Our history

Terre des Hommes has been fighting child exploitation since 1960. Get to know our history and our founders. See who we are.

One man’s view of an earth for all mankind

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a quirky French writer. During World War II, he also piloted a mail plane, which he flew over Africa, among other places.

Years before publication of his now internationally renowned book Le Petit Prince (‘The Little Prince’), he wrote Terre des Hommes (‘Earth of Mankind’). In this memoire, he called on ‘people of the earth’ to take responsibility and show solidarity. In his words: ‘There is no third world. There is one world for which we are all responsible.’

The book’s ideas appealed so much to Frenchman Edmond Kaiser that he founded a children's aid organisation called Terre des Hommes. In 1965, enthusiastic volunteers in the Netherlands followed his example.

The Terre des Hommes organisation established in the Netherlands began by providing emergency aid to developing countries, mainly via Dutch doctors. Over the years, its focus shifted to providing structural aid via local partners.

Stopping child exploitation – the most serious violations of children’s rights – became the mission of Terre des Hommes 

Our fight is not easy. Poverty sometimes drives people to despair. Prosecuting perpetrators of child exploitation is rarely a priority for local governments.

But Terre des Hommes is not giving up. With our local partners, we continue working towards a world without child exploitation.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is our cornerstone. We help vulnerable children no matter their religion, race, gender or culture.

Every child has the right to grow up in an environment where young people can feel safe today and better about tomorrow. Join our fight. Stop child exploitation.

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