The Friendly Associations

This association was created on 21 April 2017 by two women from Fribourg with strong links to Edmond Kaiser, his work and his colleagues.

For Anita Chobaz, this link was forged in 1984, when Edmond Kaiser, Sentinelles’ founder, was trying to raise awareness of the plight of young coalminers in Colombia. She created a friends association to support the Colombia programme that lasted until 2016.

Between 2001 and 2008, Anne-Marie Pillonel worked on the implementation and monitoring of the relief programme for girls who are victims of sexual mutilation in Kenya. She was also involved in the relief programme for women in Burkina Faso suffering from obstetric fistulas.

The two women told us: “Over the years, we have followed Sentinelles’ many humble but enduring activities around the world”.

“After the founder’s death, we were happy to see that the spirit of Edmond Kaiser is still alive and well in the crew of the courageous and stubborn good ship Sentinelles.

Our admiration and enthusiasm are still intact after all these years; we would like to inform the people of Fribourg all about the legitimacy of Sentinelles’ fraternal spirit that is so true to the youngest people on our planet”. Anita and Anne-Marie.


To join Sentinelles Fribourg

Banque Cantonale de Fribourg

BCF 17-49-3 IBAN CH56 0076 8300 1446 6640 7

Annual membership fee CHF 30.00


The association Les amis de Sentinelles (LADS) (the Friends of Sentinelles) was set up in 2015 to strengthen the commitment of the Sentinelles Foundation to rescuing wounded innocence, particularly by finding both the human and financial resources necessary for it to act.

Since Sentinelles was set up in 1980, the founding members of the Friends of Sentinelles association have made major commitments to the design and development of programmes, particularly in the field of health. The Sentinelles Foundation has been able to draw on their expertise and investment in the fight against noma.

This commitment, which was the first link between Edmond Kaiser and Professor Denys Montandon, Chair of the Friends of Sentinelles, has been consolidated over the years, both for the medical monitoring of noma patients and for research. It has also enabled the development of a close and lasting collaboration with the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) where children and young adults who cannot be operated on in their own country have been cared for by Professor Brigitte Pittet-Cuénod, and then by Professor Kalbermatten and his team. 

At a later stage, the use of advocacy actions driven by Jean Ziegler, one of the founders of the Friends of Sentinelles, increased awareness among the public and international bodies of the existence of this still largely unknown disease.

To find out about the projects supported by the association, click here.

The association’s statutes can be downloaded here.

To join The Friends of Sentinelles, Geneva

Banque Cantonale Genevoise

IBAN CH93 0078 8000 0505 2577 1

Annual membership fee CHF 50.00



GESNOMA (Geneva Study Group on Noma) is a scientific association founded by Professor Denys Montandon that brings together a number of doctors and scientists from the University of Geneva who are responsible for research into noma. GESNOMA’s main aim is to understand how noma functions and what causes it, in order to find an suitable treatment and to improve prevention strategies.

GESNOMA has published several scientific articles in various prestigious medical journals, such as “Lancet Infectious Diseases”, “Lancet Global Health” and “PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases”.

The GESNOMA research project is ongoing in Niger, thanks to the collaboration with the Sentinelles Foundation and the participation of local health workers.



Professor Denys Montandon

Denys Montandon is a doctor, a specialist in general surgery and in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, a former professor and head of the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).


He is the author of several books and a good deal of research related to his speciality, and is currently devoting himself to the history of his profession and the challenges facing it by publishing essays and articles for a wide audience.

He is also the chair of the association “The Friends of Sentinelles”.



The Association d’entraide des mutilés du visage (AEMV) (Self-Help Association for Disfigured People) was set up in 1979 by Professor Denys Montandon and Fernand Pittet, in order to help people who had been disfigured either by a congenital malformation, an accident, a tumour or an illness. Although it focuses mainly on surgical reconstruction, from its foundation the AEMV has endeavoured to make every effort to help patients overcome their disabilities.