The Hubi & Vinciane Foundation was established in 1982 to commemorate Dr. Hubi (Hubert) Adriaens and his fiancé Vinciane Van Assche. Hubi was the medical director at the Papané bush hospital. Vinciane taught at the Tchaorou college whenever she came to visit Hubi in Benin. Both died during a return trip to Belgium. Their “dream” for Benin was continued by their families, who established the Hubi & Vinciane Foundation for this.
But how did it all start?
In 1966 the Trappistinnen sisters of the Cistercian Order established a hospital in Boko (Saint Jean de Dieu). They had been active in the region for 5 years and were increasingly asked for medical help. The people of Tinré gave them 13 hectares of land.
In 1977, Dr. Hubert Adriaens (Hubi) joined the medical team for a one-year internship. The Saint Martin hospital in Papané is more or less comparable to the hospital in Boko. It was established in 1972 and initially had a difficult start. The operation was interrupted several times. The founder, Dr. Franken, had a shaky health and had to be evacuated after a short time. His successor, Dr. Jean-Paul Van Liefferinge (then director of the Foundation), had to return temporarily to Belgium with his family for the birth of his second child – in the absence of specialized care on site.
At this point Hubi appears in the story of the Saint-Martin Hospital. In 1978 he was willing to interrupt his internship and specialization surgery for a few months to replace Jean-Paul in Papané. He liked it so much that he was a candidate to take over the post of medical director in March 1979.
Hubi was the pivot for his staff and patients, also in the expansion of the hospital. Tireless as he was, he threw himself completely into the project and supported his employees in their professional responsibility.
His fiancé Vinciane was impressed by the difficult circumstances in which young girls and women lived. During her visits to Hubi, she started teaching at the Tchaourou Collège d’Enseignement Général to make up for the shortage of teachers. She mainly focused on the education of young girls.
A tragic end came to this wonderful collaboration when Hubi and Vinciane died on 16 November 1981 in a plane crash. The purpose of that trip was to make agreements with the internship leader in Belgium to continue Hubi specialization surgery. And they also wanted to prepare their marriage. As a result of this dramatic turn, the slowly built-up, brittle balance in the structure and operation of the Papané hospital was destabilized.
At first it was thought to close the hospital. But in 1982, the Hubi & Vinciane Foundation gave Hubi and Vinciane a second lease on life: working for a better future for the less fortunate in the Parakou region in Benin.
What started with support to the hospital and the school (where Hubi and Vinciane were active) gradually evolved into a wide range of activities in health care, education and agriculture with the aim of integrated regional development in the region.
The Hubi & Vinciane Foundation continues to grow with ambition and builds intense partnerships!