L’Arche International Foundation


L’Arche was founded by Canadian Dr. Jean Vanier in 1964 when he invited two people with intellectual disabilities – Philippe Seux and Raphael Simi – to leave their institution and come and live with him in a small house in Trosly-Breuil, France, which he named “L’Arche.” There are now 149 communities in 38 countries around the world.
Jean Vanier is a philosopher, writer and religious and moral leader who for the last fifty hears has been working to transform how the world understands, receives and celebrates people with intellectual disabilities. He is a radical advocate for the poor and the vulnerable around the world. Vanier is recipient of numerous honours and awards recognizing his humanitarian work and his leadership as a social visionary. The 2015 Templeton Prize honors Vanier and L’Arche for demonstrating that “belonging” matters to each and ever human being. The award recognizes L’Arche as an innovation; it is possible to go beyond traditional models of care and giving and charitable work, and rather create communities that both protect and celebrate those who are most vulnerable. L’Arche communities foster human transformation, both for those who are visibly vulnerable, and for those who have come as assistants or caregivers.


L’Arche is an International Federation dedicated to the creation and growth of homes, programs and support networks where people who have intellectual disabilities and people without intellectual disabilities live mutual relationships and share the daily life, building community together. There are currently 149 communities in 38 countries worldwide. Each community comprises of homes and day programs, which operate according to a not-for-profit model. Our model of care is unique: people with intellectual disabilities are at the heart of L’Arche – not as clients, patients, or recipients of services but as friends, teachers and companions. L’Arche supports the personal growth and development of each member so that they can fully develop their potential. Communities provide work, therapeutic and leisure activities that are a source of dignity and fulfilment for their members. L’Arche communities give each person the confidence and skills to grow, to achieve their life-goals, to make a contribution to society regardless of their intellectual and physical limitations. This is done through the development of long-term mutual relationships, providing a stable home environment, on-going training of those who provide assistance to community members with disabilities, and partnerships with professional care providers and government authorities. L’Arche International Foundation aims to support the work of l’Arche International which serves the federation of l’Arche Communities throughout the world.

Geographic Focus


Programme Areas

Support of people with intellectual disabilities

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