|Creation of Maison Chance|
During an extensive trip throughout Asia in 1993, Aline Rebeaud arrived in Vietnam. While visiting Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) one evening, she found a child all alone on a street corner sobbing inconsolably. She quickly became aware of the desperate conditions that orphans must have had to endure when forced to live out on the streets.
A second encounter changed her life. She was visiting a psychiatric asylum when she met Thanh, who was just 12 years old at the time. He was barely alive and chained to the floor. His state of health was catastrophic and everyone was convinced that he was about to die. But Aline refused to accept this diagnosis and took it upon herself to look after him. She brought him to a hospital where he received treatment for his liver, lung and heart conditions. In Vietnam, hospital treatments are very basic. Family or friends must perform tasks that would normally be performed by nurses and staff, such as providing food and feeding patients. So Aline took care of Thanh and stayed with him all throughout the three long months that he was hospitalized.
When Thanh was discharged from the hospital, Aline was christened “Tim” by the other patients, who showed her what they meant by pointing to a sign in the hospital that read: Benh Vien Tim Mach (Cardiology Hospital), where the word “Tim” translates to “heart” in Vietnamese.
The solidarity between the orphans and the disabled
While visiting different hospitals, Tim met many different patients with severe disabilities. These people, paralyzed as a result of workplace accidents, were living under desperate circumstances. All too often, they find themselves abandoned and disowned by their own family and friends.
Tim conceived the idea of combining these two groups with special needs: the disabled people, mostly adults wishing to start a family, but in need of permanent assistance; and the abandoned orphans and street children who had no parents or siblings to care for them. From this point forward, many other disabled people and orphans joined Tim and Thanh and became part of their extended family.
In 1996, Tim made contact with some friends in Lyon, France. They decided to get involved and join her in her commitment to the underprivileged. This is how the first Maison Chance Association was created in Lyon. That same year, a second Association, also named Maison Chance, was formed in Lausanne, Switzerland. In May 2006, a third Maison Chance Association was created in Belgium. In March 2008, a fourth was created in the US, followed by Canada a few months later. The most recent Maison Chance Association in Australia was created in August 2010.
Until early 2006, the tiny Maison Chance shelter served as a home, school and a training center to its beneficiaries, all at the same time! After ten years of existence, the overcrowded conditions and ever increasing demand made it absolutely necessary to expand the structure. Hence, the Take Wing Center was born. Eventually, all of the educational and vocational training activities were transferred to the Take Wing Center.
The entire shelter at Maison Chance now houses approximately 50 beneficiaries. Medical care and rehabilitation treatment for the disabled are conducted on the premises, except in cases where the medical condition is so severe that it would require a surgical operation and hospitalization becomes necessary.
The Take Wing Center was inaugurated on February 18, 2006. About 180 underprivileged children from the surrounding neighborhood, along with the residents of Maison Chance, receive schooling at this center. Simultaneously, approximately 50 people are employed or apprenticed in one of the four workshops. The vocational training programs include drawing and painting, sewing, computer and data-processing, as well as small carpentry. Those who complete their training have the possibility of continuing their chosen vocation in a workshop that maintains a regular production, and would assure a regular workload, as well as a salary. Being paid a salary enables them to be self-sufficient and regain a measure of their independence.
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"Give A Man A Fish,
Feed Him for A Day.
Teach A Man to Fish,
Feed Him for A Lifetime"
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