Van Anh, Trinh and Mrs. Charlotte Gripon

Every day a lot of unfortunate people are living around us in difficult situations. They must bear physical and mental suffering but they keep hope and a strong desire to live. They work very hard to have a better life.  

I would like to tell you to story of two disadvantaged persons. How they have overcame their problems to start over and to ensure a worthy future. I knew Maison Chance by chance.

Van Anh


Among the people I met there, there was a young girl named Van Anh. She is from Gia Lai and is the second daughter of her family. She has two sisters. She currently is a beneficiary of Maison Chance. In 2005 she was 15 years old and had an accident on her way back home after school. She felt and hit a concrete parapet at the roadside. She broke her lumbar spine and became paraplegic. Her life has totally changed from that day as she found herself in a wheelchair. Fifteen years is a great age, full of dreams and hope. She wanted to go to the university and become a professional stylist. She wanted to create stylish clothes and develop the Vietnamese haute couture.

Her destiny seemed to be decided and was coming true step by step. Unfortunately, not everything went as planned. Her dream went up in smoke after her accident. She was so helpless and overwhelmed by the physical and moral suffering that she got discouraged. She thought that as she was disabled, she therefore was useless for the society. Her family watched over her during a very long time at the hospital of Saigon. The treatments related to the accident were very expensive. Her parents had to borrow money to pay them. At the beginning, her family took care of her and helped her in her everyday activities. She needed time to find a new balance in her life! Her family, her friends and her relatives helped her to find back the will to live. She thought that she was lucky because her family always was beside her. They didn’t give up when she needed them.

Thanks to them, she has overcome the most difficult period of her life. It was during her stay at the hospital in the 8th district that she heard about Aline Rebeaud, a Swiss painter nicknamed Tim who is the director of Maison Chance where Van Anh is living since August 2011. There she has learnt how to sew and her life is improving day by day. She can be herself, free and happy. Everyone is ready to help her if needed.  

The second person was Trinh. She came from Dong Thap. She had polio shortly after her birth and she was never able to walk normally. Every time she spoke about her “fault” with her mother, she just looked at her with tenderness. Growing up she became aware of his misfortune. She was sad and desperate. Loneliness has gripped her. On day a friend asked her to come to Maison Chance to learn a job. She choose sewing to earn her life and turned the page.

Van Anh, Trinh and Mrs. Charlotte Gripon

At the beginning of the year, Van Anh and Trinh were hired by Mrs. Charlotte Gripon, owner of a textile brand. She designs dresses in silk, tailor-made. They are working every Thursdays and Fridays in her shop.

This experience helps them not only to develop their skills and their self-confidence but also to earn money to help their families and take advantage of their lives. Today they are full of hope and ambition and find a new place in the society. They have a nice life.

The disadvantaged people, especially the disabled people like Van Anh and Trinh, often feel inferior to able-bodied people but they find the strength to overcome and accomplish great things. They dream of a normal life like everyone else, to be loved and to share. They would like to become independent and useful to the society.

Viet Trinh

October 2013