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In recent years, in addition to assisting disabled people, orphans and underprivileged people in Saigon, Maison Chance has organized numerous trips to remote areas to distribute wheelchairs, functional equipments suitable for people with disabilities and advise their relatives on providing them daily support.

During the trips, we realized that the region of Dak Nong province has a significant amount of people with disabilities and children in a difficult situation, who haven’t received the help they need. After observing and analyzing the problems of the region, Maison Chance decided to provide remedies by building a social center that will help people of Dak Nong to overcome their barriers.

To prepare this project, we have taken several observing trips to Dak Nong province. On February 25, 2014, a group of 12 participants left Saigon, they were: Tim Aline, representative of Maison Chance Organization; Pham Hong Ky, adviser on administrative procedures; Hoang Manh Thang Le, architect; Nguyen Trung Hung, construction engineer; Maria Saegesser, sympathizer; McFreddy, photographer. Farmer by trade, he was also able to advise us in this area; Do Sy Vinh, coordinator. Young adults, beneficiaries of Maison Chance, also took part in the trip: Dinh Cong Duy, Nguyen Hoang Thuong and Ly Thi Bich Tram. Our group also included two volunteers, Marine Trévisan, occupational therapist and Marine Trévisan, physical therapist. Although the ages of our participants were varied, we were all fueled by the spirits of doing goods for the society. After a long journey of several hundred kilometers on winding mountain roads, our group finally arrived in the district of Krong No, Dak Nong Province.

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We arrived in Dak Nong after a long journey

The 27th of February, we had a meeting with the authorities of Krong No district about the land given to Maison Chance. In this field, a new Maison Chance center will be built with houses specially adapted for people with mental disabilities. Spaces for breeding and agriculture will create activities for them as well as opportunities for vocational training and production.

On March 3rd, we had an appointment with Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Le, who is the vice-president of the People’s Committee of Dak Nong province in charge of culture and social affairs, as well as representatives of various concerned departments. While discussing about the different issues related to the agreement on the creation of a social center in Krong No district, we learned that there was still no such center in the province.

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Working session with the authorities of Krong No district

In order to create opportunities for people to improve their living conditions, the authorities of the province prepared the transfer to Maison Chance a land of 27,719 m2 in the Village of Dak Sor (Krong No district) to build the first social center of the region that will offer services tailored to orphans and disabled people in difficult situations. There, they will find education, vocational training and job opportunities. So a part of happiness will be given back to the people and to society.

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The land that Dak Nong province will give to Maison Chance (27,719m2)

One of the members of our group was Maria Saegesser, who follows and makes the bridge between some donors of Maison Chance for 8 years. Maria mentioned that: “This was the first time I visited Vietnam, and I have experienced and shared the difficulties faced by people with disabilities. I am also better informed of the interest of the local authorities for the social center project and for other social activities of Maison Chance. The heartleft collaboration between local authorities and Maison Chance inspires and motivates me to continue to support Maison Chance”.

In parallel with our discussions with the local authorities, we also continued our social survey in the region and distributed “xe lac” (kind of adapted tricycle) and therapeutic equipment for disabled people. We also revisited some of the people we helped during our previous trips. Dao Van Hien, one of our social workers, who arrived early to investigate, had identified 24 families that need help. As this trip was relatively short, we could only meet and help a dozen of them. Each family is in a different predicament and need the help of benevolent people. Meeting up with these families and spending time with them have allowed us to better understand their many challenges including transportation problem. In addition to equipment donations, we also provided the families with therapeutic advices, so they could take better care of their disabled parent.

Tim is talking with children from Mong minority

Tim is talking with children from Mong minority

We visited Mr. Y Sut and offered him a wheelchair. Duy and Madeleine are explaining him how to use it

We visited Mr. Y Sut and offered him a wheelchair.
Duy and Madeleine are explaining him how to use it

We found the people we previously helped in a good shape and living in better conditions, like Mr. Van Phu Bup. Bup is hemiplegic because of a stroke. After the accident, he could only lie down on his bed and barely move. During a previous visit about a year and a half ago, we offered him a wheelchair and showed simple physical therapy exercises. During this second visit, we were very surprised to find him in a very good shape, both morally and physically. In addition, he doesn’t sit in his wheelchair but uses it as a walker. Seeing this, we exchanged the wheelchair for a real walker so his walking exercises will be more effective. We also gave him a “xe lac” so that he can expand his living space and have more opportunities to meet his neighbors. The specificity of this trip was that, for the first time, we met families living in remote areas of Dak Nong province. These zones are poor and the disabilities are heavy.

We revisited Mr. Van Phu Bup and gave him a “xe lac”

Mr. Bup training himself to walk

Mr. Bup training himself to walk

All the participants were satisfied with the work done and the help given. The meaningful purpose behind this activity provides futher motivation to carry out this project, despite the many obstacles.

April 2014