The Organisation

Asmae is an international solidarity organisation founded by Sister Emmanuelle, which puts the condition of children at the centre of its focus.

Faithful to the values of its founder and fully committed, Asmae’s teams ensure the continuation of the organisation by promoting listening, community, reciprocity and respecting others and their differences.


Sister Emmanuelle had been living in Egypt for several years, where she taught literature to young children. In 1971, she discovered the terrible living conditions of the ragpickers of Cairo. Their only way to make a living remains salvaging waste. Ignored and despised by the rest of society, Sister Emmanuelle decided to join them to help them find the strength and will to improve their lives.

1980 :

After her long experience living among the ragpickers of Cairo, Sister Emmanuelle decided to create an official organisation to help get all the resources necessary to step up her work with the most disadvantaged children across the world.

1987/1989/1995 :

Asmae’s work expands with a new-found presence in Lebanon in 1987, followed by the Philippines in 1989 and Burkina Faso in 1995. This is done through partnerships to promote strong connections with local communities and sustainable work. Asmae supports and assists many organisations working in these countries.

1999 :

Asmae becomes a recognised not-for-profit organisation.

2006 :

Asmae opens a support centre for young mothers in Bobigny (93). Sister Emmanuelle alerts the public to social issues and speaks about the great emotional suffering many families are facing across France.

2014 :

The “Yalla! For children’s rights” project is launched to raise awareness of children’s rights in primary and secondary schools across France.

Today :

Asmae operates in 6 countries: Lebanon, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, the Philippines and France. Today, Asmae enjoys great expertise and unique know-how, gained in the fields of education, child protection and community development.

“I won’t live another 99 years, but when I’m gone, it’s up to you! You, here, listening, each one of you must help my organisation continue saving thousands of children across the world… So now I’m speaking to each one of you, eye to eye, to tell you I am counting on you to make the future even more beautiful than the present thanks to you.”

Sister Emmanuelle

Sister Emmanuelle

Sister Emmanuelle is a woman outraged by misery and injustice, she is a model of commitment, a pioneer in humanitarian work.

1908 :

Born Madeleine de Cinquin in Brussels on 16 November 1908, she is from a French-Belgian family. She spends her childhood travelling between Paris, London and Brussels.

1930 :

Madeleine Cinquin takes her religious vows in the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion and takes the name Emmanuelle.

1931 to 1963 :

Sister Emmanuelle leaves to go teach literature in Turkey and Tunisia. During this period, she felt a desire to help the poor.

1971 :

Sister Emmanuelle retires and asks to live with and for the poorest of society. She goes to Cairo to live with the ragpickers in a hut in the slum known as Ezbet El Nakhl. It was at this moment in time that she began her fight to improve their living conditions, especially those of the children.

1980 :

The creator of Asmae opens the Salam Centre in Egypt which includes a free clinic, a maternity ward, a nursery school and a social club. She then moves to the slum of Mokattam where she helps build a school, houses, and nursery schools for those who live there.

1985 :

Sister Emmanuelle travels to southern Sudan and is outraged by the living conditions of the children in refugee camps around Khartoum. She calls on French and European leaders to release urgent humanitarian aid.

1987/1989/1995 :

Sister Emmanuelle travels to Lebanon where she decides to expand her relief efforts. She then travels to the Philippines and Burkina Faso to develop projects surrounding education and child protection.

2002 :

Sister Emmanuelle is promoted to the title of Commander and then elevated to Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour.

2008 :

Sister Emmanuelle dies at the age of 99.