Carmen Barrantes - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Pérou

From child beneficiaries to agents of change
60 years of defending children's rights

This exhibition, which has been visible from 1 to 31 October 2020 on Quai Wilson in Geneva retraces 60 years of Terre des Hommes and Terre des Hommes Suisse’s defence of children’s rights.

It is a tremendous encouragement in view of the progress made since the beginning and a wonderful message of hope from children and young people, who have become actors of change today and tomorrow.

"1960" riginals preserved in the Vaud Cantonal Archives, Fonds ACV PP 1053, Terre des hommes Foundation – “1966”, “1976”, “1992”, “2018” et “2019” Terre des Hommes Suisse.

60 years of engagement in images

The last 60 years of Terre des Hommes Suisse’s existence have been marked by a number of events and milestones.

From the creation of the movement in 1960 to the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2019, and the achievement of ZEWO certification, come back with us to the key dates that have shaped the current organisation of Terre des Hommes Suisse.

Click on the image on the left to zoom in on the content.

"1960" Originals preserved in the Vaud Cantonal Archives, Fonds ACV PP 1053, Terre des hommes Foundation

1960, Terre des hommes was born


1960. One man, Edmond Kaiser, is deeply appalled by the plight of children who are victims of poverty and conflict, seriously ill or injured, and who cannot be treated in their own countries. He then decides to establish, with a few friends an association dedicated to “direct aid to suffering children, with no political, racial or religious concerns” : Terre des Hommes was born. What animated the founder was not the spirit of “charity”, but rather that of justice.


Funds were raised through appeals in the media, the organization of concerts, street sales of oranges, fairs and so on. Thanks also to the voluntary work of doctors, surgeons, nurses and the free access to hospitals, it was possible to bring in and treat many children, first from the Maghreb region, then from other countries of the South, soon followed by children mutilated during the Vietnam War.

Terre des Hommes Suisse

The first steps


In Geneva, volunteers get together to found a Geneva chapter of Terre des Hommes to respond to requests from dispensaries, especially in Africa, where there is a particular shortage of pharmaceutical products. Doctors organised collections of medicines, which were sorted according to the needs expressed and dispatched. They made it possible to save lives.


In 1978 the Geneva association hired its first Secretary General and extended its action to more countries. In Basel, a Terre des Hommes association, which was as dynamic as in Geneva, made it possible to create Terre des Hommes Suisse between the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland.

David Naville - Terre des Hommes Suisse



Terre des Hommes Suisse gradually developed strong partnerships with local associations, directly involved in the field for the defence of children’s rights.


Today, Terre des Hommes Suisse works with more than 60 local partner organisations in 10 countries. They fight to obtain in their region, in their country, adapted and quality education, protection against violence and exploitation, and their participation, for more than 200’000 children and young people.


LEARN – EVOLVE – SHARE – RESPECT – this is what the former volunteers, some of whom are still active, have learned throughout their years with Terre des Hommes Suisse. The world is changing but working for the respect of children’s rights is becoming more and more essential.


Jutta, 30 years of voluntary work “These years of voluntary work have given me a lot of satisfaction because I have been busy doing something useful for children in need, in a pleasant setting and with people who are ready to give their all”.

Michel Vacheron - Terre des Hommes Suisse

A complementary action, here and there


Throughout its 60 years of evolution, Terre des Hommes Suisse has worked, in a coherent and complementary way, in Latin America, West Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, as well as in Switzerland, for children and a solidarity-based development :


– By promoting in all its actions, the rights of children to education, protection and participation.

– By supporting local associations in their commitments, their capacity for action and decision making.

– By raising children’s awareness in schools in Geneva, in Switzerland, and internationally about children’s rights and sustainable development.

– By valuing volunteering as a concrete commitment and an anchorage in society.

– By encouraging children and young people to become agents of change.

Right to Protection

Articles from the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, child-friendly version.

Photos taken in the framework of the Child Reporters project - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Bolivie

To this day, children are still victims of violence and exploitation.


1 billion children are victims of violence or neglect every year.


This violence affects all countries, all social categories, and all places, from home to the street, from school to the fields. Children from marginalized groups, from families living in extreme poverty are even more at risk. Girls are often the first victims of such violence. Every year 12 million girls are forcibly married.


Nearly 152 million children worldwide are deprived of their childhood because they are forced to work.

Sources : UNICEF, World Health Organization

Carmen Barrantes - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Bolivie

prevent violence


Terre des Hommes Suisse wants to prevent violence and exploitation and to build a protective environment for children and young people.

  • Protective environment: relatives are committed to protecting children and young people.
  • Protection between peers: children and young people become actors in their own protection.
  • Care and support services: children who are victims of violence receive appropriate support.
Photos taken in the framework of the Child Reporters project - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Inde



In India, 40 million children are forced to work. Terre des Hommes Suisse, together with local partner associations, enables children  to  have  access  to  an  education  despite  the  vulnerability  of  their  families.  Young  girls  are  better  protected  against  forced marriages and can continue their studies to build a better future.


Carmen Barrantes - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Pérou


In Peru, 80% of the victims of trafficking are young girls, who are particularly at risk of sexual exploitation in the country’s mining areas.
To protect them, Terre des Hommes Suisse carries out prevention campaigns with national authorities and local partner associations. These campaigns reach 15’000 people a year and enable adolescent girls to choose whether to stay in the school system or to migrate to urban centres in a more supervised manner.
Capture d’écran 2020-10-13 à 09.49.01

Right to education

Articles from the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, child-friendly version.

Photos taken in the framework of the Child Reporters project - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Pérou

Even today, access to education is not guaranteed for all.

In 2020, according to Unesco, more than 260 million children and young people are out of school and 6 out of 10 children still do not acquire basic literacy and numeracy skills after several years of study.


Poverty, marginalization of the most vulnerable groups and repeated crises mean that children do not always finish the full cycle and drop out of school. This is especially true for young girls, who are victims of many forms of discrimination.


Photos taken in the framework of the Child Reporters project - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Inde

Education is a fundamental right, which must be provided without discrimination.

The quality of education must be guaranteed to enable the acquisition of knowledge necessary to provide children with prospects for the future. Through its actions, Terre des Hommes Suisse enables the most vulnerable and marginalized children and young people to have access to quality education.


85,000children and young people* have access to educational opportunities


 *Source : Terre des Hommes Suisse Annual Report 2019



To learn more, you will find our annual report 2019 here.

David Naville - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Haïti


In Haiti, Terre des Hommes Suisse enables children traditionally entrusted as domestic workers to go to school.


In addition to free access to school, these children receive meals, which are essential to ensure they get sufficient and good quality  food.  Their  education  includes  the  programme  “I  have  the  right  to  know  my  rights!”  in  order  to  better  protect  the  children.


Teachers have been trained in the use of participatory, playful and child rights-friendly pedagogies to provide these children with an education that will lead to a better future.

Damien Durandière - Terre des Hommes Suisse


For  almost  30  years,  Terre  des  Hommes  Suisse  has  been  running  a  programme  of  education  for  solidarity  and  sustainable  development throughout Switzerland.


Through  animations  based  on  the  reality  of  children’s  lives  elsewhere  and  on  everyday  problems  in  Switzerland,  children  discover their rights and reflect on inequalities in the world. They are invited to take action, at their own level, to build a just and sustainable world.


Right to participation

Articles from the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, child-friendly version.

Photos taken in the framework of the Child Reporters project - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Brésil

Participate and fight for your rights

Terre des Hommes Suisse contributes to the training of children and young people as agents of change in the promotion of their rights and in particular that of participating in the construction of a more sustainable and inclusive world. In this way, they can contribute more actively to the defence of children’s rights, here and there.


“Being a committed young person means above all really understanding what our role is in society. Whether we are women or men, black or white, whatever our class position, we must develop an attitude of empathy towards other people. For me, this means mobilizing organized groups in communities, in families, by helping them to further identify the actions needed to change their living conditions in a sustainable way and to involve other young people to defend children’s rights. In all these actions, we must set an example, inspire and act.” Luciana, a young girl from Brazil (pseudonym)

Watch more here !
Souad von Allmen - Terre des Hommes Suisse

the International Youth Council of Terre des Hommes Suisse

Launched in 2018, the International Youth Council of Terre des Hommes Suisse brings together 16 young people aged 15 to 25 elected by their peers in Latin America, India, Africa and Switzerland.


As actors committed to the defence of children’s rights in the field, they are integrated into the governance of     Terre des Hommes Suisse at the local and international level. The young people of the Council share their experiences, educate themselves and carry the voices of children and young people in their countries and before international bodies.


Last November, they were in Geneva to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Convinced of the role they have to play as global citizens, several young university and high school students in Geneva have created a network of “young emissaries”. Their goals? To raise awareness of children’s rights among their peers in schools and inspire others to get involved.

Watch more here !
30 ans de Droits de l'Enfant - Petros Raitsidis, Switzerland


On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2019, the voices of children and young people were brought to the UN by 7 young people from the International Council of Terre des Hommes Suisse. They shared their recommendations to States concerning the environment, participation, protection, migration and the rights of girls.
“I felt that I was heard. They gave me the courage to talk about the problems faced by children in my country, give our recommendations and provide solutions.” Sokhna, 18, member of the Youth Council, representative of Senegal.
Photos taken in the framework of the Child Reporters project - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Sénégal


With a camera on their shoulder, a lens or microphone in their hand, a pen, pencils or a keyboard at their fingertips, more than 1,200 Child Reporters from Switzerland, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Mali, Colombia, India, Peru and Senegal have created  165 reports on their vision of children’s rights.


These children and young people were strongly mobilized around this project of the Association 30 Ans de Droits de l’Enfant which  gave  them  the  opportunity  to  express  themselves.  The  children’s  reports  were  widely  shared  locally  in  each  of  the  countries on the occasion of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the Convention. In Switzerland, four exhibitions, which were seen by more than 20,000 people, showcased these productions.

Watch more here !

Acting here and there - Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic is a universal crisis but one that does not affect everyone in the same way. Its consequences have a disproportionate impact on populations that are already the most fragile, especially children.


1 billion of children* in schools worldwide are affected by the temporary closure of schools.Unfortunately, this situation could also mark the end of access to education for the most vulnerable among them, due to poverty and the risks of violence and exploitation that accompany this pandemic.


*Source: United Nations

Tama Ghosh - Youth Council member - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Inde

Protection and education during Covid-19


Terre des Hommes Suisse is mobilising to protect children from the Covid-19 pandemic, to encourage them to stay in school, to protect them from exploitation and to reduce the risk of violence during confinement.


These actions are carried out with the participation of young people. For example, raising awareness about protective behaviors is done by young people for other young people.


“I will protect myself rst to set an example and respect barrier gestures. Then, I’m going to raise awareness so that people understand the disease. Here, many people are convinced that the disease is not as it is presented.” Ashmita, involved in the Covid-19 awareness campaign (pseudonym)

Watch more here !
Laure Heurtier - Terre des Hommes Suisse

Awareness-raising on Children's Rights

In Switzerland, with the temporary closure of schools, children were cut off from their schooling. In April, Terre des Hommes Suisse launched a digital awareness campaign on children’s rights and sustainable development, aimed at young people.


Interactive modules and fun activities are available for families and teachers.


By doing the module on child labour, I discovered how things are for children in Burkina Faso. Then I was able to discuss it with my mother and brothers. The DIY activities at the end teach us a lot about children’s rights!” Thomas, Geneva, 11 years old.


Interested in these online modules ? You can find them here (in French only).


Alessandra Genini - Terre des Hommes Suisse, Mali

60 years of promoting children's rights, thanks to you!


Many thanks to the children and young people, to our local partners, our volunteers and donors, our sponsors and to all the friends of Terre des Hommes Suisse.



Dragon Images/

Together today and tomorrow

Together, hand in hand with the children and young people of today and tomorrow, let’s build a sustainable world respectful of children’s rights.