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Associations: So that luxury doesn't remain the privilege of the rich  June 22, 2001
Time4sharing.com offers leisure moments for underprivileged children providing leisure time for the underprivileged children is the aim of Time4sharing.com, a movement present in many countries, mainly Lebanon, Bahrain and the Czech Republic. A little more than six months old, the association sponsored a dozen of events in many different countries. On the 1st of June, on the occasion of the World Child Day, the movement beat the records when 812 children from 42 orphanages in Prague created the longest human chain of friendship and joy in the world. 

Offering the underprivileged children true leisure moments is the challenge that Mrs. Viviane Boulos-Tolan -founder of Time4sharing.com and major shareholder of Platinum International, a company specialized in providing leisure and luxurious holidays- wants to take up. 

Some people give away clothes and others food to the underprivileged children. Vivian Boulos-Tolan decided to offer them leisure time and encourage others to follow her lead. "With time, clothes become small or old, food products are perishable whereas pleasant moments remain engraved on memory", stated Boulos-Tolan, whose movement aims mainly at children in orphanages. Sometimes, when everything goes wrong, nice memories give you hope. "It's is more important to devote oneself, one's time. It's not costly, but nowadays, time is becoming a rare commodity", she added. 

Before founding the association, Vivian and Michael, her Irish husband, used to visit Lebanese orphanages, mainly during festive times. When they did not take the orphans in a round, they tried to spread joy in their fostering house. And when the couple, after 8 years of marriage, knew they were expecting twins, visits and activities aimed at orphans did not stop.

On the contrary, Vivian had just delivered when she took children from an orphanage in Kesrouan to an amusement park by bus. "When the person in charge knew these children had lost their parents, he decided to offer them a free ticket to the park", she said. "It proves everybody can give whatever he has to offer".

She dreams of seeing, one day, the underprivileged children live like the lucky few. The association helps fighting injustice as it can. When she was a student, Vivian used to help her mother, Laura Boulos, founder of Amali Association, in forwarding medicine to free clinics.
"The association is six months old, nearly the age of our two children, Angelica Christina and Alexander Christian", says Boulos-Tolan, who added that the idea of founding Time4sharing.com occurred to her spontaneously after the birth of her children. '"All children must enjoy leisure moments, not only mine".

Having children has not been easy for Viviane and Michael. While traveling round the world for work, they decided, five years ago, to settle in Lebanon and found a company specialized in providing leisure and luxury holidays. Until last October, Vivian used to work twelve hours a day on average. She traveled a lot, too. Since Angelica and Alexander's birth, she traveled much less and installed her office in her house in Adma, so she can be closer to her babies.

At the moment, she is devoted to the movement she's created. Time4sharing.com has three tasks: "providing leisure time for the underprivileged children; encouraging volunteers to devote themselves and some of their time; and mobilizing companies to take part in the activities".

The founder started with mobilizing volunteers from her own company. "For the time being, a great number of the company's employees take part voluntarily, with their family or friends, in the activities aimed at underprivileged children".

A Kangaroo named Boomerang

Time4sharing.com started its activities in Prague, when the orphans of the city adopted a kangaroo living in the zoo of the Czech Republic. " Ever since that event, children who had lost their parents benefit from a free entry ticket to the city zoo", says Vivian Boulos-Tolan. " The kangaroo named Boomerang has been chosen as the association mascot, as it symbolizes maternity ", she explains.

Progressively, the association started reaching those children who had lost their parents, but also the youngsters. For instance, last May in Bahrain, two events were organized in collaboration with the Emirates Special Olympics Committee. One of the events consisted of accompanying children with particular needs to a Dolphin show. In the Czech Republic, Time4sharing.com has managed, inter-alia, to offer a week of winter sports holiday to 21 children. Boulos-Tolan indicated that " this kind of activities requires one volunteer for every two children ". 

In Lebanon, to date, the association has reached more than 120 children from different orphanages, mainly SOS village, Sisters of BesanÁon orphanage, Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya, and the Eucharist children.

Children who took part in the events organized in Lebanon spent several days outside their orphanage, watching Walt-Disney movies at the theatre, making the most of the games at Sun City Resort, or yet taking part in the training of the Racing Football Team of Jounieh.

Within the framework of the Special Olympics to be held in Bromana High School from June 23 to June 29, the movement invited the Olympic Team of Bahrain to participate in the games. Transport and accommodation shall be provided by the movement. Time4sharing.com will also invite children with special needs to attend the games and meet the Bahraini team.

If the movement started its activities in three countries, it is because the luxury leisure company owned by Boulos-Tolan has branches there. In the first place, the founder of the movement encouraged Platinum International's employees to volunteer. Hence, for the sake of leading the events, some of the employees became instructors, others clowns, and others puppet masters.

Time4sharing.com is determined to grow so it can reach destitute children in the United States, Thailand and India. The movement also intends to unify its activities in all countries, mainly for the new school year and for Christmas 2001. 

In order to hold the attention of a greater number of people, Time4sharing.com chooses trustworthy and well-known people to represent it. In Bahrain, the ambassadress of the association is Sheikha Sabika el-Khalifa, member of the reigning family. In the Czech Republic, an honorary member of the movement takes part in its activities: Yadislav Dizek, a well-known football player in his country.

Vivian Boulos-Tolan wants to mobilize enterprises and volunteers so that they give whatever they have to offer. " Ten enterprises took part in the last event in Prague; some offered presents to the underprivileged children while others provided water and food ".

"For the time being, it is like digging a well" notes the founder of Time4sharing.com. She hopes the movement will have a snowball effect and mobilize several volunteers, enterprises and associations.

Only this way the association will be able to reach the greatest number of underprivileged children.

Patricia Khoder


For Vivian Boulos-Tolan, founder of Time4sharing.com, " devoting oneself is the most valuable gift". "Time does not cost anything, but nowadays, it is becoming a rare commodity ", she says while calling upon volunteers to join her. Enterprises can also give what they have to offer: a restaurant can offer lunch, an amusement center or a swimming pool can provide free admission, and printers may stamp logos on caps and T-shirts for children. In other words, they may sponsor the activities. For the moment, only Platinum International assumes these tasks.

" We are not asking for too much, each one can offer what he has to give ", indicates Boulos-Tolan. 
In Lebanon, the next event of Time4sharing.com is scheduled in the framework of the Special Olympics to be held in Broumana High School, from the 23rd to the 29th of June. So that children with special needs fully benefit from their time, the association is calling upon all goodwill persons; individuals who can devote some of their time, and enterprises capable of providing services. Other activities will be scheduled soon. 

For more information, Call the hotline of the movement at the following mobile number: 03/227268.