Maison Chance, Envol

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

15 January - 15 March 2003, Ho Chi Minh Ville, Viet Nam


Maison Chance, Envol

Project details

The Maison Chance Association works in favor of the disabled and orphans in an underprivileged district of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The immediate objectives of the Association are: to give the beneficiaries a home in order to find personal stability; to offer them the opportunity to finish their schooling; and to provide them with vocational training. Our long-term objective is to help our beneficiaries to acquire professional skills that will enable them to become financially autonomous and to successfully reintegrate into society.

Maison Chance was created in 1993 by Aline Rebeaud, a young Swiss artist. It is the outcome of her personal commitment to the most disadvantaged sector of society in Vietnam.

During an extensive trip throughout Asia, Aline arrived in Vietnam. She was visiting a psychiatric asylum when she met Thanh, who was just twelve years old. He was barely alive, chained to the floor.  His state of health was catastrophic and everyone was convinced that he was about to die.  But Aline refused to listen to this diagnostic and took it upon herself to look after him. She took him to hospital so he could receive treatment for his liver, lung and heart conditions. In Vietnam, hospital treatment is so basic that family or friends must perform much of the work normally done by nurses and must also provide food for the patient. She took care of him and stayed with him all through the three long months that he was in hospital, paying for the treatment by selling her paintings. When they came out of hospital, Aline was christened "Tim" by the other patients who showed her the sign in the hospital: "Tim Mach": Cardiology Hospital; "Tim" means "heart" in Vietnamese.

When visiting different hospitals in the region, Tim met many patients with severe disabilities.  These people, paralyzed as a result of accidents at work, also live in desperate circumstances, all too often abandoned as well by their friends and family.  Tim came up with the idea of combining these two groups: 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 father or mother, big brother or sister.

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 Association "Maison Chance" was created in Lyon.  In the same year, a second Association, also named "Maison Chance", was formed in Lausanne, Switzerland.  In May, 2006, a third "Maison Chance" Association was born in Belgium.
In June 1998, the Association Maison Chance became a non-governmental organization, (N.G.O.), officially recognized by the Vietnamese authorities.  It obtained its first license to operate in Vietnam.  Since this time, this license, which gives Maison Chance the legal right to function, is regularly renewed.

Until the beginning of 2006, the tiny Maison Chance shelter was a home, a school and a training center, all at the same time, for the beneficiaries. After ten years of existence, the overcrowded conditions and ever increasing demand made it absolutely essential to expand the structure. Hence was born the Take Wings Center.

All the education and vocational training activities were transferred to the center. The entire surface of the Maison Chance building now serves as a home where approximately 50 beneficiaries live. The disabled receive care and rehabilitation treatment, for the most part on the premises. When more serious treatment and operations are required, the patients must be hospitalized.

The Take Wings Center was inaugurated on 18th February, 2006.  More than 180 deprived children from the neighborhood, as well as the residents of Maison Chance, receive schooling at this center.  Simultaneously, approximately 40 people are employed or are apprentices in one of our four workshops (painting, sewing, computer and data-processing and working with bamboo. The workshop activities are separated into two spheres: training, (with a teacher for each workshop), and production.  Those who have completed their training have the possibility of continuing their profession in the workshops. Being paid a salary enables them to live independently. The products manufactured in the workshops are sold in Vietnam and abroad, (mainly in Switzerland, France and Belgium). 

Role of ICVolunteers

Plusieurs traducteurs volontaires ont aidé avec la traduction de documents pour la Maison Chance.

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