The smiles of children


Laabo Biiga, meaning “smiles of children”, is a humanitarian association that develops projects for children in sector 27 of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The hardworking dedicated president is Sylvie Rouffe from Pézenas.

You may have seen her selling crêpes with her husband Franck at the Cracker Fair, where she raises vital money for the charity.

We asked Sylvie to tell us a bit more about the charity.

“Having a deep knowledge of this territory, we have been struck by the malnutrition and poverty faced by entire families. Our long-term goal is to help these children develop, grow and have access education. The more children who survive and study, means more future adults to contribute to the development of the country.”

The main projects for the Association focus on the fight against malnutrition and the support for education.

The malnutrition project is called “Maquis-Babies”.

Maquis-Babies – what is it?

A Maquis is a traditional place to eat in Burkina Faso. It’s a communal place where people eat together.

A Maquis-Babies is a nod to the traditional maquis, but designed for giving nutritional education, and the sale and distribution of enriched porridge (bouillies enrichies).

The bouillies enrichies, “BCL” is liquified concentrated porridge, recommended by WHO.

Sylvie explained “We are supporting a BAMISA project, which has been in operation for more than 30 years.” 

There are four goals with the Maquis-Babies project, which Sylvie described.

Nutrition. Improve how to make the enriched porridge.

Education. Give the mothers essential information about their child’s nutrition.

Prevention. Prevent children from becoming malnourished. Inform about good breastfeeding practices.

Social – Organise the distribution of porridge, create a friendly place and encourage participation.

“Often the mothers feel guilty about lack of finance means, so we want to make it a place where they are at ease, and happy to stay and learn about how to make the porridge. We also encourage mothers to feed their children there, creating a traditional Maquis environment.

“When the mother has assimilated the technique of preparation and the necessity to give it to her child from the age of 6 months, in addition to breastfeeding, she can buy the flour (at cost) for use in her home, or continue to frequent the maquis and buy the ration daily. Our goal is the sustainable improvement of child health, and the fight against severe acute malnutrition. The project also brings mothers closer to health services through awareness raising to follow the child’s height-weight curve and development.

“One sachet of the porridge makes eight meals, and we sell the bags at cost price – 60c, so that they are accessible to as many mothers as possible. Some can’t afford even that, so the more donations we get, the more accessible the porridge will be to those who need it.”

Sophie works tirelessly for the Laabo Biiga association, and every small donation helps. If you want to help, you can be assured that every cent goes directly to help these malnourished babies. You can donate here on a site which Sylvie has recently set up.

A €30 donation will provide food for a malnourished baby for three months. If you can’t afford €30, it’s fine to donate a much smaller amount.

As Sylvie reminds us, “Every crêpe we sell makes a difference to someone, every €30 we raise, we can guide a baby from a malnutritioned state, to a healthy one with a future.”

Donate to Laabo Biiga here.