THE STORY OF L'ARCHE

The story of L’Arche started over 50 years ago in the village of Trosly-Breuil in northern France, in response to the inhumane conditions of the large institutions where people with intellectual disabilities had been placed. Now, L’Arche is present in over 38 countries across the world.

 

 

1964

A RESPONSE TO A NEED

In August, Jean Vanier, Phillipe Seux and Raphael Simi move into the first L’Arche house in Trosly, France. A third man with an intellectual disability, moves in, but does not stay.

1969

L’ARCHE CROSSES THE ATLANTIC

L’Arche’s second community, L'Arche Daybreak, opens on Richmond Hill, Canada, in response to the need for communities of belonging.

 

1970

THE INTERFAITH REALITY

The new community in Bangalore, India welcomes Hindus and Christians: faith diversity is now built into L’Arche.

1971

RESPONDING TO FAMILIES IN NEED

Faith and Light is founded to support families with children with intellectual disabilities.

1972

NAMING THE VISION OF L’ARCHE

At the first Federation Meeting, Ambleteuse, France, the group writes the first Charter, setting out the vision of L’Arche and established an International Council, to support the foundation of new communities.

1973

A NEW WAY OF WORKING

Second Federation Meeting, in 3 locations: Little Ewell, (UK) and Trosly and Ourscamp, (France).

1974

ADDRESSING CHURCH DIVISION

First ecumenical community is founded in Canterbury, UK.

 

1975

BUILDING A LONG TERM STRUCTURE

At the third International Federation Meeting, in Canada, Sue Mosteller is appointed International Coordinator of L'Arche.

1981

FOUNDING IN SECRET

L'Arche founds a community secretly behind the Iron Curtain, in Sledziejowice, Poland.

1989

NEW NEEDS, NEW COMMUNITIES

By 1989, there are new communities, in Brazil, Dominican RepublicGermanyPolandItalyPhilippinesSpainSwitzerland, and on the West Bank (Palestine).

1992

AN INTERNATIONAL MILESTONE

The United Nations establishes December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

1999

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

L'Arche International is legally incorporated in France.

2006

RIGHTS, NOT CHARITY

The United Nations signs convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

2008

A UNITED VOICE FOR CHANGE

Federation of L'Arche unites around joint Identity and Mission statements.

 


A NEW MODEL

First community built around Daytime projects and no residential service is welcomed in Lviv, Ukraine.

2014

CELEBRATING UNIQUENESS

Across the world, L’Arche celebrates 50 years of community living, as a social project where each person’s unique set of talents are promoted, valued and enjoyed.

 

FRANCE HONOURS A NATIONAL HERO

Jean-Pierre Crépieux receives the Légion d’Honneur from French President François Hollande. He is the first person with an intellectual disability to receive this award, in recognition of his role in co-founding L’Arche and pioneering work on behalf of people with a disability.

2015

CAMPAIGNING TOGETHER

L'Arche is granted Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC, United Nations.

2017

CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY

Over 500 delegates from around the world with and without disabilities meet in Belfast for the International Federation Assembly.

2019

IN MOURNING

Death of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche

2020

INQUIRY FINDINGS

L’Arche International publishes the findings of an external inquiry, commissioned by L’Arche, which brought into question Jean Vanier’s abusive behaviour toward a number of non-disabled women. L’Arche International condemns his actions unreservedly.

 


COVID-19 PANDEMIC

 

2020

PURSUING OUR VISION

154 communities and 19 projects in 38 countries, people with and without disabilities working together for a more human society.