Maison Chance above all, is a story about love. The love of a young Swiss girl of 21 years, traveling though Asia, and a young Vietnamese boy of 12 years who was, gravely unwell.
In 1993, Aline Rebeaud, a young painter, arrived by chance at a psychiatric hospital in the south of Vietnam. She was instantly touched by this boy, chained and alone in the corner, who had been given just a few days left to live. With heart, liver and lung problems, Thanh was in a terrible state. Confronted by this boy, Aline Rebeaud could not stand by and do nothing. She took him to the hospital and watched over the boy, day and night, for three months. She was given the name “Tim” by the patients – “heart” in Vietnamese.
As she came and went from the hospital, she crossed paths with many disabled persons. They were left to the side and completely ignored by society. Tim decided to welcome them under her roof, extending her stay in Vietnam indefinitely. Orphans, Street children and people with disabilities found refuge in this shack in a poor suburb of Ho Chi Minh City. All formed a big family, with this young 21 year old girl as their mother, prepared to do everything to help them. People from the area renamed the shelter “Maison Chance”. In 1995, Tim started to fight for the education of the beneficiaries of Maison Chance. It was no longer only a question of offering a roof over their heads, but a question of educating them too. Literacy classes and an introduction to painting began. Simultaneously, a rehabilitation program for those with disabilities was put in place.
In 1999, the vocational training programs expanded. It was the beginning of information technology courses, sewing and textile design. The goal is to maximize the possibilities for the disadvantaged children, orphans, street children and disabled persons to find their voice, allowing them to fly with their own wings
In 2006, vocational training grew in scale. A center specifically for training was established. The Take Wings center was born. Situated about 1km from the shelter, it consists of sewing, IT, woodwork and painting workshops. There are also two rooms for volunteers in the building.
The third center of Maison Chance was inaugurated in January 2011. Village Chance or the ‘Lucky Village’ is the first apartment complex in Vietnam to be adapted to persons with disabilities. The cost of rent is low compared to market value. Unlike many other buildings, this one was specifically designed to allow easy wheelchair access, even in heavy rain. The Lucky Village is also home to a swimming pool used for hydrotherapy, a primary school, a restaurant run by the beneficiaries of Maison Chance and a day care center.
The three centers, situated within 1km of each other, are recognizable by their blue color, a symbol of hope.