Published: Thursday, 07/13/2017

IFOTES 1967- 2017: 50 years of providing emotional support

This year IFOTES celebrates its 50th anniversary, being started in Geneva in 1967 by the first European helplines that were already established in national federations in their respective countries.

Up to now, IFOTES has had 9 presidents and 17 international congresses have been held. But the most impressive figure is that of volunteers who have enabled helplines to provide an interrupted service for 50 years: from a downward estimation there have been at least 600,000 people, more than half a million people in Europe dedicated to the improvement of their communication skills and to offer a careful and attentive ear in 4-5 million calls every year and in tens of thousands of chat and email, in an incalculable number of hours of service.

To celebrate this community, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary IFOTES has produced a short 20 minute movie where several people, volunteers and helpline professionals from various European countries, tell their experience and knowledge of the service. All together contribute to compose the story of this common and exciting international experience of listening and providing emotional support, as well as sharing of personal and professional growth.

The film is subtitled in 8 languages (English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Slovenian and Spanish) and is accessible on the YouTube channel of IFOTES.

We hope that many TES people will watch the movie. It seems to us the most effective way to build a broad sense of belonging to the community of Telephone Emergency Services and also to show the efforts and the sense of the existence of IFOTES, backed by the passion and commitment of hundreds of people across Europe.
Therefore, best wishes to all those who in different ways have been committed during these 50 years and made possible to achieve this goal today.

We have now the pleasant task of celebrating and giving continuity to this extraordinary human adventure of encounter, listening and solidarity!

Diana Rucli
IFOTES Director