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Catherine Kammermann

Journalist at RTS (Swiss television) until 2013, is now working as a freelance.

“I know these young people from the Digger Foundation; I know them well, and have known them since they began. They have not changed.  They still have their sites firmly fixed on their objectives: to save lives by clearing mine fields.  They do not seeking fame or fortune.  Their aim is to use their engineering skills and know-how “on the ground” to advance a humanitarian cause.

Starting with nothing other than an idea cobbled together in a cellar, these knights from the Jura Mountains set off on their quest to eliminate land mines.  They sailed against the wind and the tides, never became discouraged, always pressed forward with the same drive and determination, and consequently created the necessary technology to accomplish their mission.  Nothing stopped them, neither difficulties raising money, nor technical problems encountered on the ground.  They found solutions that led to advances in securing and clearing mine fields in the wake of a conflict.

The “Diggers,” as I like to call them, have managed to be recognized by the international community as their partners in humanitarian projects.  Even setbacks such as being late with “paydays” has not deterred them. Their enthusiasm is still strong and their pace has never slowed.

One has only to look at them working on their mine clearing tanks. They show a passion for detail, an uncompromising desire to understand every aspect of their work, a drive to discover what can be improved, and the will to strive to make things better.  Here one sees the ancient tradition of expertise, or rather of knowing how to do things well, which, coupled with their love of their work, whatever it may be, characterizes the Bernese from the Juras Mountains. Work is not a commercial commodity.  It is akin to a work of art, with each member of the group giving the best of his time and talents to ensure the success of the enterprise based in Tavannes.

Herein lies the secret of the “Diggers". Their heritage is the heritage of the entire region.  Thus, it is not surprising that they have been supported, first of all by the people of the Bernese region of the Juras Mountains, and ultimately by all of French-speaking Switzerland.

In these self-centered times, when money is king, it is reassuring to visit them in Tavannes.”