L’Arche in Ukraine

I realise more and more that loving means welcoming other people as they are, with great respect because they are different; they are someone, they are a child of God. Others have their gifts, their vulnerability, their beauty and of course their fragilities. When we welcome others, we free them so they can be themselves.

(Jean Vanier)

 

Brief history

The first L’Arche community  in Ukraine was founded in Lviv. Zenia Kushpeta, a Ukrainian-Canadian who was born and raised in Canada, a pianist and professor at the university, brought  the idea of L’Arche to Ukraine 

Having experience of living in a L’Arche community in Canada and being deeply moved by people with disabilities, in the 1998 she gathered a group of  people to pray and prepare the beginning  of a L’Arche  community in Ukraine.

During preparation period the craft workshops for people with disabiliries were founded. Initially the coordinating center "Larche-Kovcheh" was situated at the Center of spiritual support for people with disabilities "Emmaus" (Ukrainian Catholic University). The first workshop opened in 1998, and later – three additional workshops and a separate program for persons with profound disabilities.

These 5 programs were the basis for the foundation of the L'Arche community in Ukraine. In 2008 under the direction of Sr.Lukia Murashko (O.S.B.M), the first community leader, the community in Ukraine became member of the International Federation of L'Arche. 

In November, 2011, the first Community Respite Care House was open.

Today L’Arche-Kovcheh community in Lviv consists of 4 workshops, a Day Program for people with profound intellectual disabilities and a community House. The community unites more than 100 people (67 people with disabilities, 30 assistants, 6 members of the Administrative Board and volunteers).

We work and  rest, pray and celebrate, eat, share joy and difficulties together.

 

We call people with intellectual disabilities “core members” or “druzi” (friends) whom we consider to be our teachers of friendship and simplicity of life.