Fondation Alta Mane is an international, non-profit foundation, headquartered in Geneva and founded by private individuals in 2005. It is registered in the Commercial Registry of Geneva; it has been recognized as a public-interest entity by the Fiscal Authority of the Geneva Canton and is under the jurisdiction of the Internal Affairs Department of Bern.

The Foundation deploys its financial resources to achieve its institutional goals: support young people living in conditions of extreme social marginalization and poverty, as well as those affected by serious illness or disability by offering them access to artistic experiences.

Art facilitates the recovery of identity, communication and expression skills by engendering confidence in oneself and in others and encouraging intercultural dialogue and social engagement.

Alta Mane operates both in Switzerland and abroad, with particular attention to those countries where the conditions of young people, their rights and their health are most compromised and at risk.

The experience acquired over more than 10 years of activity has confirmed the enormous potential of Art to facilitate the reintegration of youths living in conditions of extreme social marginalization and support the therapeutic/rehabilitation process of young patients with serious illnesses.

Not only does artistic expression, undertaken through various ways and means, contribute to the rebirth and the development of self-esteem, trust in oneself, self expression and sense of identity in vulnerable youths, but can also generate important lines of communication among the direct beneficiaries of these initiatives and all those who, in various ways, collaborate and participate in the process, such as family members, health care workers, teachers and social workers, facilitating relationships and promoting trust, intercultural dialogue and social inclusion.


In 2017, the Foundation, grounding on 12 years of activity that allowed to develop a vision and an approach, today identified in the panorama of the “Strategic Philanthropy”, began a significant internal reflection process tended to elaborate new conceptual perspectives, to adopt new modalities of intervention as well as to prioritize geographical areas of action in order to respond to new current crisis and emergency situations in Europe affecting many children and young people, today protagonists and victims of historical challenges.

The result of this deep strategic renewal process, also dictated by the transformation of the whole philanthropy field, both at the national and the international level, and on the other hand, by the physiological evolution of Alta Mane, was the brand-new support to different projects with “larger bottom-line impact” that led to identify a new sector of priority intervention: “Art and Development”.

The inception of this new strategic sector of intervention, intended to embrace a more efficient and “horizontal” philanthropy approach, aims at supporting integrated projects resulting on the medium and long-term into:


Additionally, since 2018, the Foundation gives priority consideration to the project proposals localized in Europe, in line with the aforementioned strategic renewal.

Synthesis of the initiatives sustained by the Foundation from 2005

343 art, circus, dance, music and theatre workshops for at-risk youths in youth shelters, reception centres for migrants, run-down outlying urban areas, communities and cultural centres for people with physical and mental disabilities and autism in:

  • Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia);
  • Americas (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Uruguay);
  • Asia (Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand);
  • Europe (France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine) and Turkey.

In 2008-2009, the Foundation supported the realization as well of ASEM’s House of Culture. The house hosts theatre, music and dance workshops for the most vulnerable and marginalized youths of Vilanculos (Mozambique).

In 2018-2019, the Foundation backed 5 Healthcare Clowning Missions in Greece (Lesbos and Samos Islands, and Mainland Greece) and Ukraine (Kiev and Chernihiv Oblasts) for different population groups in transit, and as a priority, for the minors on the move.

24 hospitals received Fondation Alta Mane support to organize artistic workshops and clown visits for young in-patients affected by serious diseases (tumours, heart conditions, spinal cord injuries, bulimia and anorexia, among others) in:


  • Black Lion Paediatric Hospital in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia);
  • Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné (Gabon);
  • WE-ACTx for Hope Clinic in Kigali (Rwanda);
  • Alive Medical Services Clinic (Uganda).


  • Switzerland: University Hospitals in Geneva (HUG); Inselspital in Bern; Civic in Lugano; Beata Vergine in Mendrisio; La Carità in Locarno; San Giovanni in Bellinzona; OTAF in Sorengo; Lugano Regional Hospital; and Winterthur Cantonal Hospital;
  • Italy: National Cancer Institute (IRCCS) in Milan; Pediatric Oncohematology Ward of the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin; San Gerardo Hospital in Monza; Pausilipon Hospital and Polyclinic Federico II in Naples; Polyclinic San Donato Milanese in Milan; Polyclinic Umberto I and Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome; multifunctional centre Spazio Vita connected with the spinal cord unit of the Niguarda Hospital in Milan;
  • Turkey: Çapa Hospital in Istanbul and Hacettepe Hospital in Ankara.

In addition, the Foundation supported artistic workshops held at La Casa dei Risvegli (the house of awakenings) at Bellaria Hospital in Bologna, Cascina Rossago in Pavia, Centro Esagramma in Milan and Dynamo Camp Art Factory in Limestre (Italy). The Foundation funded also individual piano, clarinet and solfeggio classes led by the Association Autisme Genève (Switzerland).

Also, the Foundation supported the realization of an art workshop classroom within the multifunctional centre Spazio Vita which is connected to the spinal cord unit of the Niguarda Hospital in Milan (Italy).

  • Identification and selection of three primary schools serving as model and training centers (HEART Friendly Schools) to disseminate the HEART methodology across Bosnia-Herzegovina;
  • Design and production of the Guidelines on how to integrate HEART as a regular school activity in the national education curricula (Bosnia-Herzegovina);
  • 1 Preparatory HEART Program in 5 Model Schools from Una-Sana Canton for refugee and migrant minors located in the Transit and Reception Centers (TRCs) in Bira, Borici and Sedra in Bihać (Bosnia-Herzegovina);
  • Full equipment of 3 Child-and-Youth Friendly Spaces in Bira, Borici and Sedra TRCs to offer several educational and artistic activities for accompanied and unaccompanied minors located in the centers;
  • 39 Youth-led Arts-Projects developed by refugee and migrant minors and youths on the move, as well as IDPs, in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Ukraine;
  • 2 art-education workshops for children and youths in extreme social distress in Turkey;
  • 33 music workshops for refugee, migrant and asylum-seeking children and youths located in the refugee camps of Schisto and Eleonas (Athens, Greece) and in 3 Transit and Reception Centers (Bira, Borici and Sedra) in Bihać (Bosnia-Herzegovina);
  • 1 new art-education module of the program The Dreams Workshop in Turkey;
  • The Phase III of the HEART Program in Bosnia-Herzegovina that also aims to institutionalize the HEART methodology (Healing and Education through the Arts) across Bosnia-Herzegovina, and integrate it into all the national education curricula;
  • The psychosocial methodology, arts-based, “You Create” for refugee and migrant children and youths on the move;
  • A new Training Curriculum, based on urban music (rap and hip hop) and music d’ensemble for musicians operating in the diverse Transit and Reception Centers in Europe;
  • A Creative Tool Kit and Activity Box to implement pedagogic and artistic activities in Child-and-Youth Friendly Spaces and to train Shelter Operators in the collective Reception Centers in Switzerland;
  • 1 Training of Community Music Leaders in SPRAR Centers in Italy;
  • 1 Training in art-therapy at the Paola Biocca Rehabilitation Center in Amman (Jordan);
  • 17 Scholarships to allow artists and managers coming from emergent countries (Africa, Asia, Central and Latin America, Middle East) and with very limited financial resources to participate to the HCIM 2018 (Healthcare Clowning International Meeting 2018);
  • The completion of the main module, “Laboratori WLAD”, of the multifunctional center WonderLAD, that will be used as a space for artistic workshops and education daily activities for the young patients and their families, hosted in at the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Unit of the Hospital of Catania (Italy).
  • A show, directed by the renowned international director Cesar Brie, performed for the public at the ECuNHiCentre;
  • The show “Finding David”, an abridged version of the book of Athol Fugard “Tsotsi”, featured by the students of the Cape Town Opera Company;
  • “Arte x Igual” Festival, organized in San Carlos de Bariloche (Argentina) by Cre-Arte, Partner of the Foundation since 2012. The support of Alta Mane allowed three Italian Associations (AllegroModerato of Milan, Accademia Arte della Diversità of Bolzano and ZeroFavole of Reggio Emilia with Babilonia Theatres) to contribute to the Festival with performances and concerts in the main theatres and auditoriums of the city;
  • The show “The Singing Garden” (Francesco Nassimbeni) featured by the students of the company Cape Town Opera;
  • 2015, 2017 and 2019 Out of the Box Inclusive Art Biennial in Geneva (Switzerland);
  • 2 shows of integrated dance “Ailes” (Silvia Ortega) and “Shivers” (Uma Arnese) featured by the Association Artumana and presented within the Festival Out of the Box, June 7-8, 2017;
  • The play “Libro Vivo” engaging 40 children living in conditions of social vulnerability from 4 slums of Montevideo. The play was made by TECHO Uruguay, in the Teatro Ensayo Abierto of Montevideo, on October 28, 2017;
  • 5 representations of the opera Turandot (Giacomo Puccini) by Juventus Lyrica with the participation of socially disadvantaged children and youths in Buenos Aires (Argentina). The representations were featured at Teatro Avenida, in September 2017;
  • First African Circus Festival in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), coordinated by Fekat Circus;
  • International Poetry Festival in Medellín (Colombia), coordinated by Prometeo and supported by the Foundation since 2014;
  • Orme Festival, an inclusive arts festival held in Lugano (Switzerland), organized by Danzabile and supported by the Foundation in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019;
  • The plays “Una Opera da tre soldi” (a three-penny opera) and “Granelli di Tempo” (grains of time) produced by Danzabile between 2013 and 2015 (Switzerland);
  • 4 representations of the opera Carmen by Juventus Lyrica with the participation of socially disadvantaged children and youths in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 2015;
  • Circus debate-shows by Clowns Sans Frontières in the refugee camps on the border between Thailand and Myanmar and in Madagascar;
  • 7 training and awareness raising events on various issues, including health, general and dental hygiene, environmental protection, sexuality, teenage pregnancy and domestic violence. The events used art to convey their message and took place in Manguihos, a shantytown in the north of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The events were supported by the Foundation in 2015 through CESVI;
  • Presentation of the show Parada-IS in Milan and Rome (Italy). The show, which combines theatre and circus, was produced by Fundatia Parada artists (Romania);
  • Tour in Switzerland and Italy of a music band from Mozambique composed of 10 socially marginalized youths affiliated with ASEM;
  • Show-debates on HIV-AIDS in Madagascar with the collaboration of Clowns Sans Frontières;
  • Debut at the Boma Theatre in Nairobi (Kenya) of a show produced by a group of 20 young Kenyan artists (Juakali Drummers) coming from the slums of Nairobi;
  • A Study Tour for the same 20 members of the Juakali Drummers at the 2009 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia (Italy) and production of a video documenting the experience;
  • A Study Tour for 20 youths from Projeto Axé at the 2010 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia (Italy);
  • A chamber music group composed of 6 youths from Projeto Axé (Brazil) travelled to Italy on the occasion of the 2008 International Rome Film Festival and performed with the renowned Italian singer, Fiorella Mannoia;
  • Recording and production of 3’000 CDs by BandAxé, a group composed of 12 young musicians from Projeto Axé coming from the favelas of Salvador de Bahia (Brazil);
  • Production and tour of the show “La stagione senza parole” (the season without words) by 23 artists with mental and physical disabilities from three organizations based in Switzerland, Russia and Germany. The Foundation supported the Swiss association Giullari di Gulliver.

14 exchanges between long-standing Partners of the Foundation that had the opportunity to visit their respective project sites and organize joint artistic initiatives:

  • 1 exchange in 2018 between Fekat Circus and Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) which foresaw the participation of 3 professionals of PPS to the African Circus Arts Festival held in Addis Abeba from February 28 to March 4, 2018 with the participation of 6 Ethiopian circuses and 5 other African circuses from Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Guinea and Mozambique;
  • 1 exchange, organized in 2017, by Fekat Circus and Phare Ponleu Selpak within the project “Circus, Berta!”, in Ethiopia, supported by the Delegation of the European Union in Ethiopia;
  • 5 exchanges organized between 2011 and 2016 under the auspices of the “Theatre without Borders” project. The meetings involved artists with disabilities, members of the theatre companies Giullari di Gulliver from Ticino (Switzerland), Perspecktivyij from Russia and BHH Sozialkontor from Germany. The exchanges took place in St. Petersburg (Russia), Hamburg and Nieheim (Germany) and the Ticino Canton (Switzerland);
  • 2 exchanges between AMREF operators and young beneficiaries (Kenya) and Projeto Axé (Brazil). AMREF and Axé were both long-standing partners of the Foundation, working with at-risk youths in the slums of Nairobi and the favelas of Salvador de Bahia through artistic workshops;
  • 2 exchanges between ASEM representatives (Mozambique) and Pé no Chão/ Projeto Axé teachers from, respectively, Recife and Salvador de Bahia (Brazil);
  • 1 cultural exchange project in Switzerland organized by Cre-Arte, partner of the Foundation, working in Argentina with youths facing severe psychophysical and social hardship. The exchange included theatre and music workshops organized in collaboration with KFE University and Theatre Hora (Zurich);
  • 1 seminar in Dresden (May 2009) between representatives of the Latin American Network of Art and Social Transformation, an organization linking 60 social art projects in Latin America with European organizations working in the same sector;
  • 1 exchange between Vientos Culturales and Prometeo during 2015 Medellin International Poetry Festival.

85 training courses on art-education to encourage the adoption of these practices among teachers and professionals:

  • 6 Training Courses to implement the “You Create” methodology in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Ukraine, for 102 professionals in child protection, educators and psychologists and local Staff of Terre des hommes;
  • 1 Capitalization Global Training for 21 Tdh Staff professionals from 12 different delegations in the MENA, Asia and Eastern Europe zones to disseminate and implement the “You Create” methodology; 
  • 4 Training Courses to implement the “Creative Tool Kit and Activity Box” in the Asylum Shelters in Switzerland, 2 federal and 2 cantonal, for 51 people (Directors, co-directors and Shelter Staff);
  • 1 Training in Art-therapy for 25 formal and informal educators, artists, teachers, psychologists and volunteers working at the Paola Biocca Rehabilitation Centre and refugee camps in Amman (Jordan);
  • 1 Training in Community Music Leaders in the SPRAR Centers for 30 professional and amateur musicians working with young asylum seekers and refugees (Turin and Bologna, Italy);
  • 5 Preparatory Training Courses to the Emergency Smile Missions in Greece (Lesbos and Samos Islands, and Mainland Greece) and Ukraine (Kiev and Chernihiv Oblasts) for 18 Clown-Doctors and 5 Head of Mission;
  • 9 Welcome Notes Europe Training, basic and advanced, for 268 musicians, music teachers and Workshop Leaders from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Greece, Italy, Scotland and The Netherlands;
  • 9 Basic HEART Trainings, for the dissemination the HEART methodology, and 6 Follow-up Trainings, for 210 teachers and pedagogues from 47 primary schools in Una-Sana Canton (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The Training was organized by Save the Children North West Balkans; 
  • 1 Community Music Leadership Training for 24 new Rwandan Community Music Leaders and 25 new Community Music Leaders from Goma (RCD), to use music with children and youth HIV positive, orphans, at risk and in vulnerable condition in Rwanda and RDC;
  • 2 On-going Trainings intended to 76-81 Rwandan Community Music Leaders, formerly trained by Musicians without Borders, to strengthen local Capacity Building and accompany the “Rwanda Youth Music” Program towards sustainability;
  • 2 Training Courses on the HEART methodology (Healing and Education Through the Arts) for 36 teachers from 12 schools in three municipalities in the south-west of Haiti. Participants learnt how to provide psychosocial support through the arts to 2’368 children affected by the hurricane Matthew. The Training was organized by Save the Children Schweiz;
  • 3 Training Courses on the HEART methodology and 2 follow-up trainings to 59 teachers, pedagogues, psychologists, social workers and special education professionals from 14 primary schools, 1 kindergarten and 6 drop-in centers in the Una-Sana and Posavina Cantons (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The Training was organized by Save the Children UK;
  • 1 Training Course intended to 80 young cultural operators, trained by MURALES RACCS (Fundación Movimiento para la Unidad Regional del Arte y las Expresiones socioculturales de la Región Autónoma Costa Caribe Sur) to use pedagogical methodologies art- based as a tool for social change;
  • 1 Training Course in social circus intended to 20 youths to become operators at the Escuela de la Comedia y el Mimo;
  • 1 Training Course of management, organized by the association COOPI Suisse in collaboration with the University of State of Haiti, intended to 15 youth operators already managing cultural organizations or working as artists in Haiti, to bring out a new generation of cultural operators;
  • 5 Training Courses for 75 teachers from various Cambodian provinces, school directors, trainers from NGOs and provincial, district and ministerial officials for education. The courses aimed at integrating art and play into classrooms, helping children with disabilities during the learning process, stimulating their creativity and facilitating their social integration. The sessions were organized by the Cambodian organizations Rabbit School Organization and Epic Arts and supported by Alta Mane via the Swiss organization Aide et Action;
  • 4 Circus Training offered by Phare Ponleu Selpak to 2 trainers, 30 assistants and 3 staff members of the association Caméléon, hosting victims of violence in Passi, Panay Island (Philippines). The Foundation supported the project via Apprentis d’Auteuil Switzerland;
  • 5 Basic and Follow-up training courses offered by Musicians without Borders to allow 3 Rwandan trainers, 106 Community Leaders in Kigali and 20-30 CML trainees of a clinic and main hospital in Kigali to use music in favour of children and youths living in extremely vulnerable conditions with HIV-AIDS or in refugee camps;
  • 4 Training Courses offered by Musicians Without Borders to allow 60 youths, living in Mahama refugee camp (Rwanda), 45 youths in Kigali, 3 Rwandan trainers and 28 trainees of a clinic and main hospital in Kigali to use music in favour of children and youths living in extremely vulnerable conditions with HIV-AIDS or in refugee camps;
  • 1 Technical-Musical Training for 13 young drummers of the group Slum Drummers of the outskirts of Nairobi (Kenya). The training helped them offer psychosocial support through music to 80 street children in Waithaka (Kenya). Partner: Gruppo per le Relazioni Transculturali (GRT);
  • 4 Training Seminars organized by Solidar Suisse for 16 sociocultural mediators involved in the management of theatre groups, cine-clubs and cultural centers in Bolivia within the LanzArte project;
  • 1 Advanced Course (Matriz das Artes) for 40 young drummers living in the favelas of Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), aspiring to teach drums to the children involved in Projeto Axé;
  • 4 Training Courses in Art-Education (Projeto Axé) for a total of 200 operators and teachers working on social art projects in Brazil;
  • 1 Training Course for the socioeconomically disadvantaged young artists of Fundatia Parada to help them integrate into society and start a professional career at the Academy of Social Arts of Bucharest (Romania).
  • Three-year research project on the effects of art therapy in adolescents (aged 11-18 years) suffering from severe eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia and obesity). The project involved three Swiss hospitals (Regional Hospital in Lugano, Cantonal Hospital in Winterthur and HUG in Geneva) and was coordinated by Fondation Art-Thérapie (Geneva);
  • Realization of a cellular therapy laboratory and support for a scientific experimental research project carried out by the Biopathology and Diagnostic Department at the Tor Vergata University of Rome (Italy). The project aimed at verifying the possibility of using umbilical cord stem cells for bone marrow transplants in patients affected by blood diseases (leukaemia and lymphoma, among others).

Fondation Alta Mane has supported the important strategic development of the Association Axé Italia Onlus for six years (2009-2015). The project was aimed at implementing fundraising activities in favour of Projeto Axé Brazil, therefore contributing to the consolidation of its action in favour of youths living in the favelas of Salvador de Bahia. Finally, the Association intended to spread the ArtEducation methodology, which is based on the Pedagogy of Desire, in Italy to benefit at-risk youths.

Foundation name

The Foundation derives its name from verse 353 of Consolatio ad Liviam Augusta de morte Drusi filli eius qui in Germania de morbo periit, an elegy written by the poet Publius Ovidius Naso (44 BC – 18 AD) for Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus, on the occasion of the early death of her son, Druso Maggiore, in 9 BC.


ALTA MANE supraque tuos exurge dolores

infragilemque animum, quod potes, usque tene.

STAND TALL, and for as long as you can, rise above your pain and your weaknesses.