19 February 2018

40 years of sharing life together - L’Arche Canberra’s ruby jubilee

| Lachlan Roberts
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Stephen James (centre) started his journey with L’Arche two years ago, while John Francis Van Halderen (right) celebrated 30 years in membership with L’Arche last year. Also photographed is L’Arche Co-ordinator, Stewart Betts. Photos: Supplied.

Friday 9 March 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of L’Arche Genesaret in Canberra, a place where people with and without disabilities experience a place of belonging and welcome.

L’Arche, which is French for Ark, is a community of people with and without intellectual disability sharing life together.

Communities of L’Arche challenge the conventional notion of support and caregiving and promote awareness that everybody is both vulnerable and gifted.

The communities support people with an intellectual disability to play a vital and active role in creating a more human society, so people with disabilities and their friends in L’Arche live authentic mutual relationships, discovering their need for one another.

L’Arche Genesaret started in a single house in Bungendore, before moving to Canberra in 1980. L’Arche Genesaret currently consists of four homes in the Woden area and with another home in preparation in Tuggeranong.

Anne Walsh (right) will be one of the MCs at the L’Arche 40th anniversary on 9 March. Anne, who has been a member of L’Arche for 36 years, received an ACT Inclusion Award in December last year, along with Lyn Kelly, also a long-term member of L’Arche.

They strive to enable the members living with an intellectual disability to experience independence and choice in daily life and maintain employment, therapeutic and recreational activities, day programs and social connections with friends, family, churches and the broader local community.

L’Arche also operates a social enterprise in Phillip called ‘The Hub’, which offers courses, venue hire and a central space for the whole L’Arche community to gather.

L’Arche in Australia has had a significant impact on social change and empowerment for people with intellectual disabilities in Australia, including supporting people leaving institutions in the 1970s and 1980s, the realisation of legal rights for persons with disabilities in the 1990s and the recent transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Notwithstanding the enormous material support provided by the NDIS, L’Arche Genesaret continues to respond to essential needs of all people, especially those with intellectual disabilities: to know their worth, to share their gifts and to help grow a more compassionate world.

The event takes place on Friday 9 March from 6 pm at the Woden Southern Cross Club.

Bookings can be made through www.trybooking.com or via the L’Arche office on (02) 6282 9066 or email canberra@larche.org.au.

L’Arche Genesaret is very appreciative of its long-term sponsors as well as the sponsors of the birthday dinner and wishes to thank those for their generous support.

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