Putting L'Arche's values into action means empowering people with a disability to play a vital and active role in society, making it more human.
The value and the place of people with intellectual disabilities demands recognition across religious and cultural traditions. In this way, the international community can prepare the ground for each person touched by disability to carve out their own unique role in society. Within the Federation, L’Arche International is piloting fresh ways of including members with intellectual disabilities in decision making processes.
Solidarity is at the very heart of what L’Arche does, whether within a single community or at International level, where the priority is to on build bridges between the different parts of the Federation. The three purposes of these efforts is so that L’Arche assistants can experience life in a different culture; so that human resources are shared from one country to another, and finally, to ensure financial solidarity through the creation of foundations in a growing number of member countries.
Building a community in a new cultural, political, religious, social and economic environment is no easy task. It takes a major and ongoing effort both to understand the identity and mission of the organization, and beyond that, the in-depth knowledge and sensitivity needed in each new community context. At L’Arche International and other levels of the Federation, this openness to diversity demands a good measure of flexibility and creativity.
Whether you are a person with an intellectual disability, a board member or assistant, the daily lives of L’Arche members is enriched by the community dimension: sharing in the chores, the decisions and issues needing reflection, festivals and gatherings, caring for one another… everyone participates in community life according to their abilities and desires.
Years of experience, of partnership with people with intellectual disabilities and collaboration with doctors, psychologists, educators and other professionals in the field, have enabled L’Arche communities to develop a high quality approach to the reality of intellectual disability.
Each community welcomes and respects the beliefs and traditions of the people living there, encouraging them to deepen their spiritual life, whether or not rooted in a traditional religious affiliation.
The role of L’Arche International, as a unifying organization, is to support its members administratively, legally and financially and help them live out their mission. As an international organization, the Federation seeks to promote diversity and solidarity across geographical and psychological borders.
Ultimate authority in the Federation, it is vested in the Federation Assembly, which sets out the global vision of L’Arche, as reflected in the experience and issues of community members. It is composed of delegates from each community (people with intellectual disabilities, assistants and Board Members).
The International Leader and vice-International Leader guide the International Federation and hold authority regarding membership in L’Arche and the implementation of its mission. They call communities to live, grow and adapt to the changing world, in their ongoing application of our key reference texts. They promote unity in the Federation.
The International Stewardship Board ensures that L’Arche operates in a sound legal and financial framework. It works closely with international leaders.
Where: Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
Day of activities in Downpatrick on June 25, 2017