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Friends of eTwinning: Terre des Hommes

Terre des Hommes, the International Federation working for the rights of children and working to promote equitable development without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination is a Friend of eTwinning.

The name “Terre des Hommes” was inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s autobiographical book and chosen by Terre des Hommes founder, Edmund Kaiser, for the organisation. In “Terre des Hommes”, the author makes several references to some key concepts: the responsibility of everyone in building a better world; the need to cooperate with each other; and the potential, inherent in each child, to develop great talents if protected, cared for and loved.

The primary mission of Terre des Hommes is to ensure that child rights are put into practice and to empower children and youth to actively shape societies, structures and mindsets.

Terre des Hommes’ advocacy comes directly from the life and views of children and their communities whose human rights have been violated.

“For every child, a childhood. Every young person empowered. Every community engaged.”

During these years TDH and eTwinning have built a strong relationship of cooperation. Indeed, the organisation has actively participated in the eTwinning Annual Conference in 2017 in Malta, the eTwinning Annual Conference in 2018 in Poland and the eTwinning Annual Conference in 2019 in France. They led the workshop “Good governance and participative democracy”. The workshop introduced methods to make young people sensitive to citizenship and make them participate in decision making spaces.

eTwinning and Terre des Hommes have a lot in common, especially in the year of Climate Change and Environmental Challenges. The shared goal is to ensure that every child has the possibility to grow up in a safe environment, to have access to a proper education, to lead a healthy life and develop positive future prospects.

Furthermore, both eTwinning and Terre des Hommes are now dealing with the Covid-19 emergency and are providing support within their respective fields of expertise. In a historical moment like this it is even more difficult to guarantee the concrete respect of children’s rights.

Children and families in the poorest sections of society across the world are less able to protect themselves from Covid-19. Too many are forced to live in inadequate conditions and one in three people worldwide do not have basic handwashing facilities in their homes. This rises to almost three in four households in the world’s Least Developed Countries. Children may find it more and more difficult to attend school or continue their schooling from home during this crisis. TDH is working to adapt their services to working in this new reality and provide as much assistance as possible to the children and young people.

Terre des Hommes has also continued supporting children and young people in Europe. In Lombardy, Italy, it has opened a free helpline staffed by psychologists for doctors working with vulnerable families during the pandemic. The organisation has also produced a guide on promoting mental wellbeing and avoiding stress in children in quarantine, which is available in six languages.

In these difficult days, our priority remains the rights and wellbeing of the children and young people we serve. While the longer-term impact this crisis will have on them is as of yet unpredictable, we will stand ready to support, protect and empower them to the best of our endeavours.

For over 50 years, TDH has assisted hundreds of thousands of children to allow them to exercise their right to a decent life. They have been provided with health care, education, means of living, and protection against abuse, exploitation and violence. The organisation has always fought to promote human rights, positive change, and a concept of the child as a person whose dignity should be fully respected.