Annual report
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Our Progress

Through 2015-16

From our beginnings, we have been changing the way the world thinks about intellectual disability. In doing so, we have  realised our own need to change continually, so that our structures can best serve those most in need, especially in economically poorer countries. Over the last few years, we have totally re-structured the way L'Arche International operates, in order to be more responsive to the needs of our 30 communities in these countries.

In 2015, L'Arche has invested 181 k € to develop leadership, competence and sustainability, mainly in economically fragile countries.

149 communities
in 37 countries
with 14 other projects in the pipeline
5,000 members with a disability







L’Arche keeps crossing boundaries

New project in Sorocaba, Brazil &
Prefoundation group in Mar de Plata, Argentina 

Intellectual disability cuts across all cultures, classes, countries and religions. L'Arche too keeps crossing boundaries. We are driven by the one constant: the unique potential of each person with an intellectual disability to transform their society and the power of relationship as the catalyst of change. Taking L'Arche's message out to where it is most needed, has recently resulted in a new project in Sorocaba, Brazil, and a pre-foundation group in Mar de Plata, Argentina: wherever L'Arche goes, we work with local people to find local solutions.

L'Arche starts from a person's basic human needs.

And we do it in some of the worlds toughest environments.

L'Arche has chosen to work in some of the world's toughest environments, where conflict and natural disaster are frequent visitors. According to the UN, these environments endanger the life and wellbeing of a person with a disability far more than any other citizen, particularly where the person has no family support. Today, L'Arche has long experience of equipping some of the most vulnerable people on the planet with the skills and confidence they need, empowering them to take their place as valued members of their society, And it all starts from a person's basic human needs.

Solidarity: it means that what happens to us, matters to you.

L'Arche Mymensingh

L'Arche answers the question of Rohim, and many, many like him: “why is there no place for me?”

For Rohim, aged 9, “home” was a street of his town, Mymensingh in Bangladesh – a dangerous place for anyone, let alone anyone with an intellectual disability. His daily search was for food warmth and shelter, his only companion the question: “Why is there no place for me? Does anyone care about me?”  For Rohim the story has a happy ending. He was found and brought to the L'Arche community. Finally, friendly hands. A smile. Warmth. Love. A future.

L’Arche Asha Niketan

Chennai under water met by a flood of solidarity 

In Chennai last year, exceptional floods affected almost the entire city of 4.8 million people,bringing down transport and communication, links, disrupting food and power supplies. Asha Niketan (L'Arche) was badly affected, bringing the closure of the second home, as well as the workshops and day programme. Afterwards, Rajeevan, the leader of L'Arche in India, said: "in the midst of this crisis, one cannot put a value on the prayers and solidarity we felt coming from our brothers and sisters in L'Arche across the world.

My work brings us together.

L’Arche Harare

A little help goes a long way

Work brings new skills, new relationships, and above all, dignity. Farai, a disabled member of L'Arche Harare, Zimbabwe, takes great pride in his important job: he will be the man welcoming you as a new customer, loading a sack of flour into your car; closing the gates again when the work is done; and sweeping up the mill house floor so that nothing is wasted. And Farai, in his work, is an ambassador not just for L'Arche, but more importantly for all Zimbabweans with an intellectual disability: simply by doing his job well, he helps to transform his fellow-countrymen's view of disability.

L'Arche Haiti

Share Fabienne's hope

The Haiti earthquake of January 2010 brought fear and chaos to the members of L'Arche Port au Prince, along with three million others. But not even an earthquake can destroy the human capacity for compassion, creativity and sheer determination. The community, now in the process of re-founding, has much to teach about the resilience of hope: exactly the same hope that Fabienne, a young disabled girl recently welcomed to L'Arche, is now enjoying.


is one of L'Arche's 7 core values:

this means accounting for every Euro given by our donors. To further this goal, L'Arche International has published a financial aid album, showing the many ways in which we support the communities living in the most challenging of environments.

Right at the start, L'Arche took a courageous decision: to support people with intellectual disabilities in economically poor countries. 

Hope builds bridges

Sharing our financial resources

To some, this move seemed pure folly – for even in richer countries, money was scarce. But hope doesn’t respect international borders. Hope builds bridges, wherever it can, especially where the need is greatest. But the beauty of a bridge is that it goes in both ways. Today, L'Arche is a worldwide network of bridges, across which hope travels in all directions, from north to south and back again. 

But just suppose for a moment that L'Arche had said, “let’s wait until we are richer before we build these bridges” Would we ever have got started? No way! 

Today, it is not just an honour and a responsibility to share our financial resources with our L’Arche sisters and brothers in the global south: it is a rich and vital source of motivation and encouragement for each, that across the great gaps in our world, we can create little bridges of dynamic hope.


L’Arche International’s Web Series, “As I Am”,
is an invitation to imagine the world differently.

The web series broadcasts voices not often heard. In all, 12 intellectually disabled members of L'Arche, each from a different culture, are getting the chance to share their hopes, their outlook, their experience of life. The common thread? Sheer determination to tell their unique stories: Meet Mateusz, Musa, Bogdan, Raffaella & Larry... Together these films have already been viewed over 260,000 times!

Running on solidarity

L'Arche International runs on solidarity: on a global scale, this is exactly the same two-way exchange that takes place daily in each of L'Arche's 150 communities.

It is the natural impulse towards realising our full human potential. What can prevent that from happening? For a person with a disability in an economically poorer country, the first obstacle is often a lack of life's basics. But that is just the start, as many in richer countries have come to realise. L'Arche solidarity connects these groups, transforming the possibilities of each, broadening horizons on all sides.

To donate is to contribute to changing the world

Our gratitude goes out to each of the many individuals who makes our work possible.

When we asked one person why he supports L'Arche, he said: “for L'Arche, it's always personal: the simple belief that when people are open to creating one : one relationships of trust and friendship, then barriers start falling. L'Arche is an effective reminder that, across all cultures, the best hope we have is our common humanity.”

For L'Arche, it's always personal

L’Arche Asansol

Small is beautiful

In order to bring significant change to people's lives, it does not always take a lot of money. Sometimes, all it takes is a cow! Thank you, Mrs. Mamta Bagaria for your generous gift. This cow, called Haria, gives high quality nutritious milk each day, which has already made a big difference to the health of Barnabas Hasda and all the others living in Asha Niketan, (L'Arche) Asansol, India.

L’Arche Lithuania

Enjoy your meal, Madame President!

"A model of social care in Lithuania" so said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskait? recently in describing the L'Arche community in Vilnius. So impressed was her government that they recommended L'Arche to receive a 200,000 € grant from the EU. This has enabled the community to welcome twice as many members with an intellectual disability – 10 in total – through the opening of their new house on May 28th.

Human Resources

When you join L'Arche, you soon realise that you are part of a world-wide family. 

That doesn’t stop the differences between us from seeming enormous; but as we learn to welcome them, they get transformed into a source of richness.

Our team consists of talented and passionate people who are proud to make a difference in the world by doing work that they love every day.

About our staff

Christine Bruggeman

L’Arche International Coordinator of Training

“To get formation in your own language for the first time makes all the difference!” says Christine Bruggeman, L'Arche Coordinator of Training speaking about the recent formation she supervised for L'Arche Sao Paolo, Brazil. As the only Portuguese speaking community is Latin America, with very few resources, they had always received formation in Spanish, along with assistants from the other Latin American countries. “Now, for the first time, we delivered our formation programme, Training the Trainers directly in Portuguese. And as elsewhere, we discover that virtually anyone can become a trainer for their own community: it is just a question of giving them some skills and confidence. It’s a big investment, but the results are remarkable, making for a formation much better suited to the local culture.”

Georges de Chaisemartin

L’Arche International Director of finance and admin

“In 1971 I discovered L’Arche and met Jean Vanier. This experience influenced my life and I am very happy now to support the finances, an area where I have over 30 years’ experience. At the international meeting at Vilnius, what impressed me was each leader’s ability to explain their issues very clearly, efficiently and with heart.”

Shannon Crowther

Deputy International Secretary

“I love working for L'Arche for three reasons. First, L'Arche is ethically important. Secondly, L'Arche attracts amazing, talented and passionate people. Third, L'Arche spans the globe, and I like helping bridge the gaps where I can.”

Azucena Bustamante-West

International Envoy for Mexico, Honduras & Dominican Republic

“For me, the meetings are about discovering the Federation and meeting my international colleagues face to face. Skype and email etc. have their place, of course, but there is really no substitute for sitting down together with someone. Then, realising that the Federation is not just out there, somewhere: it is here, it is me, it is us! That motivates me to take a more active role. And finally, the sheer fun we all had together – a great way to build a sense of solidarity.”

International Stewardship Board

L'Arche International benefits from the dedication, experience and wisdom of our talented Stewardship board. They ensure L'Arche's good governance, overseeing key decisions, and approving the strategic orientations taken by our International Leadership Team.


1. Alison Lindsay-Cross (Chair)

2. Vivian le Polain

3. Jacques Jaubert

4. Jacqueline Boughner

5. Mireille Kheirallah

6. Tetsuya Muramoto

7. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Le Pichon

Alison Lindsay-Cross


“What makes L'Arche tick is the spirit of mutual respect for each person, especially the most vulnerable. Both locally and globally, L'Arche is about solidarity. One effect of this is that the more isolated communities now feel a fuller sense of belonging to the Federation, due to the structural changes we have put in place. L'Arche International will build on this, continuing to grow the Federation in imaginative, life-giving and sustainable ways, so that men and women with a disability can truly fulfil their potential to become agents of change and inclusion in neighbourhoods across the world.”

Financial independence

is not just about money, it is about self-respect.

So even if the goal of self-sufficiency can seem a distant dream for communities in the global south, L'Arche does everything to encourage ever greater local initiatives: a chicken farm in Ivory Coast, a corn mill in Zimbabwe; a guest house in Kenya… each spells dignity, self-confidence and hope.

L’Arche Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fundraising energy

For the secret of successful fundraising, just ask L'Arche Buenos Aires, Argentina. The figures speak for themselves: 2014: 180,000$; 2015: 225,000$; 2016: who knows?! “Our donors tell us that our belonging to L'Arche International is a vital guarantee for them”, says Community Leader Patricia Paludi. “And their support is vital for us, too! Later this year, we will open our second house, welcoming more men and women with a disability. They too have riches to share!”

Over the past years, L'Arche International has channelled 1,186 K € to projects in developing countries. Impossible to quantify the sheer hope this brings, and will continue to bring in the years to come, as a result of the new resources and opportunities it creates.

Asha Niketan

Getting a wheel-chair down the little track

For almost 40 years, getting a wheel-chair down the little track to Asha Niketan (L'Arche) Nandi Bazaar, India had been a major, and sometimes insurmountable challenge. Even at the best of times, let alone when the rains came. But thanks to a few donors within and beyond India, recently that has all changed: their far-sighted generosity has built an all-weather surface. One man with special cause to rejoice is Lancy Ettan, delighted to join everyone else in the craft workshop. “But this is more than just a road,” explains National Leader Rajeevan: “it is a lasting sign of the community’s commitment to the dignity of each person with an intellectual disability.”

L'Arche Kovcheh

Operating on a shoe-string budget

For historical reasons, opportunities for people with an intellectual disability the city of Lviv in Ukraine have been few and far between. But, operating on a shoe-string budget over the last 20 years, the L'Arche Kovcheh community has run four workshops – a source not just of practical support, but of real hope. Now, thanks to targeted financial aid from L'Arche International, the community has bought and equipped a new workshop and office. A well-thought through response to local needs, this is far more than a mere consolidation of resources: rather a solid foundation stone for future growth.

Organizational Efficiency
It costs L'Arche just 7.4 cents to raise 1 €.

Donations invested in operations

There is nothing quite so motivating as on-site experience, and in 2015, we invested 112,000 € in getting our staff out to projects, so that they can see for themselves the effect of their efforts.

Flash info

L'Arche International's work across so many cultures means bridge-building across the barriers.

Economic, religious, cultural and social. What makes it work is the shared goal of realising the human potential of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

United Nations

Committee on the Rights of People with a Disability

In 2015, L’Arche International was granted Special Consultative status at ECOSOC, the branch of the UN that promotes Social and Economic development.

This entitled us to send a written contribution to the UN conference on autonomy and inclusion, held in Geneva in April 2016. This conference was organised by the Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which Professor Jonas Ruskus of L'Arche Lithuania is a member of.

In our proposal, we stressed the importance of including the notion of belonging in the concept of autonomy: “just like any other citizen, a person with a disability needs friends and colleagues who have their best interests at heart and the skills needed to help them keep taking steps towards greater autonomy and control over their life.”

Thank you for making it all happen.

Without your support, we could not do what we do, to transform lives around the world. And well done not least for your commitment to reaching the end of our Annual Report!

Here's to another great year!


L’Arche International

25 rue Rosenwald | 75015 Paris France
Tel.: +33 (0)1 53 68 08 00


L’Arche International Foundation

25 rue Rosenwald | 75015 Paris France
Tel.: +33 (0)1 53 68 08 00