Our Programmes

Look through the different fields of work covered by Sentinelles Foundation. You have the possibility of making a search by country or by field of work.

Children martyrs of noma

The head devoured, jaws welded together, the eyes often affected, these are the children of noma.

Noma, or cancrum oris, is a devastating gangrenous infection that develops in the mouth and ravages the facial tissue. Its causes are principally a lack of hygiene and malnutrition.

What we do know is that if discovered in time and with a simple antibiotic, in these still very young children noma can be cured in the first week. Without treatment, noma is fatal in 80% of cases and leaves the survivors in an unbearable state of mutilation.

On the spot, search, treat, feed, accompany. Raise awareness. In Europe, transfer for the most seriously mutilated children inoperable in their own country.

Facts & figures

Countries and intervention areas

Burkina Faso : based in Ouagadougou
Range of influence : the whole country

Niger : based in Zinder
Range of influence : centre, east, south and west of the country

Opening date of programme

1990 : the discovery and taking charge of the first children suffering from noma. 

Principal themes

Treatment Centre, nutrition, social development, awareness-raising, food aid, support for education and professional training.

Achieved in 2013

Burkina Faso

  • 384 children stayed in the Reception Centre
  • 103 children were followed: 94 suffering from noma and 9 suffering from other facial pathologies
  • 31 children operated on and 38 had a consultation during missions, 3 children were transferred to Switzerland
  • 396 sessions raising awareness with health workers (noma prevention) in 100 health centres
  • 133 follow-up visits in the bush
  • 29 children followed at school, 8 young people followed in their professional training.

Niger

  • 1045 children stayed in the Reception Centre
  • 753 children suffering from noma and a cleft lip and palate taken in charge
  • 76 operations for noma and cleft lip and palate
  • 395 consultations and detection of gingivitis
  • 16'746 people in awareness-raising sessions (noma prevention)
  • 1083 family visits in the bush, 148 cases of food aid, 146 children followed in school, 25 cases of financial aid and help with professional training.

Collaborators 2013

Switzerland : 1 programme officer for Niger and 1 programme officer for Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso : 10 local collaborators
Niger : 1 Swiss delegate and 25 collaborators from Niger.

Budget 2013-2014

147'000 CHF (Burkina Faso)
350'950 CHF (Niger)

Niger
Burkina Faso

Dépliant noma.pdf

Medical treatment for children

At the same time as providing help for victims of noma, the discovery of children suffering from other pathologies, wounded, burnt, handicapped or mutilated, left without care, leads us to take charge of them in different countries.

Some children can be treated on the spot by competent surgeons, or during surgical missions organised by Sentinelles or its partners. Others, seriously affected and inoperable in their own countries, sometimes in danger of dying, must be transferred to Switzerland in close collaboration with the specialists and hospitals concerned.

Before his transfer, psychological and medical preparation for the cild, meticulous coordination with the different parties during his stay (medical team, drivers, interpreters, visitors, etc.) and a thorough and sensitive follow up of the child between operating phases at La Maison in Massongex or in a foster family. This accompaniement will continue after the child's return to his family.

Burkina Faso
Madagascar
Niger
Senegal
Switzerland

Girls and women victims of violence

They are between the ages of 2 and 80. They are raped by armed men during raids on their villages and their families often savagely killed before their eyes. When they are hidden away for months in camps in the forest, they come back broken, mutilated, often with a child born of rape.

Others, deprived of any education, married off too young, abandoned by their husbands and families, find themselves with several children to bring up in absolute poverty. Often used as beasts of burden for work in the fields, their daily life and that of their children is nothing but a succession of violence and deprivation.

In 2007, Sentinelles set up in Bukavu a system of aid to give back the means to survive and the strength to live to these amazing, courageous mothers.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Women victims of fistulas

Obstetrical fistulas are principally due to prolonged labour, sometimes several days without medical assistance, but can also be the consequence of genital mutilation and early marriage. If the fistula is situated between the vagina and the bladder (vesicovaginal), urine leaks out permanently and if it is situated between the vagina and the rectum (rectovaginal), the woman can no longer control her stool. In most cases the child dies and the woman suffers from permanent incontinence.

Weeping for their stillborn child, incontinent, ashamed of their repulsive smell, often rejected by their husband and the community, they remain without treatment and without help, when they can be healed.

Sentinelles takes care of the surgical repair of women who would otherwise not have access to this because of a lack of financial means, helping them in this way through personal, long-term accompaniment to regain their health and their dignity.

Facts & figures

Countries and intervention areas

Burkina Faso : based in Fada N’Gourma
Range of influence : east and centre of the country

Opening date of programme

Decembre 2004 

Principal themes

Organisation of surgical missions. Medical and social follow-up. Reintegration in family. Financial support through income generating activities (IGA). Opening of a Reception Centre. Support for schooling and professional training. 

Achieved in 2013

  • 104 Women taken in hand
  • 312 follow-up visits in the villages
  • 49 surgical operations in Burkina and in Benin (44 obstetrical fistulas and 5 prolapses)
  • 147 medical detection consultations and follow-up
  • 461 fawareness-raising sessions with women and families (prevention of obstetrical fistulas)
  • 49 cases of food aid and accompaniment during hospital stays
  • 30 cases of financial aid through income generating activities (IGA). 

Collaborators in 2013

In Switzerland : 1 Programme officer
In Burkina Faso : 1 delegate and 5 collaborators from Burkina Faso

Annual budget

142'177 CHF 

Burkina Faso

Dépliant_Fistules.pdf

Children victims of violence

Within coalminers' families, poor, torn apart by alcohol, drugs, prostitution, violence, are the children, abandoned, maltreated, undernourished, beaten. Cases of sexual abuse are countless, at home, often with the mother's consent, in the mine or on the way to school, against girls (60%) and boys (40%), sometimes from the age of 3.

Protection does not just mean taking the child away from the brutality to which he has been subjected, but also attempting to repair, or at least ease his suffering. Putting him in our Home, a place safe from this destructive violence, so that he can receive food, medical care, security, schooling. And for the children who have suffered from rape and traumatising sexual behaviour, individual and group psychotherapies. And against the abusers, judicial denunciation.

Facts & figures

Country and intervention areas 

Colombia : Minas-Antioquia, Sogamoso, Bogotá

Opening date of programme

1983

Principal themes

Minas-Antioquia : protection, education, health, nutrition, training
Sogamoso : schooling, medical aid, protection
Bogota : social-familial and professional reintegration, health, university training for adults suffering from a handicap.

Achieved in 2013

  • construction of a new safe Home
  • a safe haven in our safe Home for 20 children and adolescents
  • 135 individual therapies for children having suffered sexual abuse
  • 110 children, young people and adults taken in hand and followed.

Collaborators in 2013

Switzerland : 1 Programme officer
Antioquia : 9 Colombian collaborators
Sogamoso : 1 Colombian collaborator
Bogotá : 1 Colombian collaborator

Budget 2013-2014

234’566 CHF

Colombia

Talibe children

Often at a very young age, children are entrusted by their parents to a marabout, head of a daara or boarding school, to learn the Koran. They then become Talibes, or Koranic students, and live in the daara under the sole responsibility of the marabout, who has all rights over them.

In order to eat, the child must go and beg. Dirty, in rags, exposed to all kinds of danger, he wanders the streets holding out his small pan to receive a little food, or begs for a few coins. He will only go home when he has got together the sum demanded each day by the marabout, on pain of corporal punishment. Sick or wounded, it is very rare for him to receive treatment.

Sentinelles' work since 2000: medical treatment for the children, disinfecting the daaras, raising awareness with the marabouts about living conditions and schooling for the children, looking for the parents and making it possible for them to take the children back to their villages.

Senegal

Child martyrs

In order to live and to grow a child is totally dependent on adults and, if he is always their "property", he is also often their prey. The prey and property of active or passive torturers, close to them or distant, parents, family, milieu. States and their institutions, religious powers, customs, etc.

The crushing of a child, whose suffering and death are less important to the deciders than safeguarding families and ideologies.

Deathblows with immediate or delayed effect. Incest, rape. Torture, lack of medical treatment, negligence. Permanent humiliation, deprivation. All forms of brutality or subtle sadism. Snatch him out of his misfortune.

Madagascar
Colombia
Senegal

Child prisoners

Children, big boys, big girls, in prison or in detention or "reeducation" centres. A few weeks, months or years. Forgotten or punished. Serious offences, minor misdemeanours, or nothing at all. But sentences that are often heavy and long. They are there because they have nowhere else to go.

In prison, feed them more, give them medical treatment, love them more. Listen to them, get to know them, gain their confidence. And work towards their freedom.

Outside, take them in and slowly, patiently, teach them how to live and from what. By giving them the means. Do all that we can so that they do not fall back into the same misfortune.

Madagascar

Child guides to the blind

When you have the misfortune to be a little girl, or a little boy, born into a poor family in a poor country. When, in addition, Daddy is blind, Mummy is blind, sometimes both, it is often at around the age of three or four that you have to begin to lead your parents to beg in the street in order to find something to eat. And you beg yourself, as small as you are.

There are thousands of children in the world sacrificed in this way to their parents' blindness and poverty. Deprived of their childhood, without schooling, all these children are destined to a life without joy, if not to misfortune and delinquency.

A blind mother: "If someone gives me something to put in the cooking pot, I will set the child free".

So, to the blind person, enough to eat. To the child freed in this way, food, healthcare, schooling, a trade and the means to practise it.

Senegal

Starving children

Food belongs to everyone, but people die of hunger in their millions. If the planet's development plans are on a slow path, it is now that the little ones are on the ground and a little later that they will die.

They have been cared for, fed and brought back to life, gone home, or back to their hut in the bush, we ensure them a personal, thorough follow up, so that they will never have to come back to live, or die, in the feeding centre that saved them.

Burkina Faso
DRCongo
Madagascar
Niger

 

Senegal

Child guides to the blind

A blind mother or father, sometimes both, and a child's daily life, from the youngest age, takes a path very different from that of his friends. Already from the age of three or four, he will have to begin to guide his parents to beg in the street to find something to eat and beg himself, however small he or she is.

There are thousands of them in the world, deprived of their childhood very early, doomed to beg, to a sad life without play, and a future without prospects.

With a programme active since 1988, the aim of our work is for the children to find their rightful place, with the right to go to school, to have medical treatment, to experience the joys of innocence and no longer have to beg to feed themselves. To offer them the opportunity of a possible and accessible future.

A blind mother : "If someone gives me something to put in the cooking pot, I will free the child”. So, for the blind person, food aid. For the child, medical treatment, school and, later, a profession and the means to pursue it.


Talibe children

A child entrusted to a marabout sometimes at a very young age, so that he will receive a Koranic education. He then becomes a Talibe.

From then on he lives in a daara (boarding school) under the complete responsibility of the marabout. In order to eat, he must go out and beg. Dirty, in rags, open to all dangers, he wanders the streets, holding out his little bowl to receive a little food, or begging for a few coins. He will only go home when he has got the sum often demanded by the marabout, on pain of corporal punishment. Sick or injured, it is rare for him to receive medical treatment.

In the daaras, the conditions are often dramatic. The Talibe often sleep on the floor, without protection from mosquitoes and insects, carriers of many diseases and in dampness during the rainy season.

Sentinelles has been working in 9 daaras for some fifteen years and brings the children the necessary medical treatment and raises awareness amongst the marabouts about living conditions, hygiene, literacy and schooling. Information is provided for the marabouts and the Talibes about different diseases and their prevention. Disinfection / pest control is carried out in the daaras four times each year.When a child is injured or seriously ill, we look for the parents and try to take him back to his family after treatment.

Talibe children, cruelly beaten and coming form daaras not followed by Sentinelles are sometimes discovered in the street. After having treated them and taken them to safety, everything is attempted so that they can continue their lives in their family and go to school or have professional training according to their age.

In parallel, those responsible are denounced to the relevant authorities.


Medical treatment for children

Coming from penniless families, many children remain without treatment through a lack of means. Children victims of serious pathologies, injured, burnt, cardiac, handicapped or mutilated, they are taken in hand by Sentinelles after an in-depth social investigation has been carried out. They will then be treated, insofar as means permit in Senegal. In order to give a sense of responsibility to the family, when they are able to give it, a financial participation is asked for, as small as it might be.

We always favour treatment on the spot by competent surgeons or during operating missions organised by Sentinelles or its partners.

However, children who cannot be operated on in Senegal, sometimes in danger of dying, will be transferred to Switzerland when possible, in close collaboration with the specialists and hospitals concerned (in association with the programme "medical treatment for children in Switzerland").

When a child is taken in hand, his medical and social follow up continues where he lives for as long as his situation demands. When a child is cured, we make sure that he can be enrolled in school or follow professional training.

Facts & figures

Country and intervention zones

Senegal : Regions of Dakar, Thiès, Kaolack Mbour and Fatick

Opening date of program me

1988 (Child Guides to the Blind) and 2001 (Talibes)

Principal themes

Rescue, Defence of rights, Health aid, Education, Social accompaniment, Awareness-raising and information.
Programme for the freeing of child guides to the blind
Programme of rescue and defense of Talibe children
Programme of medical treatment for children in deep distress

Achieved (2013)

846 people helped

  • 192 children of the blind, that is 55 families
  • 620 Talibe children living in 9 daaras and about 10 returned to their families
  • 34 children suffering from serious physical or mental pathologies

Number of collaborators in 2013

Senegal : 1 delegate and 6 local collaborators
Switzerland : 1 programme officer, 1 volunteer supervisor, 1 volunteer accountant

Budget 2013-2014

228,000 CHF

Senegal

Niger

Noma in Niger

Noma, a gangrenous disease of the face attacks the soft and hard tissue of children's faces, principally very young children. Insufficient oral hygiene, a deficient immune system and severe malnutrition are among the factors that form the basis of this disease. Children suffering from noma come from poor families and care given is not limited to medical treatment.

In the Reception Centre in Zinder (in the south of the country), children suffering from noma are taken in hand with medical treatment and an adapted physiotherapy follow up when the sequels limit the mouth opening and so interfere with the vital functions of nutrition. In addition to medical treatment there are other phases of the programme, namely a social follow up, awareness-raising and surgical missions that take place in Niger as well as in Switzerland (taken up by the programme Medical treatment for children).

A social follow up is important to reinforce the hygiene, renutrition and physiotherapy measures for the child, which are assured by a member of the family once they return to the village. This accompaniment can last for several years with visits to the family or to the Reception Centre, notably to support the child through schooling or professional training. Being poor, the families are also supported through food aid (distribution of sacks of millet) and economic aid (loan or gift for a small income generating activity).

As for the awareness-raising plan, it is a matter of informing and training people working in the health sector (in departments, communes, villages) concerning noma, its detection and treatment. Collective information sessions are also organised in the villages to touch the wider population, the local and traditional authorities. The earlier noma is treated, the less important and irreversible the sequels will be.

In very many cases the consequences of noma are handicapping and we must turn to reconstructive surgery to repair the ravages caused by this disease. Surgical missions are organised in Niger for the less complicated sequels that only require one intervention. For the more important aftereffects making further surgery necessary, transfer to Switzerland can be envisaged in conjunction with the programme Medical treatment for children.

In this way a child suffering from this disease is taken care of in a full human dimension.

Facts & figures

Country and intervention zones 

Niger : city of Zinder
Range of influence: Centre, East, South and West of the country

Opening date of programme

1992: the discovery and taking charge of the first children suffering from noma

Principal themes 

Treatment centre, nutrition, social development, awareness-raising, food aid, support for education and professional training

Achieved in 2013

  • 1045 children stayed in the Reception Centre
  • 753 children suffering from noma and cleft were supported and followed
  • 76 children operated from noma and cleft
  • 395 consultations and gingivitis detection
  • 16,746 people have followed raising awareness sessions (noma prevention)
  • 1083 follow-up family visits in the bush, 148 nutrition aid, 146 children followed at school, 25 cases of financial aid and professional trainings

Number of collaborators in 2013

Switzerland : 1 programme officer
Niger : 1 swiss delegate and 25 collaborators from Niger

Budget 2013-2014

350,950 CHF

Niger

Madagascar

Treatment for children

A failing social security and health system and the galloping impoverishment of an important fringe of the population exclude the most vulnerable people from the right to medical assistance.

Lacking the proper treatment, many children suffering from congenital malformations, deformation due to rickets, sequels to accidents or burns, have only the prospect of marginalisation and distress. Sentinelles guarantees them access to quality healthcare and offers their families solid psychosocial accompaniment, with the aim of encouraging continued treatment by their own means.

The majority of operations are carried out by Dr. Aliamus, a French surgeon from the Reunion, and his team, who undertake missions free of charge several times each year. The preoperative and postoperative phases are assured by our team. A social worker is assigned to each patient and his family. He will accompany them during the different stages of the medical and social follow up until autonomy is achieved.


Antohomadinika

Living conditions in Antohomadinika, an extremely vulnerable neighbourhood of the Madagascan capital, are difficult. The area is flooded in the rainy season; malnutrition and diseases linked to the environment are legion. The inhabitants, for the most part skivvies and craftsmen with extremely low incomes, do not have access to medical treatment.

A dispensary managed by a neighbourhood committee and supported by Sentinelles guarantees the local population quality treatment. Our two doctors take it in turns to provide consultations and family planning. They regularly organise campaigns for health promotion and the management of environmental risks.


Women, adolescent and child prisoners

Despite efforts agreed upon by the State and by private organisations, prison conditions in Madagascar are a long way from reaching international standards. Hundreds of prisoners are crowded into unsuitable prisons and their most basic rights are not guaranteed.

Sentinelles is present for prisoners to bring them reassurance, food aid, medical treatment and, in collaboration with other organisations, education and training. In parallel, to strengthen the families of people deprived of their freedom, Sentinelles guarantees them access to treatment, help with housing and the development of micro-projects and contributes towards schooling or professional training for their siblings. All of these actions are linked and directly require the responsibility of each person in respecting and participating in these measures, with the objective of achieving autonomy.


The Right to Be

In a seriously deteriorating economic and social context, sickness, an accident, bad harvests, are all traps leading many families to a precarious situation, a subsistence economy and exclusion.

For people in difficulty, women, children, old people, we take responsibility for their basic necessities, education, training, legal aid and accompany the development of income producing projects.


Young girls, minors, victims of sexual violence

Sexual violence is frequent in Madagascar and when it happens, the whole family system is affected. The vulnerability of some young girls is even greater as they often live near their aggressor and his family and their parents are not always in a position to handle their emotional needs. Sentinelles helps them through a psychological, medical and social follow up and extends its actions to the family.. This programme attempts to reinforce the personal development of these young girls and their capacity to create quality relationships in order to take up the threads of their life once again.


Sentinelles has counselling, reception, medical and training structures at its disposal on a human scale, allowing us to offer the people followed an individual response to their needs.

The "Little Lessons"

Thanks to individualised pedagogy, children and young people have the benefit of personalized teaching methods: learning to read and write, catching up with a view to rejoining the public school system, targeted support in line with a precise professional project. In order to guarantee optimal quality teaching, the number of places is limited to fifteen.

Training workshops

Workshops in dressmaking, handicrafts and industrial knitting are open to people coming from different programmes. These training courses lead either to employment in the textile sector, or to a micro-project.

Micro-credits

In order to strengthen the economic capacity of families, micro-credits are granted. After a course in management, a specialized agent accompanies the beneficiaries in the development of their project.

Social reception centres

These allow young people, children and their families to meet their designated social worker. These moments of exchange, counselling and orientation strengthen the aid relationship and make a rigorous psychosocial follow up easier.

The Reception Centre

Safe haven par excellence, it allows people released from prison, children needing medical treatment or requiring temporary protection measures to find a stopping-off point. Life here is organised on a participation method. Socio-educational, training, cultural, sporting and play activities are planned throughout the year.

The Ambohidahy medical consulting office

Our two doctors take it in turns to guarantee appropriate treatment for the people followed. Apart from ordinary consultations, one ensures weight checks and nutritional recuperation for the children and people suffering from tuberculosis. The other accompanies young girls and women in the choice of a family planning method and ensures mother and child care. In addition, health promotion campaigns are organised regularly.

The physiotherapy clinic

Three times each week our physiotherapist welcomes the little patients suffering from orthopaedic problems. She prepares them for surgical procedures and ensures the postoperative follow up. She includes the mothers in the process of re-education by teaching them exercises to carry out at home.

Facts & figures

Country and intervention zones

Madagascar: Headquarters in Antananarivo
Range of influence in centre, east and south of country

Opening date of programme

1987

Principal themes

Psychosocial accompaniment and family, social and professional reintegration for the young boys and girls and mothers imprisoned with their children, support for education, professional training and employment, the development of micro-projects.
Orthopaedic treatment
Dispensary

Achieved in 2013

Anjanamasina Re-education Centre

  • 171 boys followed in the Re-education Centre
  • 153 followed on the outside
  • 240 brothers and sisters enrolled in school
  • 56 young people in professional training, of whom 16 are boarders
  • 16 rape victims followed

Antanimora Central Prison

  • 55 girls followed, of whom 37 on the outside
  • 80 mothers with children followed in prison
  • 65 women training in our workshops
  • 50 children in our kindergarten
  • 73 mothers followed on the outside
  • 62 children enrolled in school

Orthopaedic treatment

  • 70 children followed
  • 16 operated on
  • 29 children fitted with apparatus
  • 47 children in physiotherapy
  • 80 children enrolled in school

Antohomadinika Dispensary

  • 3496 medical consultations
  • 6 health promotion campaigns

Aid structures

  • 31 Reception Centre, residents
  • 3579 consultations at Ambohidahy Medical Office
  • 366 social consultations
  • 141 micro-credits

Other activities

  • 96 dance and music lessons
  • 32 parents' meetings
  • 697 trips to court
  • 60,000 km covered for home visits
  • 20,200 kg of food support
  • 49 housing aids
  • 22 health promotion workshops

Number of collaborators in 2013

Madagascar : 41 collaborators
Switzerland : 1 programme officer, 1 administrative assistant, 1 supervisor

Budget 2013-2014

381,000 CHF

Madagascar

Switzerland

Programme medical treatment for children in Switzerland

The principal pathology treated in this programme is noma, which gives rise to important functional and aesthetic aftereffects (see Programme noma).

In 1990, following the transfer of two children from Burkina Faso with faces seriously devoured by noma, a mechanism was put into place to search for other children suffering from the disease, hidden away, pushed aside, forgotten, firstly in Burkina Faso, then in Niger.

The repair surgery, which allows us to restore the faces of these children, includes plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, as well as maxillofacial surgery. This treatment demands very important technical and human means and depending on the nature and the gravity of the sequels, it may not be possible in the child's country of origin. In this case he is transferred to Switzerland to receive the treatment to which he has a right.

Noma is the principal pathology requiring transfer but, exceptionally, other pathologies can necessitate treatment in Switzerland (cardiology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic).

Facts & figures

Country and intervention zones

Switzerland

Opening date of programme

1990: following the transfer of two children from Burkina Faso with faces devoured by noma 

Principal themes

The transfer to Switzerland of children/adolescents/adults for whom treatment is not possible in their own country.

Noma is the principal pathology requiring transfer. Exceptionally, other pathologies can necessitate a transfer (cardiac, orthopaedic, ophthalmologic).

Achieved in 2013

  • 12 surgical procedures
  • 8 children transferred
  • 54 medical consultations

Help and follow up in Europe since the opening of the programme

  • 210 children/adolescents from Niger
  • 94 children/adolescents from Burkina Faso
  • 54 children/adolescents from other countries

Collaborators in 2013

1 collaborator at 70% and 1 collaborator at 20%

Numerous surgeons, doctors, dentists and professional paramedics, people providing transport and visitors are present as volunteer workers.

Budget 2013-2014

138,000 CHF

Switzerland

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Girls and women victims of violence

Since 2007, Sentinelles has kept in place a programme of help for women and children living in extremely difficult conditions. Women raped by armed men during raids carried out on their villages, others deprived of any education, abandoned by their husbands and family find themselves with several children to bring up, alone, in the most complete destitution.

When we meet them, they are living in rickety shacks, sometimes on the point of falling down, where the roofs can no longer keep out the rain, abundant in this region of the Congo. More often than not, the family sleeps on the floor, or on a few rags and even the most basic cooking utensils are missing. Their children in rags, dirty, often sick and malnourished, but without treatment because of a lack of financial means.

Firstly, we must ensure the family's safety by renovating the shack; the community often participates in the work and we help by supplying the material. Giving the children necessary medical treatment and enrolling them in school is also a priority. It is important to provide financial aid for the mother rapidly, so that she can ensure food for the family.

The mothers generally choose to open a little retail business: the sale of palm oil, flour or other foodstuffs, different produce. The business allows the women to obtain an immediate income and to feed their children, then progressively to assume other responsibilities.

With a modest investment of 30 or 40 dollars, many of them manage to improve their living conditions after a few months and to increase their capital. Meals are now taken daily, the children look better, they have been able to buy a goat and a smile returns gently to their faces.

The rigorous and personalized follow up, regular visits and advice from our collaborators encourage and help the mothers to succeed in their activities and to regain confidence. This accompaniment is essential to put each one of them "back on track” and to offer these women and their children a happier future.

Facts & figures

Country and intervention zones 

DR Congo : Sud Kivu (Bukavu)

Opening date of programme

April 2007

Principal themes 

Support and accompaniment for women victims of the violence of war, abandoned with their children (income generating activities, food aid, medical treatment, schooling and professional training, help with housing).

Achieved in 2013

  • 54 families benefited from direct support, that is about 240 people
  • 11 houses constructed or renovated
  • 47 children enrolled in school
  • 2 young people following professional training

Number of collaborators in 2013

Switzerland: 1 programme officer
DRCongo: 3 Congolese collaborators

Budget 2013-2014

117,367 CHF (2013)
107,749 CHF (2014)

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Burkina Faso

Women suffering from fistulas

They are tens of thousands who suffer from obstetrical fistulas, provoking urinary and sometimes faecal incontinence, following long and difficult births in their villages.

Fistulas are lesions of the bladder, the urethra, the ureters, the vagina or sometimes the rectum. The consequences of this pathology are the development of urinary or renal infections and lead to great social suffering for these women, often turned away from their families and repudiated. Rejected by everyone, some become real pariahs of society.

Still today, too many women give birth in a hut and do not benefit from any access to medical care. The principal reason is the geographic isolation of the places where they live. Ignorance, the lack of financial means, early marriage and excision are some others.

In 2005, Sentinelles opened an office in Fada N'Gourma. The search for women victims of fistulas began. Visits are made to dispensaries, health centres and community centres to raise awareness about this illness among the staff and to talk to them about our work so that they can send the women concerned to us.

Surgical missions are organised in different hospital centres in Burkina Faso, as well as in Tanguiéta in the north of Benin. The women discovered can be operated on by specialist and competent surgeons, local and from overseas, who attempt to give them back their health and a more dignified life.

Our collaborators are present during these missions and accompany the women, encourage and support them during this difficult time. They teach the women the specific physiotherapy exercises that they will have to do after their operation. They also advise, make them aware of the importance of hygiene, care for their children, how they must act after their operation and during their convalescence in order to avoid a recurrence.

At the end of 2013, we opened a small reception centre to ensure a period of convalescence for the women operated on. We had noticed in earlier years that they were exposed to relapses despite our regular home visits.

Released from hospital, they spend between 1 and 3 months in the Centre depending on their needs. They can, if they so wish, train in different activities such as, amongst other things, weaving, dyeing materials, making soap or the transformation of shea butter. These are activities that they can continue once they return home and which will ensure them financial autonomy.

Once home again, we visit each woman at her home or in a health centre three times during the year following her operation to be sure that all is well. During the last visit, she is examined by a health professional for a final medical assessment if she is cured. If this is not the case, we will suggest that she is operated on again if she wishes. It is quite often the case that a woman, especially if her fistula is old, must be operated on several times before being cured.


Burkina Faso: noma programme

Noma is a non-contagious disease, infectious in origin, developing in the oral mucosa, leading to the destruction of the soft and hard tissue of the face. If the exact cause has not yet been identified, malnutrition, bad oral hygiene and weakness of the immune system appear at the top of a list of risk factors.

In Burkina Faso, the headquarters of the Noma Programme are in Ouagadougou, within a Reception Centre, which allows us to take in 25 children and adults suffering from noma each month.

A multidisciplinary team made up of 10 collaborators from Burkina Faso is committed on a daily basis to searching for, treating and accompanying them individually, if necessary for the long term.

Detection: information sessions on noma are provided for health workers, the aim being to be able to diagnose the disease, to act appropriately and to refer the sick person rapidly to a competent structure.

Medical treatment: emergency treatment for patients in the acute phase; reconstructive surgery on the spot or in Switzerland for the most complex situations; pre/postoperative physiotherapy.

Medico-social accompaniment: information and advice on subjects such as nutrition, hygiene, malaria; follow up of schooling or professional training; economic aid projects. This follow up, carried out at the Reception Centre and during regular home visits, allows us to ensure the good state of health of the child and modify the care given if necessary.

One of the next missions in the Programme is to make this disease known to the greatest number of people possible through an awareness-raising campaign destined for village populations.

Facts & figures

Countries and intervention areas 

Noma programme : based in Ouagadougou
Range of influence : the whole country
Fistulas programme : based in Fada N’Gourma
Range of influence : east and centre of the country

Opening date of programme

1990 : the discovery and taking charge of the first children suffering from noma
2004 : opening of the programme for women suffering from fistulas

Principal themes

Noma programme : treatment centre, nutrition, social development, awareness-raising, food aid, support for education and professional training
Fistulas programme : organisation of surgical missions. Medical and social follow-up. Reintegration in family. Financial support through income generating activities (IGA). Opening of a Reception Centre. Support for schooling and professional training

Achieved in 2013

Noma programme
  • 384  children stayed in the Reception Centre
  • 103 children were followed: 94 suffering from noma and 9 suffering from other facial pathologies
  • 31 children operated on and 38 had a consultation during missions, 3 children were transferred to Switzerland
  • 396 sessions raising awareness with health workers (noma prevention) in 100 health centres
  • 133 follow-up visits in the bush
  • 29 children followed at school, 8 young people followed in their professional training
Fistulas programme
  • 104 women taken in hand
  • 312 follow-up visits in the villages
  • 49 surgical operations in Burkina and in Benin (44 obstetrical fistulas and 5 prolapses)
  • 147 medical detection consultations and follow-up
  • 461 fawareness-raising sessions with women and families (prevention of obstetrical fistulas)
  • 49 cases of food aid and accompaniment during hospital stays
  • 30 cases of financial aid through income generating activities (IGA)

Number of collaborators in 2013

Switzerland : 1 officer for noma programme and 1 for fistulas programme
Burkina Faso : 10 local collaborators for noma programme ; 1 delegate and 5 collaborators from Burkina Faso for fistulas programme

Budget 2013-2014

147,000 CHF (noma programme)
142,177 CHF (fistulas programme)

Burkina Faso

Histoire de vie_fistule.pdf

Colombia

Children Victims of Violence

Within coalminers' families, poor, torn apart by alcohol, drugs, prostitution, violence, are children, abandoned, maltreated, undernourished, beaten. Cases of sexual abuse are countless, at home, often with the mother's consent, in the mine or on the way to school, against girls (60%) and boys (40%), sometimes from the age of 3.

Protection does not just mean taking the child away from the brutality to which he has been subjected, but also attempting to repair, or at least ease his suffering. Putting him in our Home, a place safe from this destructive violence, so that he can receive food, medical care, security, schooling. And for the children who have suffered from rape and traumatising sexual behaviour, individual and group psychotherapies. And against the abusers, judicial denunciation.

Facts & figures

Country and intervention areas 

Colombia : Minas-Antioquia, Sogamoso, Bogotá

Opening date of programme

1983

Principal themes

Minas-Antioquia : protection, education, health, nutrition, training
Sogamoso : schooling, medical aid, protection
Bogota : social-familial and professional reintegration, health, university training for adults suffering from a handicap.

Achieved in 2013

  • construction of a new safe Home
  • a safe haven in our safe Home for 20 children and adolescents
  • 135 individual therapies for children having suffered sexual abuse
  • 110 children, young people and adults taken in hand and followed.

Collaborators in 2013

Switzerland : 1 Programme officer
Antioquia : 9 Colombian collaborators
Sogamoso : 1 Colombian collaborator
Bogotá : 1 Colombian collaborator

Budget 2013-2014

234’566 CHF

Colombia