when they cannot be operated on in their country. These children are often suffering from heart disease and are treated and operated on in one of our partner hospitals. Each year 250 children benefit from this programme. Once they have fully recovered from their procedure, they can return home. One of our local partners then provides follow-up care to ensure that they remain in good health. Terre des hommes is the European leader in this field, carrying out over 40% of medical evacuations in Europe.

Convalescing at “La Maison” in Massongex, Switzerland

Before and after being hospitalised, children receiving treatment in Switzerland are cared for at La Maison, the Tdh Valais care establishment in Massongex. There they are supervised, comforted and looked after by professional teams made up of teachers and medical staff. If the children are under the age of two, they are either cared for by foster families or directly at the hospital. Each year, more than 200 children of a dozen different nationalities are looked after at La Maison.

Surgical missions

Each year, Tdh teams up with the Swiss university hospitals to coordinates surgical missions abroad. These missions greatly benefit the host country as they provide doctors with the chance to learn new techniques and skills by attending seminars and conferences. They also have the possibility of carrying out an internship in selected Swiss hospitals. These missions significantly improve the care available to children locally and promote medical transfers between countries in western Africa rather than to Europe.


University hospitals in Geneva, Lausanne and Bern (HUG, CHUV und Inselspital), Aviation Sans Frontières in Paris, Population office in Lausanne, over hundred volunteers. Special thanks to donors, foundations and companies who support this program of medical care.



Fatoumata arrived at Geneva international airport from Mali, calm and extremely happy to continue on her “journey towards life”. She has suffered from heart problems since birth and had to drop out of school to move close to a hospital.

Fatoumata, first Malian child to receive specialised care in Switzerland


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