This year marks the 50th anniversary of Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF). Due to the importance of this achievement, TDHIF wants to take a moment to look back at its history and highlight the main steps that allowed it to become a large and well reputed network.

The TDH movement was created in 1960 in Lausanne (Switzerland) by the visionary Edmond Kaiser: at the time, children directly affected by the conflicts were not being provided the necessary protection and assistance and seriously ill children were not getting proper healthcare. The dramatic situation mobilized Kaiser, along with TDH groups based in Germany, the Netherlands and France, to bring hundreds of those children out of the war zone in Algeria, assuring them a safe environment and assistance in a more direct way.

In 1966 these groups joined together to form the Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF) and on the 1st of May 1966 the first General Assembly of the International Federation of Terre des Hommes took place in Lausanne (Switzerland).

During the 1970s, TDHIF grew significantly and became a place for collaboration and exchange for the TDH groups. In 1976, it created a Secretariat first located in Luxembourg which than moved to Geneva, and later an office in Brussels was set up.

TDHIF was granted consultative status with the UN/ECOSOC and UNICEF in 1987, and subsequently, with ILO, the Council of Europe and IOM. During the 90s, the international work developed and the TDHIF international profile intensified.

The two last decades have brought major changes in the TDHIF. The organisation has been an active participant in important international initiatives such as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, the UN Study on the Impact of Armed Conflicts on Children and the World Congresses against the Sexual Exploitation of Children. It also took part in the drafting of major treaties relating to children’s rights.

The first joint international campaign against Child Trafficking was launched in 2001 and TDHIF runs now two campaigns with a strong international profile on children on the move and on protecting children in mega sporting events. It is also developing joint quality standards for its member organisations.

TDHIF acts for and with children and implements a comprehensive approach which is tackling problems from the local to the global level. The aim of tackling the root causes of the problems affecting children of the world confers to the organisation a strong advocacy component rooted in field work.

Today, TDHIF is composed of 10 member organisations based in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. Together, TDHIF has been playing a significant and positive role on the fundamental rights of children and will keep meeting the challenges that stand in the way of advancing the lives of children, “leaving no one behind”.