Hélène and Pierre Vareille created the Vareille Foundation in 2014 after a long period of careful consideration with their children. Having spent their careers as business leaders, they bring a rational, professional, realistic approach to philanthropy.

Registered in Zurich and subject to oversight by Switzerland’s federal authorities in Bern, the Foundation is recognized under Swiss law as apublic-interest organization. (Read the official documents in German here.)We also have a branch in France under the aegis of the Fondation de France.

At the Vareille Foundation, we develop and deploy our own projects to promote social progress. Like an experimental laboratory, we test projects at full scale over long periods, carefully assessing their social and economic impact. At the end of this process, when we have identified projects with proven social and economic benefits, we offer them to the appropriate authorities for large-scale, institutional implementation.

From the start, we have focused on reducing social inequalities in early education and helping the disadvantaged escape the poverty trap through employment.

1. EARLY CHILDHOOD: THE KEY TO REDUCING THE DROPOUT RATE 

The Foundation develops and supports innovative initiatives that help young children from disadvantaged communities “learn how to learn,” with an emphasis on group-based methods.

Under our flagship project, A violin can change the worldchildren take intensive violin lessons in small groups as part of the required curriculum at school.

The four-year program, designed for children ages four to eight, accelerates development of many core learning skills that students need to build knowledge efficiently—and helps prevent them from dropping out later. The program also gives the children and their families a powerful opportunity to discover the world of classical music.

Our Histoires comme ça project trains daycare workers to read stories aloud using an innovative method that improves memorization and enhances learning skills among the very youngest children.

2. ESCAPING THE POVERTY TRAP THROUGH WORK

Regrettably, our developed economies have created an underclass of people who have slipped through the cracks in our existing support systems and are largely forgotten by society. At the Vareille Foundation, we’re searching for ways to get the disadvantaged into the workplace and out of the poverty trap.