Nguyen Hoai Thanh was born in 1994 in a poor home. Since his early childhood, he had not been given neither affection nor protection by his family. By the age of 8, he had often witnessed his parents arguing and they finally got divorced. He, fortunately, still had a sister, Truc, who was 6 years older than him. He nevertheless missed his mother painfully. After the divorce, Thanh lived with his father for a while, and then moved to his mother’s family along with his sister. The two siblings were not welcomed in this new family though and eventually decided to go and live with another aunt of theirs who had several children of her own.
The aunt was poor. She made a living by selling vegetables at the market. The whole family was sleeping at the market at night until the market finally closed in 2006. They all had to move to a slum on the riverbank of Saigon, with just a plastic sheet over their head to protect themselves from the rain. The walls of their hut were made of plastic and cardboard they had collected. Nine people shared a 15 m² space. Thanh and Truc fended for themselves to survive.
In 2010 Thanh had a severe accident which left him with a broken neck. He became quadriplegic and was hospitalized. Truc had then to do any job she could to pay the hospital fees: she worked as an assistant bricklayer, a garbage collector, she picked up plastic bags on the street, washed the dishes, drove motorbikes… Thanh was completely paralyzed and totally dependent on his sister. She helped him rebuild his morale.
Thanh then spent six months in hospital and gradually recovered partial use of his upper limbs through physiotherapy provided by his sister. When it was time to leave the hospital, Truc was wondering if they had any place to go. Through collective solidarity, Maison Chance finally welcomed Thanh in August 2012.
Three months after he first joined our large family, where he has met some people sharing his condition, he has started to become more independent and self-conscious, more sociable and daring, despite his major disability. He has also started an IT training course in early 2016 and goes to the Take Wing Center every day to complete his professional education. Thanh found back his smile, his life has a new meaning!.
Hoai Thanh (2016)
Nam is the third child among ten siblings. She belongs one of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities, the Ba Na people. She was born in a remote area of the Dak Ha district, in the Kon Tum province. Her family is very poor, her parents are illiterate. Their work as farmers is barely enough to ensure their survival. When Y Nam was in 7th grade, her family sent her to an orphanage led by sisters, so that she could attend school.
In September 2011, the bunk bed on which she was resting collapsed and Y Nam fell to the ground. At that time, it was believed that she was uninjured. But four months later, she started experiencing some coldness in her feet and hands and it was getting harder for her to move. The insignificant accident changed the life of this young, smart and sociable girl. After the accident, she suffered greater hardships. The illness was developing, her legs were getting weaker and she soon couldn’t walk properly. She had to crawl on the floor to reach the toilets or the kitchen. In January 2012, her condition worsened. Her legs and whole body were stiff. She was unable to speak and could hardly breathe. The sisters asked her family to take her to the Kon Tum hospital.
There, Y Nam suffered from bedsores that gave her acute pain. Her sensitivity was gone and she had difficulties urinating.
At this stage, Y Nam received help from the director of a company that offered a program to the disadvantaged. She then was transferred to a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. After months of hospitalization, the doctors concluded that she was suffering from a spinal cord inflammation which obliged her to stay on a wheelchair. It was then that Y Nam first heard about Maison Chance.
In October 2012, Y Nam was the first person from an ethnic minority coming to Maison Chance. After a short adjustment period, smiles come back on her face. The friendly atmosphere of the place keeps her optimistic: She has been recovering from the illness and a new future is awaiting for her. As student, Y Nam loves doing schoolwork.
Y Nam (2016)