L'Arche Lithuania
Communities : KAUNA, VILNIUS - 2 houses
Core members : 36 - 8 welcomed in a L’Arche home & 4 respite care spaces

Meet Edita, her touching story

Edita grew up in a family that had many difficulties. She experienced times of abandonment, rejection and abuse. Fortunately, she now lives with a loving and supportive Aunt. Edita has been involved with L’Arche Kaunas since September of 2017, and the impact on her life is already evident. She is growing in relationships, which gives her the confidence to try new activities. For example, in the community she takes the initiative to wash dishes, keep the space organized and tidy. These are things her Aunt didn’t realize she was capable of! While remaining shy, Edita smiles and laughs more often, and talks more about her life. Her presence brings joy to everyone around her. 

"When there is a good life in the community disability can disappear, but after leaving the community it will appear again.” - Martynas Šimkus - (Core Member, author of a published book of poems)

Creating Change

  • L’Arche’s expression of dignity, respect and hospitality towards every human being are important examples for the country’s social system, which still reflects the old Soviet style. The Minister of Social Affairs recognizes L’Arche as an example, and it is influencing government policies going forward. 
  • The community has built strong ties with other organizations in the neighborhood. These partnerships allow them to provide more diverse opportunities for Core Members, and have a greater impact on society. 

Vision for the Future

  • Although there is a movement towards de-institutionalization, many people with intellectual disabilities still live in large institutions, which usually provide very limited opportunities for personal development, social interaction or a sense of personal dignity. 
  • Practicing Christianity was strictly forbidden in Lithuania until its independence from Soviet occupation 25 years ago. As a result, there remains in the culture some strong negative attitudes towards Christian organizations. 

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