In 1964 in France, Jean Vanier, distressed by the isolation and loneliness of local people with intellectual disability, invited two men from an institution to live with him in a small cottage. He called it L'Arche (The Ark) and so the idea was born. The organisation has spread throughout the world.
It has been said that in a world where competition, power and possessions are valued more than people, L'Arche has created an environment of care, understanding, inclusion and belonging for its community.
L'Arche speaks of what it means to become fully human, where each person's contribution is valued. L'Arche offers a community model of living, which means that the entire community shares a communal life. Community and faith inspire us to be open to people’s differing intellectual capacities. As Jean Vanier has said, “…the person with an intellectual disability teaches us the way of trust, of simplicity, of love and of unity”.
In this context it is very exciting for L'Arche to announce the L’Arche Australia Fellowship. We are seeking to attract more Australians to live within the Sydney community. This opportunity offers the chance of living within a L’Arche house, experiencing the context of Jesus' teaching of striving to live a simple life and supporting people with intellectual disability. Each house in Sydney L'Arche has 3-4 core members (people with a disability) and 3-4 assistants to support them.
The Fellowship holder would gain the chance to experience life in the Sydney community and overseas. The Fellowship requires an initial twelve months commitment to L'Arche in Sydney. Training will be offered during this time. This is followed by a three-month overseas placement, after which the Fellowship holder is invited to spend another three months in the Sydney community. Therefore in total an 18-month commitment is required.
The Fellowship includes:
- L'Arche training and formation (may include travel to different parts of Australia)
- Free board and lodging for the duration of the Fellowship
- Training expenses covered while undertaking Cert III in Disabilities
- $500 expenses per month during the Fellowship
- Overseas travel: if you achieve the aims of the Fellowship, L'Arche will assist you in finding an overseas placement. Flights will be paid for and board and lodging overseas will be met by the local L'Arche community. The Fellowship also covers travel/health insurance for up to three months and a stipend of $2000 for a 3-month period.
As one current member of the Sydney community said, “A place where you come as you are – that’s L’Arche.”
The journey of a lifetime begins with one small step. Take that step now and change someone's life!
To learn more or to apply for the Fellowship, please visit larche.org.au/larche-australia-fellowship-sydney or P Krishnee 9787 8132 or Kumar 0411 401 690. To contact the local L’Arche community, please visit larche.org.au/larche-communities/hunter.