Humane: Do Some Good
Why the world needs you
I believe that every child should have the chance to develop their potential. Just think of all the children who have ever lived. Scientists estimate that number to be around 100 billion. What if every child ever born had been lovingly nurtured, protected, and allowed to gain a decent education? How would the world be different if these tender young shoots had been raised to become strong contributors to their community? What solutions to societal ills would they have discovered? How much more advanced would our civilization be?
This week, while researching humanitarian groups, I came across an organization called “Terre des Hommes”. The name is literally translated as “Land of People”, but the expression contains much more.
Terre des Hommes is the title of a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of one of my most favorite books, The Little Prince. In Terre des Hommes, Saint-Exupery focuses on themes that speak to my heart, such as, the responsibility for people to do their part to make the world a better place; the need for cooperation and tolerance; and the importance of recognizing the intelligence and creativity of children by allowing them to grow up in a healthy, nurturing environment where their full potential can be realized.
The organization, Terre des Hommes (TDH), adopted the name because their mission is to follow the sentiments of Saint-Exupery regarding children. Since 1960 they have been rescuing children who exist under inhumane conditions as refugees, slaves, or fugitives. TDH also advocates for children who are victims of injustice and violence. Here is a little more about the good that they are doing for children:
The TDH movement was founded in 1960 in Lausanne (Switzerland) by Edmond Kaiser, a Swiss and French citizen selling pharmaceutical products. The organization was born in response to events taking place in Algeria at the time, in order to provide direct help to children in need, who were not being helped by existing relief agencies. Its first operation was to bring Algerian children suffering from tuberculosis to Switzerland for health care. Having experienced difficulties in obtaining visas for the sick children to come to Switzerland, Edmond Kaiser called a press conference to provide information about the situation and about the TDH groups in Germany, the Netherlands and France that were also mobilising to take care of those children. In 1966 these groups joined together to form the Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF).
TDH is still faithful to its original objective – to act for the rights of children most in need – and works to protect children from extreme poverty, economic and sexual exploitation, and violence.
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. TDH has always fought to promote human rights, positive change, and a concept of the child as a person whose dignity should be fully respected.
States, UN agencies, the EU, Civil Society Organisations and development actors are already actively discussing and framing what will be the common vision and goals of Development after 2015 when Development actors, States and UN agencies will assess the results of the Millenium Development Goals framework adopted in 2000.
Terre des Hommes decided to engage in such debate through various fora and coalitions. Our contribution is to promote that the post-2015 International Development will include a global overarching goal on the care and protection of children as a development force. We also believe that children must be recognized as full actors of this development process. Today's young generation must take part in the definition of the world they want tomorrow. To reach such perspective, the post-MDG framework must be based on empowerment, participation of all, in particular, the most vulnerable groups. It must also offer a sustainable vision that encompasses environmental, economic, social and cultural objectives in an overall common framework based on Human Rights Laws.
Here is a link to a short FAQ to learn more about Terres des Hommes.