L’Arche is a unique movement based on friendship between people with and without intellectual disabilities. A movement of shared moments in life, from the most mundane to the most special. It’s about creating diverse and engaged communities and making inclusion a priority, changing the way we look at disability.
At L’Arche, call it magic, being different is our way of life.
With and without go so well together that we hardly know which is which.
Big deal! Because what really counts for us
is to live a life that is more full, in connection with one another.
Who ever said that women can’t be carpenters? Thankfully, Tatenda and Stella never bought into that stereotype. They both found a passion for manual work and creating something that their community needed: wooden standing frames. This much needed piece of equipment, which is too expensive for many families in their region, allows children with reduced mobility to stand up straight as part of their physical rehabilitation. Tatenda has several disabilities herself, and very little formal manual training; she wasn’t the apprentice that Stella had in mind at the start. But today, she is living proof that everything can be learned and that innovation and creativity deserve to be a part of everyone’s life.
When Bilal and his friends at L’Arche realized that families in their community were struggling to meet the costs of their frequent hospital stays, it was impossible for them to sit idly by and do nothing. Together they began collecting wool from local sheep, cleaning it, and spinning it to create pretty decorative objects that they put up for sale. The result? They earned enough profits from the sales to buy food and distribute it to patients at the local pediatric hospital. Every action is the right action when it comes to helping others and building strong community ties!
The roles were quickly reversed for Nesi and Tamzin, when cancer struck. The care-giver became the receiver of care. While Nesi was originally paired to assist Tamzin, today, things have evolved. Tamzin, who is a cancer survivor herself, now supports Nesi in her journey with the disease. Between these two friends, lots can be said with just a look or a gesture. And they’re refusing to let this ordeal keep them from finding moments of joy—whether its sharing a delicious picnic or breaking out a few dance moves.
An unexpected and transformative experience, where all ways of being are welcome.
To be wise, with and without the folly. Rebels, with and without the tattoos. Beautiful, with and without flaws, and more often without ego. To be happy, sad, proud or angry, with and without a filter, but always with respect.
With and without, we are essential to each other. But what’s even more wonderful is what we can achieve together.
For almost 60 years, we’ve created spaces of friendship where people, with and without intellectual disabilities, share living experiences and enrich each other’s visions of the world.
Today, L’Arche continues to transform lives and model a more human society.
We are present all around the world, each community with its own unique flavour, and a door that is open for you.
But no matter how your solidarity with the movement expresses itself, what matters most to us is: