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Télécoms sans Frontières marks 30 years of aid in worldwide crises

TSF Monique and J-F.jpg

The industry’s aid charity, Télécoms sans Frontières (TSF), celebrated its 30 years of helping people hit by wars, earthquakes and other disasters with a reception at Capacity Europe last night.

TSF also marked ten years of support from Capacity Media, a relationship which has included charity runs at International Telecoms Week and other support.

There’s a new digital divide, said Monique Lanne-Petit (pictured, left), one of the two co-founders. “There’s an immigration crisis, and TSF is providing information to migrants to help them make informed decisions.”

TSF has come to the help of people, and global aid agencies, in places such as Mexico, Haiti, Madagascar and Germany, said co-founder Jean-François Cazenave (pictured, right), at last night’s celebration. “And now Ukraine, Poland and Romania”, where TSF is helping refugees from the war.

They started TSF 30 years ago in the aftermath of the Gulf War, and later in ex-Yugoslavia, when they realised what people need most – as well as food, shelter and medical help – is telecoms. “The common factor was the impossibility of communicating reliable information.”

Lanne-Petit added: “We are convinced the use of these tools provide support.”

TSF also paid tribute to the late Niall Hickey, former AT&T executive who helped make the telco a major supporter of the charity. “It was one of those encounters that changed lives,” said Cazenave. Hickey’s widow Andrea was at last night’s reception.