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Listen to your heart

“Listen to your heart” is the topic chosen for the press conference dedicated to the launching of Tim’s new book “Maison Chance – A future for the less fortunate” which took place at the Youth Publishing House on August 16, 2017.

More than 100 people attended the event to listen to Tim’s heart – a warm conversation between Tim Aline Rebeaud – the author of the book and the public hosted by MC Quy Binh. Mr. Nguyen Minh Nhut – Director of Youth Publishing House was present at the event; as well as Ms. Kim Cuong – a famous artist, Ms. Duong Minh – Directress of the Duong Minh Language School and Mr. Tran Ngoc Tam – vice-president of the Sponsoring Association for Poor Patients of HCMC. Besides, there were former teachers, long-time friends, staff members and beneficiaries of Maison Chance and the media.

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Wheelchairs and stairs

With the help of at least three young people, the disabled members of Maison Chance were able to access to the Young Publishing House’s hall. “We apologize for the facilities of the Publishing House that doesn’t meet the standards of a civilized society … there are only the stairs for the able-bodied people, and there is no wheelchair access” said Mr. Nguyen Minh Nhut, Director of the Youth Publishing House. This statement created a warm feeling for the disabled members.

One heart – one homeland

The event opened with a voice from the end of the hall. “When you were born, mother gave you a heart to love.” The song “One Heart, One Homeland” of the musician Pham Trong Cau was selected by MC Quy Binh for the event with the thought that each person has one heart to love their homeland. Tim, however, has one heart, and has two homelands to love: Switzerland, where she was born, and Vietnam, where she has devoted all her heart to the less fortunate – a job that two participants expressed as Tim maybe having some debts* in Vietnam.

*Here the meaning of “debt” is expressed in a philosophical way. In Buddhism, one spirit reincarnates itself into different lives to repair the mistakes made in former lives and to evolve. The participants are saying that Tim may had a link with Vietnam in a former life during which she may had made mistakes and that the actions of her reincarnated person today are aiming for redemption.

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The story of Maison Chance

Tim told the story about Maison Chance through a video clip. Via the film, participants had an opportunity to learn about the formation and development of Maison Chance. It started with a small house in Binh Hung Hoa. Despite its modest space, there was a class for orphans. Later, a second house was rented to welcome more disabled people, and much later the Take Wing Center was inaugurated in 2006, followed by the Village Chance in 2011. In addition, the scenes when Tim took care of the wounds were also shown in the video clip. “The bad smell” coming from the wounds which was described by one of the guests must be one of the liveliest impressions for those who listened to the story that day.

The child of Maison Chance

By coming to the event, participants also had a chance to listen to the stories told by La Van Thanh, a child of Maison Chance. He told the story of Tim’s fundraising trip to Canada – after having the permission of Tim because of its political sensitivity. He told that after a fundraising event in Canada, there was a rumor that Tim refused to salute the flag of the old Vietnamese government. And the reactions caused many troubles for the following fundraising events of Maison Chance overseas. He ended the story with a question “We are doing good things for disadvantaged people, why are there so many obstacles?”

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Dak Nong Project – building and raising money at the same time

The author continued the conversation mentioning an on-going project of Maison Chance. On a 3-hectare plot in the Krong No district of Dak Nong province, the fourth center of Maison Chance is under construction. It will be the home for members of Maison Chance who may not take wing because of their too severe disabilities. It will be also the shelter for local orphans and disabled people. “We are building the place while raising money at the same time as the needed investment is quite high: 50 billion VND. Up to now, we have already raised 40 billion VND, we need 10 billion VND more,” said the author of the book.

The message was answered.

“Sometimes I feel lonely,” the author confessed when she was asked about the things she does, the loneliness of a person playing both roles of a mother and a father.” Tim is not only the mother taking care of orphans, abandoned children, and people with disabilities; but also the father making money to cover all the costs.

After her sharing, there was an immediate answer from the Director of the Young Publishing House. He decided to donate all the profit from the books’ sales to Maison Chance. This is a valuable contribution, beside the bookcase worth ten million VND which had been donated to Maison Chance earlier from the Youth Publishing House.

The anonymous donor

Following the valuable contribution of the Youth Publishing House, Maison Chance also received the contribution from a golden heart. “Who is it from? Who are you?” Tim reacted full of surprise when MC Quy Binh announced the amount donated by an anonymous donor: 500 million VND. Tim could not say thank you directly, so all she could do was to send by words a big hug and a kiss with all her appreciation to the kind benefactor.

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The love spreading book

“More than 20 years, it is a very long story. I did not intend to write the book, but my father encouraged me to write it. Thus I wrote this book as a mean to share my story with people” said Tim. The book was written in French in 2013. Four years later, the Vietnamese version was also written by the author in the language of her second homeland. Tim believes in the power of love, “I believe that when one loves another, miracles can happen. And if love is contagious, anyone who reads this book will get infected and it will become a pandemic of love” said the author with a big smile on her face.

In addition, participants also had an opportunity to get more details about what she had done for nearly 25 years. Tim told the audience that she started giving her love to orphans and disabled people when she was a young girl. Her first love was when she was 13, for her boyfriend who was an orphan. Then, at the age of 16, she devoted her love to a disabled person – this person fell into coma after a severe accident. Perhaps her destiny in Vietnam began to emerge when she listened to many stories about Vietnam which were told by her third lover – a Vietnamese living in Switzerland. “I did not know that I would live in Vietnam for so long.” the author continued. “It might be true that because I gave my love to disadvantaged people in the past, the same feelings emerge when I meet unlucky people. The unlucky ones are the ones who need love the most, so I believe that I am giving my love to the right people.” said the author.

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The event was closed by an autograph session. Meanwhile, people had the chance to enjoy the delicious croissants made by bakers of Maison Chance. People left the hall with books in hand. Hopefully the stories told in a nearly 300-pages long book will help to spread more love into our world.

Translation: Nhi Hoang