The Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation is an international children’s charity. Its focus has been on children and youths since it was founded in 1946.
Then and now
The story of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village began with the accommodation of European war orphans in Switzerland following World War II. Today, Swiss school classes are able to meet children from South-East Europe and learn the principles of harmonious coexistence as part of foreign exchange projects.
In addition to the exchange projects held at the Children’s Village, the Foundation is active in eleven countries worldwide, advocating access to education for underprivileged children. Our goal: for all children to have access to high quality education.
«Let us build a world in which children can live.»
Walter Robert Corti – Founder of the Children’s Village
Walter Robert Corti
A true pioneer
When Walter Robert Corti called for a Children’s Village to be established for European war orphans, his appeal was met with overwhelming support from the Swiss population. Volunteers from Switzerland and all over Europe helped build the village. The Pestalozzi Children’s Village became Walter Robert Corti’s lifetime achievement. Today, the activities of the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation remain firmly centred on the guiding principle of its founder: Let us build a world in which children can live.
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was a Swiss educationalist and pedagogue. His reputation persists both in Switzerland and around the world for his efforts to reform the elementary school system. The Children’s Village bears his name for two reasons. Firstly, the living room concept, a pedagogical concept developed by Pestalozzi, was adopted for the Children’s Village. Secondly, the foundation year of the Children’s Village coincided with the 200th birthday of the well-known education reformist.
Education projects at the Children’s Village
Today, children and youths from Switzerland and South-East Europe participate in intercultural exchange projects hosted by the Children’s Village every year. During the projects, they engage with different cultural and religious backgrounds in order to learn the foundations of peaceful human coexistence.
From the village into the world
In 1982, the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation decides to expand its sphere of activity. Instead of simply giving a better life to a limited number of children, the Foundation now aims to provide help in the affected countries directly. Today, the Foundation is active in eleven countries worldwide, advocating access to education for underprivileged children.
On 28 April 1946, the cornerstone ceremony of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village is held in Trogen. Volunteers from Switzerland and many other countries help to build the houses. The first war orphans to find a new home in the Children’s Village come from countries that were at war at the time: France, Germany, England, Poland, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Finland and Greece.
Appeal for the establishment of the Children’s Village
The philosopher Walter Robert Corti publishes an article in DU magazine calling for the establishment of a village to accommodate European war orphans. His appeal is met with an overwhelmingly positive response by the Swiss public. Celebrity supporters joined Corti’s cause, and he eventually became the founder of the Children’s Village.