Since the beginning of March, in the heart of Geneva, there is a park renamed in honour of the founder of Save the Children and her commitment to children's rights. Find out more about where it is and why Geneva and Save the Children have been playing an important role in children's rights for over 100 years.
A park in Geneva has been renamed after our founder Eglantyne Jebb and her pioneer work for children and their rights
Eglantyne and Switzerland
Save the Children and Switzerland, specifically Geneva, have been closely linked for more than 100 years and are still considered the place of origin for children's rights.
In the footsteps of Eglantyne
Even today, Eglantyne can be found in various places in Geneva - read more in the text.
Parc Eglantyne Jebb – This is the official name of the former Parc des Acacias in Geneva since 1st of March 2021, honouring the services that our founder Eglantyne Jebb has rendered to children and their rights out of Switzerland. The renaming of the park by the City of Geneva is based on the 100Elles project, which aims to make influential women in the history of Geneva more visible in its public space and to give them more recognition. In addition to the Eglantyne Jebb Park, nine other streets and squares will be named after prominent women, including the first female mayor of Geneva, Lise Girardin.
Eglantyne, Save the Children and Switzerland
Eglantyne Jebb’s relationship with Geneva began shortly after Save the Children was founded in England in 1919. In order to coordinate Save the Children’s aid projects in Europe at the time, Eglantyne founded the International Save the Children Union in Geneva’s Palais de l’Athénée on 6 January 1920. The first signatory of the founding charter at that time was Genevois Gustave Ador, former Federal Concil and head of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
From then on, Eglantyne lived in Geneva and travelled from Switzerland to the project regions where children needed help. At that time, Eglantyne lived in a friend’s flat in the old town of Geneva at 14 rue Jean-Calvin – less than 10 minutes away from today’s Eglantyne Jebb Park.
I In Geneva, Eglantyne used to stay at Rue Jean-Calvin 14 from the founding of Save the Children Union until her death. The flat is just nearby from the new Eglantyne Jebb Park.
Children's rights originated in Geneva
Geneva’s local mountain, Mont Salève, was very popular with Eglantyne for excursions. According to stories, it was there in 1920 – with a view over Geneva, the lake and the office of the then League of Nations (today: United Nations) – that she drafted her five-point Charter for Children. This Declaration of Geneva formed the basis for the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as we know it today.
The Declaration of Geneva with the first signatory Gustave Ador
In 1928, Eglantyne Jebb died in Geneva. Her funeral was held in the English church in Geneva, and a memorial service was simultaneosly held in London. Eglantyne is buried in St Georges Cemetery, where her grave still stands today. Eglantyne’s legacy, in addition to universal children’s rights, is Save the Children, which has been working for children in the greatest crises for more than 100 years, saving and improving millions of children’s lives every year.
Eglantyne's grave in St Georges Cemetery remains unchanged in its place today.
As Save the Children Switzerland, we are honoured that the City of Geneva is renaming Eglantyne Jebb Park and hope that its namesake will continue to inspire and motivate solidarity for the most deprived children in Switzerland and around the world for a long time to come.