AUSY supports the organisation Burns and Smiles

27 June 2018
400,000. That’s the number of people who are victims of burn injuries in France each year, of which 9,000 are hospitalised. It’s a shocking number, because it is rare to see serious burn victims in public spaces. From feelings of unease, fear of others’ glances and of rejection, many isolate themselves. The organisation Burns and Smiles was created in order to help these people in their daily struggle.

In June 2015, Laurent Gaudens, former Project Director in Telecoms and Founder of Emerit Consulting, decided to embark on a new adventure: Burns and Smiles. This subject is close to his heart: at the age of 4, he was burned by a barbecue backfiring. While growing up, he underwent numerous surgical operations and witnessed that the outside world was not well-adapted to the difficulties of burn victims. He decided to create his own organisation, of which the main goal is to bring together victims and help them in their daily lives.

Burns and Smiles intervenes after burn victims have been re-educated, taking them under its wing and guiding them in their new life. The organisation helps them in re-integrating and in order to do that, the organisation has four main missions:

  • It operates an active private Facebook group: Today, the association has 560 members and it wishes to expand its circle by bringing  new burn survivors together. This virtual place provides genuine moral support, giving people the possibility to converse with people who have experienced the same thing as them. They can also find responses to their questions thanks to input from professionals.
  • It helps victims emerge from isolation: To fulfil this goal successfully, the organisation has already set up two major events. The first, called “Smiles Aperos”, invites burn survivors to come together in a public place to have a drink and converse. Behind this ordinary outing is a substantive goal: having them face being viewed by strangers. The second event is the “B&S Week”, in which burn survivors go to a spa for five days to help them rebuild their self-esteem. Thermal care happens in the morning, conferences and workshops take place in the afternoon and the days finish with friendly gatherings, such as dinner at a restaurant.
  • It raises awareness among the general public: Burn survivors often face being looked at by others: between blunders and rejections, isolation is frequent. Therefore, it is necessary to transform the apprehension of others into goodwill in order to help them be reintegrated. This action has been seen especially in the release of advertising films. Last year, the organisation took home a Lion d’Or in its category during the Cannes Lion Festival. This year, the new film, “Aidons les brûlés à sortir de l’ombre” (Let’s Help Burn Survivors Leave the Shadows), was made in a shorter format in order to adapt it for TV and for the cinema. It came out on May 1 on the organisation’s website and social networks and is part of an awareness campaign: #ChangeonsDeRegard.

burns and smiles

  • It will financially support burn survivors: The organisation is facing problems with donations, which are useful in financially supporting burn survivors. Thus, it is working on a new project: creating an emergency assistance fund. With surgeon fees, the elevated prices of specialised cosmetic procedures or travel costs to deal with, burn survivors can encounter real financial challenges.

Contemplating self-esteem, a theme that is at the core of Burns and Smiles, made it possible to generate the creation of a completely independent beauty institute: Dulcenae. Its main special feature is its socio-aestheticism. Its goal is to offer psychological help and aesthetic care that are adapted to the needs of people suffering. This institute will not only welcome burn survivors, but is open to all people vulnerable to specific illnesses. It will first open at the beginning of July in Paris and should launch in the near future in other French regions and abroad (Brussels and London), creating a truly localised service.

With its actions and its growing reputation, the organisation needed a website better adapted to its needs. Thus, AUSY provides assistance on this aspect and gives the organisation technical support. Currently, the Group is working on the second version of the website and is implementing a more modern and pure design as well as more robust technology. The objective of this new tool is to handle peaks in traffic, support future improvements and convey a good image of the organisation. It is set to be online in September 2018.

AUSY also wishes to support the organisation for the professional reintegration of its members. Within the framework of this project, the Group will train its HR teams within a new recruitment process. This will include rereading CVs, simulating interviews and some personal counselling. It will also offer e-learning opportunities to burn survivors in order to increase their skills and thus hire engineers or those in central functions (sales, marketing, accounting, communication, etc.) within this group.

Thanks to its many projects, a bright future is taking shape for this organisation. As Laurent Gaudens would say, it is necessary “to always see life on the bright side and smile when others look at you. That’s the ‘Smile’ in Burns and Smiles.”

For more information on this topic, please head to the Facebook page for Burns and Smiles as well as its website.