Sympathetic Swiss soul

A Swiss woman - Tim Aline Rebeaud, who has been awarded the Henry Dunant prize

for her promotion of charity in Vietnam by the International Red Cross, thinks that people are always sympathetic to poor and underpriveleged people.

The Swiss woman was born in April 11, 1972, in Geneva. Ahe has a slim figure, brown hair and white skin, and she attracts others with her openness and energy.

Coming to Vietnam in 1992, she witnessed child beggars lying down o­n the pavement at the area near Cau Muoi market, Ho Chi Minh City, because they were hungry and thirsty. She felt sorry for the children, and thus, decided to stay in Vietnam to help them.

In 1993, a dilcpidated house she rented in Binh Hung Hoa in Ho Chi Minh City was turned into the "Luck House," had where opened arms to welcomed orphaned children and many others who Tim had collected o­n the streets.

Coming back to Europe, Tim was given a hand by her father to establish a non governmental organisation, Maison Chance, in Sweden and France, to contact benefactors for contributing money to helping orphaned and disabled children in Vietnam.

At present, the "Luck House" helps 150 people, including 40 orphaned and disabled children living at the house and the others (living in difficult family circumstances and not being able to go to school) will come to study from the 1st form to 5th form at the house. Then, they are able to study in secondary school as other children. For disabled children, depending o­n their circumstances, they will be taught suitable skills such as drawing or computers...

Her friends from many countries have contributed money to help her maintain the Luck House. Voluntary groups from Europe including students, doctors and social activists visit the Luck House. They have helped instruct her how to take care of children when they are ill.

Although she is a not a mother, she has had a lot of children during her 10 years in Vietnam. The children love her and always ask her opinion about problems like she was their real mother.

Ever year, o­n the occasion of Vietnamese Teacher Day (Nov.20), she receives bunches of flowers from her children. The flowers show their gratitude to a mother who brings them confidence to walk into life.

Asked about the reason she was driven toward charity, she said that her family had affected her a lot.

She told about her young brother, who was deaf when he was very small and had a lot of difficulty integrating into community, thus, she has always been sympathetic with disabled people like her brother. Tim's father, Mr. Laurent Ribeaud, is a politician and social activist. And her mother is a singer and an enthusiastic philanthropist working in an international organization to help poor children in Bolivia.

For her, staying in Vietnam and helping orphaned and disabled children is a "fate". "When I was 6 years old, my mother took me to a library. She thought I was lost between the book shelves. But surprisingly, she saw me sitting o­n the floor and staring at picture books of the war in Vietnam," she said.