Vulnerable children of Burkina Faso are not forgotten

Hundreds of thousands of people in Burkina Faso are fleeing violence from jihadist groups, largely taking place away from the eyes of Western news media. It is the world’s most neglected humanitarian crisis, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

As is so often the case, the ones who pay the highest cost in this crisis are the most vulnerable: children with disabilities. The Liliane Fonds’ partner organisations do what they can to give them the proper support.

Search for safety

In the border region with neighbouring Mali, many villagers seek safety in the provincial capital of Nouna. These people primarily depend on agriculture, so when they have to flee their country, they lose their income and the main source of food for their children.

Because the situation outside the city is too dangerous, our partner organisation OCADES’ programmes for children with disabilities in the surrounding villages have ground to a halt. It means children can no longer attend school and miss out on the medical care and psychosocial support they so desperately need. Social programmes aimed at the social inclusion of children with disabilities can also not continue.

Under pressure

In Nouna itself, partner organisation OCADES is under mounting pressure due to the greatly increased number of children in need of help and support. After all, many families from other regions also moved to the city. OCADES estimates that over 16,000 children with disabilities currently reside in the city, while the total population in 2019 was only around 32,000.

OCADES does not have the capacity and resources to support all those children: in 2023, their programmes reached 275 children with disabilities. Of necessity, the focus of OCADES is now on organising the basic needs of as many children as possible; programmes aimed at the structural improvement and development of their position are on the back burner.

Despite the major challenges and shaky security situation, the organisation continues to look for ways to still reach people, even when this is not physically possible. For example, OCADES provides reliable information aimed at families of children with disabilities through special radio programmes.

OCADES can obviously continue to count on the financial and organisational support of the Liliane Foundation in their crucial work: we do not avert our gaze from the vulnerable children of Burkina Faso.