FAQ | Maison de Terre des hommes

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the Foundation Tdh in Lausanne and “La Maison de Terre des hommes”?

The Foundation Tdh and “La Maison de Terre des hommes” are two different entities. They manage their own budget and functioning. However, both are partners in their program “Specialized Care”. The foundation in Lausanne entrusts the children who have been transferred to Switzerland to “La Maison de Terre des hommes”.

Is “La Maison” closed sometimes during the year?

No, “La Maison” is open 24/7 and there is no pause during the year. The children need continuous care, as illnesses never take breaks.

Does Terre des hommes Valais accept interns?

A professional structure oversees the work of future educators in this unique organization in Switzerland. We train about 20 interns every year.

How many people work for “La Maison”?

From the linen room, infirmary and kitchen to administration, maintenance and education, 40 people (30 full-time positions ) take care of the children during their stay.

Why do children come without their family?

Parents cannot come with their child for many reasons:
It may be difficult to obtain a visa.
The trip may cost a lot of money.
They may need to stay home to take care of the rest of the family.
It is impossible for “La Maison” to host 40 or 50 mothers or fathers from 10 to 15 different countries.

Why is this transfer called “A Journey to Life”?

Without this transfer to Switzerland, the illnesses of these children would unfortunately be terminal in the long or short term.

Can the children stay in touch with their parents?

With the Internet, it is easy to stay in touch thanks to Skype or social media. But phone calls are still used the most. Families can also contact and ask the delegation of Terre des hommes in their country about their children.

Which countries are the children from?

Mostly from North and West Africa, as well as Iraq.

Do children come back to Switzerland for other treatments?

Some of them do need to be operated again. They also sometimes need to come back a second time for a check-up that cannot be performed in their home country.

What illnesses do they suffer from?

85% of the children that we host suffer from heart diseases, others suffer from various illnesses such as anorectal, urinary, vesical malformations, consequences of noma disease or orthopedic problems. Sometimes, it can be consequences of accidents: caustic esophageal strictures, burns, etc.

How long is a stay in Massongex?

Usually, children stay there for about three months.

What can they do every day?

Kindergarten, school, sewing or cookery workshops… During the year, we also organize picnics or various activities (cinema, circus) to entertain them.

After the surgery, do the children stay in Switzerland?

No. Once their post-operative treatment is over, they go back to their country and their parents.

Do they get other treatments during their stay?

If necessary, yes. They may receive dental, ophthalmological, dermatological or other treatment.

Why are clothes donations important?

As soon as they arrive, the children get a set of appropriate clothing and shoes for the season. When they leave, their luggage is full of clothes for them and their family.

How do children who speak another language communicate?

Several educators are multilingual. Children also adapt really fast, they learn and understand French words very quickly.

Do you celebrate Christmas at “La Maison”?

Several faiths coexist peacefully at “La Maison”. Therefore, we celebrate many holidays together in mutual respect all year round.