#conversation n°7

Nao: a schoolfriend for children with disabilities

The Association Notre-Dame de Neuilly-sur-Seine school uses two Nao humanoid robots to help children with multiple motor disabilities acquire knowledge and understand emotions. The project is being led by a CNP Assurances employee and funded by the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation.

Cédric Fiederer

Father of 9-year-old Gabriel


Delphine Moreau



Sylvie Chaumont-Vallon

Head of the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation



Nao was initially designed as an IT and robotics research tool by a French start-up. Now, almost by accident, it is proving to be an invaluable aid to autistic children. Learning applications have been developed and Nao has been introduced into specialist educational institutions. Around 200 Nao robots are now in use, mainly in the USA and UK. In France, the first Nao robots came into service in Neuilly as part of an ongoing experiment. Nao is a humanoid, autonomous and interactive robot; it is the ideal assistant and, crucially, it is programmable. Aside from its educational content, children can determine how the robot behaves, get it to dance or write a story that the robot then recites. The school’s children took to the robots immediately. They were named David and Nana, and they became the children’s mascots. Children are much more motivated to learn and find it easier to answer questions asked by a robot than by a teacher. Teachers are also positive about the experiment, although things were tricky at first and bugs frequently arose. Programming the robots and seeing the results give students a real sense of pride, which is invaluable when educating children with learning disabilities.

Nao hailed by teachers 

At France’s 2016 innovative teachers’ conference, the panel of judges awarded the inclusive education prize to the Nao school project. Inclusive education means the right of all children to have a high-quality education that meets their essential learning needs and enriches their lives. The award is especially appropriate for this humanoid robot, which has been adopted by children with motor disabilities, and it means that the work done by teachers at the Association Notre-Dame school has been recognised by their peers.

A health-focused Ideas Box

The people who are the hardest to reach are often those who need prevention messages the most. The CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation has decided to reach out to them in priority neighbourhoods and rural areas, working with Bibliothèques Sans Frontière (BSF, Libraries Without Borders) and its Ideas Box. This portable media centre, which is transported on two pallets and can be set up in less than 20 minutes, provides 100 m² of educational, connected and creative space dedicated to promoting health. There are no taboos, and topics include nutrition, drugs, sex, unhappiness, access to rights and care. The project was developed by the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation’s healthcare experts.


25 years'

action addressing public healthcare issues


This is the core purpose of the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation. The Foundation supports projects that focus on healthcare and improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable citizens.
As part of the Alliance pour l’Education, the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation is working to stop children dropping out of education. It gives children attending priority education schools in the Paris region the chance to attend illness prevention courses, day trips to the forest to learn more about nature and the world around them, and sessions to help them prepare for a national diploma, including stress management workshops and revision coaching.

With Unis-Cités, a longstanding civic service organisation in France, the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation encourages young volunteers to raise their peers’ awareness of health problems, risk factors at parties and addictive behaviour. In 2017, the CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation donated another €125,000 and invested in setting up a health-focused e-learning module for Unis-Cités’ 3,500 civic service volunteers.

CNP Assurances Corporate Foundation is working with food retail chain AGORAé to help low-income students maintain a healthy, balanced diet, by funding subsidised grocery stores. In 2017, it will donate €50,000 to six new stores in Clermont-Ferrand, Besançon, Créteil, Versailles, Nantes and Toulouse.

Saving lives

Since 2019, the Foundation has financed the installation of 3,200 defibrillators, as well as providing potentially life-saving training in more than 2,100 communities.  In 2016, it helped Corsica’s national park to install 16 defibrillators in huts along the GR 20, one of Europe’s most famous hiking trails.