Nguyen Duc Tuan, a young disabled, who had been abandoned by his family tells us his story.
At thirteen years old, I quit school because my grand-parents were too poor to pay for my schooling. From there on, I lived mainly on the street, and I became a street kid. I went to Saigon to find a job and I learned mechanics. I found a job but I was not very lucky. While I was working on a construction site, I fell down a scaffold and broke my spinal column.
My employer gave me 14,000,000 dong (about $900) as a compensation. I went to the hospital to get treatment but that money was rapidly used up. I had nobody to help me so I called my parents. When my mother got the news, she went to the hospital and took care of me for seven days while waiting for my father to come. He only stayed for three days and also left. At that time, I really wanted to die. After 21 days, I had no more money left and had to leave the hospital although I still didn’t recover from my accident.
Fortunately, a Japanese woman helped me get to a physical reeducation center for physiotherapy. A retired doctor offered me shelter in Tay Ninh. At that point, I realized that I would never walk again. Since I spent most of the time seating, I developed really bad bedsores.
However, I did not have the means to get treatment. Luckily, the Japanese lady came back to Vietnam and found me. She took me back to Saigon for hospitalization. But the hospital refused to take me since I still owed them money from my previous hospitalization. The Japanese lady then convinced the hospital to take me in, but she could not take care of me on the long-term. Being hospitalized, I heard about Maison Chance.
I applied for admission to Maison Chance and I met Tim. She listened to me carefully and accepted me. At Maison Chance, I was treated for my bedsores and exchanged with other disabled people. This has given me the courage to continue living. Then I took a painting course. Since I arrived at Maison Chance, I call Tim “mother Tim”. Though she is a foreigner she took care of us like her brothers, sisters, or own children. She has given all her time and her life to help the disabled and orphans in Vietnam. Since the Shelter has become too small to accept more disabled people in need, mother Tim went abroad to seek financial help and build the Take Wing Center.
The Take Wing Center is a vocational training center for handicapped as well as a school for underprivileged children in the neighborhood. That’s not all. Mother Tim worries about the living conditions of those who work at the Take Wing Center and who do not have disability-adapted housing. For those people, she has envisioned the Village Chance project, a village to be built according to the needs of the handicapped. We will be able to rent functional accommodations at a reasonable price. I was thinking about my parents while writing these lines and I started to cry. My parents left me and did not even worry about if I was dead or alive.
Whereas Tim, a foreigner, has opened her arms and accepted me, and has helped me learning skills on which I can rely on to make a living. With all my heart, I thank her and all those, in foreign countries, who are helping her and Maison Chance.
Nguyen Duc Tuan