Switzerland: Community Life in Le Valais
The Canton of Valais is one of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. Its coat of arms is composed of thirteen red and white stars symbolising the thirteen districts of the canton. The Rhone River has its headwaters in Valais and flows across a valley which is dominated by high mountain ranges. This region holds an important place in the Foundation’s programmes as Francois-Xavier loved the canton and its inhabitants very much.
The François-Xavier Bagnoud Foundation aims to support various aspects of community life in this canton, such as rescuing, education, culture, sport and heritage.
- The FXB Rescue House – Sion Airport
- The François-Xavier Bagnoud Water Mill – Hérémence
- The François-Xavier Bagnoud Observatory – Saint-Luc
- The François-Xavier Bagnoud Home – Salvan
- FXB home palliative care centre – Sion
- The François-Xavier Bagnoud Mountain Refuge – Panossière
- Le Fonds FXB pour les guides valaisans (fund for mountain guides in Valais): since 1991, the “Relief François-Xavier Bagnoud Fund” aims to provide economic assistance to mountain guides – living in the Canton of Valais – who are forced to suspend their professional activity following an accident. Support can also be granted to their families. This assistance is used to provide support between the moment when the accident occurs and when the social security starts handling costs.
Other contributions of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Foundation in Valais:
- Stained glass in the Tous les Saints Chapel – Le Hameau, Verbier: donation made by the FXB Foundation in 1989. With this donation, the François-Xavier Bagnoud Foundation sought to pay tribute to this act of commemorable act: saving lives whilst risking your own. The stained glass windows were created based on a drawing by Cecilia Bozzoli representing a mountain rescue scene. They were fabricated in Jacques Simon’s workshop by Charles and Benoît Marcq, craftsmen from a four-century dynasty of master glassmakers, the same who fabricated Marc Chagall’s and Vieira da Silva’s stained glasses. This masterpiece represents the retrospective of a mountain rescue, an integral part of the tradition and history of Valais: from the representation of Saint Bernard de Menthon, its hospice, monks and dogs rescuing tourists back in the day, to today’s mountain guides equipped with stretchers, ropes and ice axes, and helicopter pilots using sophisticated equipment.
- In 1989, the FXB Foundation also funded the acquisition and installation of new pipe organs for the main church of the village in partnership with the Parish of Verbier.
- In 1990, the FXB Foundation sponsored the classical music festival “Les Schubertiades” in Sion.
- As of 1990 and for more than fifteen years, the FXB Foundation contributed to the annual budget of the Schola des Petits Chanteurs de Notre Dame de Sion. The Schola and FXB Foundation shared a common vision: serving the community and contributing to children’s education and well-being. Founded in 1926, the Schola des Petits Chanteurs de Notre Dame de Sion today has approximately 80 singers of which a majority are children. As an independent and not-for-profit music school, it maintains a secular human and musical tradition appeared in the West during the High Middle Ages by providing children with an education. These “schools” benefited children from modest backgrounds and in return, they were initiated to sacred music lessons and sang during the service. With the support of the FXB Foundation, the Schola des Petits Chanteurs de Notre Dame de Sion managed to establish an excellent musical education programme and welcome more children.
- Aula François-Xavier Bagnoud: in partnership with the Valais authorities and the clergy, the FXB Foundation participated in the transformation of a chapel into a lecture room in the School of Engineering in Valais (EIV). Beyond the EIV activities, this room is also used for other socio-cultural events in Sion and hosts weekly conferences, seminars, exhibitions and various classes. For more information: http://www.siontourism.ch/
- In 1991, the FXB Foundation offered an infrared night-vision system to Air-Glaciers thus enabling them to improve the safety and efficiency of helicopter night flights.
- The FXB Foundation carried out several activities to support tennis in Valais, notably the construction in 1991 of the four-courts of the FXB Hall in the Valère Tennis Club in Sion (donation made to the Valère TC). During the same year, the children of Sion had the opportunity to attend free tennis lessons via extracurricular activities organized by the municipalities. For many years, the FXB Tennis Team, managed by the Valais tennis association, aimed to coach talented young players to the highest levels.
- In November 1991, the FXB Foundation offered 27,000 copies of the comic book “JO” to the canton of Valais to be distributed among youth aged between 14 and 20. This AIDS prevention campaign promoted dialogue between students and teachers, parents and children, and among young people.
- Since 1995, the FXB Foundation joined efforts to run the Restos du Jeudi in Sion based on the Restos du Coeur model which consists in serving hot meals to those in need.