SWISS Children's Foundation

Help for children all over the world

The Swiss Staff Foundation for Children in Need is committed to disadvantaged children throughout the world. This commitment is made possible by the voluntary payroll deductions of our employees, and by your donations.

SWISS Children's Foundation donates €10,000 to a school in Niamey

During the MegaDO event in September 2016, frequent flyers from around the world donated more than €10,000 to the SWISS Children's Foundation. Last year's event was held in Zurich, in close cooperation with Star Alliance Switzerland. Frequent flyers from America, Europe, Asia and Australia travelled to Switzerland to enjoy a glance behind the scenes of SWISS, Zurich Airport and other premises of Star Alliance member airlines. Several high-profile speakers, including SWISS CCO Markus Binkert, provided insights into the exciting world of the airline industry.

During the MegaDO event in September 2016, frequent flyers from around the world donated more than €10,000 to the SWISS Children's Foundation. Last year's event was held in Zurich, in close cooperation with Star Alliance Switzerland. Frequent flyers from America, Europe, Asia and Australia travelled to Switzerland to enjoy a glance behind the scenes of SWISS, Zurich Airport and other premises of Star Alliance member airlines. Several high-profile speakers, including SWISS CCO Markus Binkert, provided insights into the exciting world of the airline industry.

The SWISS Children's Foundation donated the €10,000 to an SOS Children's Villages project with the aim of improving the infrastructure of a public school in Niamey, Nigeria. Over the course of this project, the aims are to improve teaching methods, communicate the value of a school education and support the learning needs of the children. The donation has been put to good use to finance the construction of an extra classroom, as well as a latrine block. This is intended to reduce crowding in the classrooms and improve the quality of teaching.

At the present time, up to 20% of pupils have to repeat their school year and around 10% of pupils drop out of school early. Classrooms with between 80 and 100 children are also a common sight. The construction of an extra classroom and latrine block should make a significant improvement to conditions at the school. We will publish an updated report once the renovation has been completed.

  • The SWISS Children’s Foundation donations hit the million mark

    Up to January 2017, the amount of 1,009,000 Swiss Francs has been transferred to the SOS Children’s Village in Switzerland since it was founded in 1998.

    The money primarily comes from monthly donations through wage deductions, but raffles and one-off donations are also counted. The money is used above all for our long-standing commitments, for the families that we have been supporting and will continue to support. Of course, there are also individual projects, such as the raffles and Christmas party. Not included in this sum is the money from the Swissair Children’s Foundation and money from passengers.

Star MegaDO auction for SWISS charity

Over 150 top frequent flyers from all around the world joined the Star MegaDO event in Zurich and werde donating at the auction over 10'000 Euros for the SWISS foundation for children in need.

In September 2016 last year’s Star Mega Do Event was organized in Zurich in close collaboration of Star Alliance Switzerland. Frequent travelers from America, Europe, Asia and even Australia found their way to Switzerland to see behind the scenes of SWISS, Zurich Airport and other local Star Alliance member carriers. Various guest speakers, such as Markus Binkert (CCO of SWISS), Peter Koch (Chief Pilot of the Bombardier C Series of SWISS) and Markus Schwab (former CEO of Star Alliance) enriched the get-together with interesting insights of the airline world.

One of the highlights of the event was the auction, where over 10’000 Euros could be raised for the SWISS Foundation for Children in need.

Recently at a small ceremony Tommy Danielsen, main organisator of the Star Mega Do, was handing over the check to the presidency of the SWISS charity.

The "Welcome 777 Event" – the largest SWISS employee party ever – held a charity raffle in aid of extending a kindergarten in Harar, Ethiopia.

3800 SWISS employees got together in Hangar 3 at Kloten airport on Friday 5th February for the biggest party in SWISS history, held to celebrate the arrival of the new Boeing 777. Our traditional charity raffle was also held during this event. The SWISS Children's Foundation used the money raised to support SOS Children's Villages, to help fund the extension of a kindergarten in Harar, Ethiopia.

  • Map of Ethiopia with indication of 7 kindergartens

    Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, more than 500 prices were up for grabs. Within the space of three hours, all 15,000 raffle tickets had been sold. But we wanted to go the extra mile,

    so SWISS rounded up the CHF 30,000 made from ticket sales to an impressive CHF 60,000.

    We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all employees who bought raffle tickets, the employees at the 777 party who agreed to a regular deduction from their salary to support the SWISS Children's Foundation projects, the sponsors whose raffle prizes made the raffle possible in the first place, and the SWISS management board, which significantly rounded up the raffle proceeds.

Our prizes:

The first prize was drawn during the stage performance – a first-class flight anywhere in the world in our Boeing 777! 2nd prize: a business-class trip to visit Boeing in Seattle, 3rd prize: a business-class flight in our 777 and the 4th prize: an economy-class flight in our 777.

Other extremely attractive prizes included Lalique vases, a Kjus jacket, an overnight stay in the Park Hyatt Zurich, vouchers for VIU sunglasses, and a Victorinox watch.

Thank you to Sales Wick

"Sales Wick is a First Officer on the SWISS A320 fleet, who loves photography. Sales has made a very special contribution to benefit the Children's Foundation. Every year, his passion for photography results in a calendar with twelve wonderful photos. This is the second successive year that Sales has donated CHF 5 to the Foundation for every calendar sold – which in 2015 meant the Children's Foundation received the incredible amount of CHF 1500.-.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sales most sincerely for his achievement, and wish him every continued success with the next calendar.

For further information on the calendar and to order it, please go to

School shops in Maseru, Lesotho

The donations received from last year's SWISS benefit tombola have been invested wisely. The funds provided by SWISS staff have been used to open four very busy school shops that are generating further donations for needy school children.

The now traditional Christmas tombola again took place at last year's SWISS Christmas Party. An impressive CHF 20,000 were raised on behalf of the SWISS Children's Foundation, which were passed on to SOS Children's Villages and used for a school project in Lesotho.

An "education offensive" has been launched in close co-operation with four public schools in Lesotho's capital, Maseru. The revenue raised by the SWISS tombola was used to add to or convert facilities for school shops for the long-term improvement of education in the country. The rooms were updated and fitted out so that sales of writing books, pens, books, drinks and snacks could commence in time for the new academic year after the long holiday.

The shops are currently run only by teaching staff. Soon, though, children will also be used as sales staff, which will help them gain practical experience in the subject of economy. The takings from the school kiosks will be used exclusively to support needy children at the school.

Thank you all very much for your support!

Schooling in Maseru, Lesotho

2000 saw the introduction of free primary schooling in Lesotho in southern Africa. Although this new ruling is still causing an imbalance at the moment due to socio-economic inequality in access to education and the high drop-out rate, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of students. As the result, more teaching staff have had to be taken on. However, these teachers' salaries are not paid by the government, which is why these schools demand - illegally - fees in order to cover their additional outgoings. This in turn prevents needy children from being able to attend school. The revenue from school kiosks is to be used so that these children can now attend school.

Report from our newest initiative in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Nicaragua, the second poorest country in Central America. The Matagalpa region still suffers to this day the devastating economic and social effects of the civil war (1977-1990). Agriculture, the most important business in the country, cannot offer the many small farmers a sustainable livelihood. Poverty, hunger, injustice and violence characterise the everyday lives of thousands of children and adolescents.

For 14 years, the family-based support concept of the SOS Children’s Village and the SOS youth facilities of Matagalpa have offered children a supervised environment that prepares them for an independent life.

With a great deal of experience, personal commitment, patience and love, the long-standing director, Erwin Rocha, and his equally long-standing colleagues ensure that this goal is feasible and achievable.

Even if it was only a short, emotional insight into the day-to-day of the children’s village, we can confirm for donors of the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need that your financial contributions are being put to good, sustainable use.

Visit to our SOS Children's Village family in Colombia

It costs 500 francs a month to cover the cost of sustenance for each child in SOS Villa Amor in Cartagena, ensuring that they have a home, clothing, education and medical care.

Having gained an insight into their lives, it is clear that the direct payroll deduction contribution provides meaningful and sustainable support to the SWISS Children's Foundation, making it possible for these and other children to have a proper future.

The Foundation Board visits the SOS Children's Village in Dar es Salaam

In mid-October, the Board of the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need flew a rotation to Dar es Salaam as part of the crew.

The construction of this house was funded by SWISS passengers in 2007, while the monthly sustenance of the families living there has been financed ever since by SWISS employees. At the last SWISS Christmas Party, money was also collected for this Children's Village, to enable a protective wall to be built around it.

Our family in the SOS Children's Village Faridabad, India

With a population of around 1.7 million people, Faridabad is an important economic centre and is situated in the metropolitan region of the Indian capital New Delhi. Unfortunately, this also means that numerous slum quarters have sprung up in recent years.

Since 1984, any children in the region who have been unable to stay with their parents have found a loving home at the SOS Children's Village. Here, they and their siblings are lovingly cared for by SOS Mothers in a total of five SOS families. What makes this SOS Children's Village so special is that the SOS Mothers are specially trained to look after an SOS Children's Village family independently. Furthermore, children receive a primary and secondary level education at its own SOS school. In 1990, a department for commercial and technical training was added to the school.

Thanks to its flourishing economy and proximity to the capital, Faridabad enjoyed a rapid growth in population. Consequently, the city's infrastructure is completely overloaded. Due to the lack of affordable living space, new arrivals end up in settlements, where they construct temporary accommodation from whatever scraps and rubbish they can find.

Children who grow up in poverty often suffer from diseases and malnourishment. Most don't go to school because they have to work to contribute to the household. Many of them are threatened by the loss of parental care; others have already lost the protection of their families, and end up living on the streets. The safety, nourishment and healthy development of these children is seriously endangered.

Since 2015, the SWISS Children’s Foundation has been supporting an initiative in Faridabad, in the metropolitan region of the Indian capital, New Delhi. With its 1.7 million inhabitants, Faridabad is an important economic centre. Unfortunately, however, many slums have also emerged in recent years as a result of the city’s economic pull. Children from the region who can no longer live with their parents have been able to find a loving home in the SOS Children’s Village since 1984. Here they are attentively looked after along with their siblings by SOS mothers in a total of five SOS families. In the SOS school, children attend classes at the primary and secondary school levels. In 1990, the school was expanded to include a special faculty for commercial and technical education. With your commitment, the SWISS Children’s Foundation supports a family and covers their living costs.

Our family in the SOS Children's Village Cartagena, Colombia

The project in Cartagena, Colombia was announced at the 2010 Christmas Party. After successfully recruiting new contributors, the funds for a further commitment were secured. Once again, we got together with SOS Children's Villages Switzerland, to see where they were going to build their next village.

This time we decided to take a slightly different path. We decided to opt for a new project of SOS Children's Villages International, in Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The money from passenger donations was used to buy and carefully renovate a house.

Unusually, the passengers' money was also used for the running costs of the house, costs that were far higher than before, because of the approach of the decentralised organisation. As usual, the Children's Foundation took on the cost of sustenance for the children.

Our family in the SOS Children's Village Phuket, Thailand

When the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean caused so much suffering on St Stephen's Day in 2004, it was clear to the Children's Foundation Board that we had to help somehow. The commitment had to be sustained, which was why nothing suitable could be found in the first phase of the chaos. A few months later, a suitable project emerged – a new SOS Children's Village to be built on the island of Phuket. This village was to be a new home for the many orphans of the tsunami.

We were also able to work together with our passengers in this project. Passenger donations funded the construction of the SWISS house. The Children's Foundation would then later take over the cost of sustenance for the children. We were able to visit the Children's Village for the first time while it was being built.

Its good location means that the family in Phuket is the most-visited of the four projects so far. The children look forward to seeing their visitors every time, and they are exceptionally generous. Lunch is eaten with the children on every visit and we are welcome to play with them afterwards!

Our family in the SOS Children's Village Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

The second Children's Foundation project was again to be at one of our destinations. Because these things take so long to prepare, we got in touch with SOS Children's Villages Switzerland very early on. They had plans for a new village in Dar-es-Salaam, funded by money from Switzerland.

For the first time ever, we were also able to involve SWISS passengers in this project. The fledgling Children's Foundation lacked the money to fund one of the buildings. The total from the coin collection on board our SWISS aircraft was enough to build one house in the village. So we decided to play a part in building the new SOS Children's Village.

The family in the SOS Children's Village Rio Bonito, São Paulo, Brazil

The first project of the Children's Foundation after it was established. Looking for a suitable project, we got in touch with SOS Children's Villages. SOS Children's Villages is a charitable organisation with an outstanding reputation, which has been working since the seventies with the Swissair Children's Foundation, which is closely related to us.

Together we decided on the existing Children's Village in Rio Bonito, a poor suburb of the vast metropolis of São Paulo. Since the start of 2000, we have been supporting the children in house no. 9 – we finance the cost of their subsistence.


Since it was established in 1998, the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need has evolved steadily. Today about 5% of the 7,500 SWISS employees support us by means of a monthly payroll deduction. Our sustained growth allows us to tackle more and more projects, and support them long-term.

To make sure that the children who need the help really do receive the money that has been collected, we looked for a strong partner with years of experience. We found SOS Children's Villages. The organisation has been helping needy children for years, giving them security in foster families, where they are respected, cared for and loved. They are given the prerequisites for a secure future, even in war zones and parts of the world affected by environmental disasters.

We tackled our first long-term project in 1999, in Rio Bonito, Brazil. We supported the SOS Children's Village with a monthly fixed sum, thus directly helping the children in Rio Bonito. The Rio Bonito project is now self-supporting. The 19 SOS Children's Village facilities in Brazil can now be covered by money coming in from their own country.

Our second project, in Dar-es-Salamm, Tanzania, followed in 2007. 13 houses were built there by SOS Children's Villages. Working together with the Foundation, we funded the sustenance of a family living in one of the 13 houses. The special thing about this project was that the construction of the house was funded by money from SWISS passengers, while the monthly sustenance of the family that lived there was covered by SWISS employees. Probably a globally unique combination that was also to come in useful in subsequent projects.

The third project, in Phuket, Thailand, followed in 2009. Here too, the construction of a house was funded by donations from SWISS passengers. The Children's Foundation once more paid for the sustenance of the children living there.

In addition to the long-term projects brought about by working together with SOS Children's Villages, we supported the projects of SWISS employees, sometimes with one-off donations, such as for building a well, but also with long-term commitments.

The decision to opt for the project in Cartagena, Colombia was announced at the 2010 Christmas Party. Once again this was to be a co-operation between donations from SWISS passengers and SWISS employees. The donations from passengers were used to buy and renovate a house. The Children's Foundation took on the subsistence costs of the children, as usual.

In summer 2014, we looked for a follow-up project to replace the commitment in Rio Bonito, which, as described at the start, is now self-funded. The decision was made in favour of a family of orphans in the locality of Matagalpa, in Nicaragua. It lies to the north of the capital city Managua, and the Children's Village was completed in 2000. The benefactors of the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need have been making an active contribution to improving the living conditions and future prospects of children and young people in the SOS Children's Village in Matagalpa since summer 2014.

The present-day Children's Foundation developed from the original Staff Foundation of Crossair staff. This always had good contacts with the much larger and older Swissair Staff Foundation for Children that still exists, and continues to discharge its responsibilities.

The Swiss Children's Foundation mainly works together with the SOS Children's Villages organisation. Funding is provided primarily for the sustenance of numerous village families in SOS Children's Villages. In recent years, the income and thus the assets of the foundation have improved so much, that it could keep making one-off contributions to support other projects as well. These are often humanitarian projects, in which company employees are personally involved.

That it has been possible to expand the Foundation's activities is primarily thanks to those employees who, every month, allow a small or large deduction from their salary in favour of the Foundation. Larger, one-off donations also keep being received, whether from staff occasions in New York, or from the increase in lost and not collected items of baggage in Berne.

The gratifying trend of recent years motivates the Foundation Board, that works voluntarily and therefore generates virtually no administrative costs. Success is satisfying for all those employees who already donate every month. And we would be delighted, of course, should any more of our colleagues feel ready to help us with our project.


Peter Laasner / President

  • Peter Laasner joined Swissair as a trainee pilot in 1986 and qualified as a pilot in 1993. After flying with SWISS as a Captain on the regional fleet, he became a co-pilot on the Airbus A330 & A340 fleet. He is currently a Captain on the Embraer 190 with Helvetic Airways.

    Peter is the President of the Children's Foundation. He took up this office shortly after the Children's Foundation was established in 1999.

Pete Steinmann

  • In 1986 Pete Steinmann joined Swissair as a programmer, and to date has held management positions in IT, Quality and Risk Management, and Flight Operations Engineering. Today he is in charge of the department Flight Operations Support.

    Pete is Vice-President of the Children's Foundation, a position he has held since mid-2016.

Reto Schmid

  • Reto Schmid has worked for SWISS since May 2002, and has been a member of the Board of the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need since May 2010.

    Reto leads the Human Resources Department at SWISS and in this capacity, is an important link between the Children's Foundation and SWISS Management.

Gabriele Hofmann-Schmid

  • Gabriele Hofmann-Schmid worked in the Legal Service at SWISS between 1992 and 2007 - initially for Crossair and later for SWISS, and she has been a member of the Board since the Foundation was established.

    Gabriele has been self-employed since 2007, but continues to support the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need as a member of the Board. She is responsible for all legal questions on the Foundation Board.

Tom Mutschmann

  • Tom Mutschmann has worked at SWISS since February 2013 and has been a member of the Board of the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need since May 2014.

    Tom moved from Lufthansa Technik AG to the SWISS Technical Division. He is responsible for the aircraft warranty claims (handling and negotiating technical warranties and claims) of the SWISS fleet. In the Children's Foundation, he holds the office of Head of Communication.

Philipp Bonkatz

  • Philipp Bonkatz spent over 4 years working in SWISS Revenue Management, and has also gained experience working at Zurich airport. He is currently working for Lufthansa in Moscow as Senior Manager, Business Development & Market Steering Russia & C.I.S.

    Philipp has been a member of the Board of the SWISS Children's Foundation since 2014, and has also been its Vice-President. Since changing to Lufthansa, he is largely continuing with his activities.

Elisabeth Walter

  • Elisabeth Walter trained to become a programmer at Swissair in 1988 and then implemented IT projects for Swissair, Swisscargo and SWISS.

    Elisabeth Walter is involved in Administration at the Children's Foundation and has been a member of the Board since May 2014.

Silvia Koch

  • Silvia Koch started at Swissair in 1997, in the Frequent Flyer Programme, and has worked in Revenue Management at SWISS since 2005.

    Silvia has been a voluntary helper at the SWISS Children's Foundation since May 2014, primarily offering communication support.

Urs Eberhard

  • Urs Eberhard worked for Swissôtel, Swissair, Crossair and SWISS in various marketing functions until 2011. Since then, he has been flying and migrating like the swallows, from one springtime to the next…

    Urs has been an Assistant to the Board since 2014.