Haiti: New signs of Life
The joint ODF and L’Arche emergency appeal to support the two L’Arche communities in Haiti has so far raised an extraordinary £75,000. “This was an extra ordinary appeal and we were immensely moved by the support it received from L’Arche supporters in the UK. Haiti continues to be very vulnerable but as the abridged report form the International Development Co-ordinator, Isabelle Robert, Delegated Co-ordinator to Haiti reveals plans for re-development are taking shape.” John Sargent L’Arche UK National Co-ordinator
At Carrefour, the epicentre of the earthquake, the residents of the neighbourhood have demolished what remained of their houses. In the absence of adequate infrastructure, the streets have gradually disappeared beneath the rubble. A narrow path provides the only access to the L'Arche Carrefour community today. At the end of this little path, L'Arche is an oasis of peace. Some 70 of our neighbours have made this their home.
Thanks to the network of friendships and support that has been created around L'Arche Haiti we are able to think about the future.
We are building temporary shelters to house 30 people for about two years. a house for men, one for women, a multipurpose community room, as well as toilets and a shower room.
We have set aside three days this coming October (29-31st) to reflect on the future of the community, and will welcome a number of resource people to the event. It has become clear that L'Arche Carrefour cannot be rebuilt on its current site; therefore, the most important issue before us is the relocation of the community. Where is the most suitable place for us? Where will we be able to welcome an even greater number of people with learning disabilities and testify to our common humanity in the very heart of Haitian society? We are completely humbled by the sheer enormity of the misery and poverty of the current situation, but we are also deeply moved by the acts of kindness and solidarity that, despite it all, continue to be offered. Thank you for walking with L'Arche Haìti on this road of humility and humanity.
To read the unabridged version of this newsletter from L'Arche Haiti online, please click here
Ian Green's Triathlon
When Ian Green from Liverpool was diagnosed as diabetic two years ago his Doctor encouraged him to exercise. Ian, who hadn’t run since school days, set himself the challenge of completing a sprint triathlon - a 500m swim then a 20km cycle ride followed by a 5km run.
Married to Edna, a member of L’Arche Liverpool, Ian took the opportunity to combine his own physical challenge with ambition of raising money for ODF. Friends, family and many people who work with Ian in The Triad Building in Bootle supported him and helped raise almost £1,000 to ‘Raise the Roof for L’Arche Zimbabwe’.
“It was really good to know that the money I raised made such a difference to people.”
Gerry's Munro Marathon Completed in Record Time
A jubilant Gerry says “I started on Saturday, 10 April, on Ben Lomond and finished on Tuesday 6 July, on Ben Chonzie. The total time was 88 days well inside my “most optimistic” target of 99 days. More than 130 folk walked with me on 200 different Munros. The support was fantastic and I could not have found the motivation to get round in under 3 months without it. THANK YOU.
Thanks, also, to my many very generous sponsors. The total raised from all sources is now (27 August) around £30,000 and another £5,000 is “in the pipeline.” My next big challenge is to get my sponsorship up to the target of £50,000. To help with this challenge I plan a series of talks in the final quarter of the year. Hopefully the venues will include Wester Ross, Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. More information about the walk and talks can be found on Gerry’s blog at http://dglmf.wordpress.com
Gerry was walking to raise funds for the David Gemmel Living Memorial Fund which is raising funds for L’Arche in Kenya and L’Arche Edinburgh
L'Arche is a collaboration of gifts, experience, time, expertise and resources and each is vital to the success of the whole. The communities in Africa are dependent on ODF and every donation makes a vital difference to the work they do. If you have not considered it already would you think about regular giving? Standing orders are the lifeblood of the African communities as they enable them to plan ahead.
We currently need to raise over £100,000 per year to pay for food, clothing, schooling and small salaries in Zimbabwe and Uganda. A regular £5/£10 gift can go a long way to supporting these communities. To set up a standing order all you have to do is complete the enclosed form and send it off to L’Arche in Silsden.
0800 917 1337
Zimbabwe’s 2nd House Nearly Complete
Hilary Wilson, a long term assistant in L’Arche Liverpool has been asked
by L’Arche International to accompany the community in Zimbabwe. Here
are extracts from Hilary’s first report following her visit in the summer.
Zimbabwe’s 2nd House Nearly Complete
Hilary Wilson, a long term assistant in L’Arche Liverpool has been asked by L’Arche International to accompany the community in Zimbabwe. Here are extracts from Hilary’s first report following her visit in the summer.
On this first visit I felt very at home, very welcomed by everyone in the community. I stayed at Ngoma House where I woke every morning to the sound of washing of people and clothes at 6am, with the smell of wood smoke as porridge cooking got under way (especially if there was no power as on several days). Everyone is busy between 6 and 8am when a great deal of work gets done. After breakfast the folk from the other house round the corner and the minibus carrying the children, who live with their families arrive, and everyone piles into the chapel at 9am for prayer, followed by general greeting – then work in the garden, houses, school and workshop.
Being together comes easily. Evenings are spent with everyone in the lounge after supper, round a wood fire in the cold season. Most seem well, though life is not easy. Living costs, especially of food, are high, as everything is imported, so meals are nearly all of maize meal (sadza) with kale from the garden. Any meat, fish or eggs are a rare treat - and fresh fruit is hardly seen in the house.
Last year the community began building the extension to the 2nd house; foundations and brick walls are in place, with most doorways and windows, but there is still much to do. Finance is a constant anxiety, not only for salaries and food but also for maintenance. The economy has stabilised since the introduction of the US$ and the Rand, but everything is very expensive. In the local shop food prices seemed on a par with those in Europe but wages are low.
In L’Arche we want to build mutual relationships. I came back feeling that this is one of the greatest challenges – not just to improve communication between L’Arche in Zimbabwe and partners in Europe, communities and ODF, but to discover, to live, what it really means to need one another - what are the gifts of L’Arche Zimbabwe without which we in Liverpool, Tecklenburg. Edinburgh, Belfast, Lambeth, cannot truthfully be all that we are called to be?
New Community Leader for Uganda
Monica is from Gulu in the Northern part of Uganda. She is Acholi by tribe and Luo speaking. Orphaned as a child Monica grew up in community with the White Fathers. Monica studied community psychology at Kampala University first came to the community as a volunteer.
“I was touched by the people with learning disabilities. When I first met Tom Onyango I greeted him, but he kept quiet and looked away with a smile on his face. I told him “You have to say something before I leave today. When the time came I sat with him again but he just looked at me and smiled. Eventually when I started to walk away he called and said in Luganda ‘wange’, which means mine or you are mine.”
Initially appointed community psychologist, Monica was asked to lead the community at the beginning of the year. She says “I ask for your prayers so God’s spirit can guide my leadership.”
Changes @ ODF
There have been some changes at ODF. Jane Salmonson has moved on to lead the fundraising effort at L’Arche International. Her responsibilities have passed on to Heather Coogan. Heather is a Regional Co-ordinator with L’Arche UK. Meanwhile Tessa Till continues to work tirelessly ODF.
You can contact Heather on 07979 810 770. Her email address is email@example.com
ODF’s new postal address is;
Overseas Development Fund
L'Arche UK, 10 Briggate, Silsden,
Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 9JT
Overseas Development Fund
The L'Arche Overseas Development Fund, known as ODF was set up in 1991 to support the development of L'Arche Communities in countries where there is little or no government funding for people with learning disabilities.
In the last three years ODF has supported L'Arche in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Haiti, India, Kenya, the Philippines, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Current Major ODF Appeals
The first new L'Arche community in Africa in 13 years is being established in Kenya at Nyahururu in the Great Rift Valley. The new community will provide a home and valuable work opportunities for local people with learning disabilities. It will also aim to tackle the stigma of learning disability, find out more.
The devastating earthquake in January this year caused bereavements in the Haiti community and left its remaining members homeless. Find out more about the desperate situation in Haiti and what you can to help.
The community in Zimbabwe supports 25 children and young adults with learning disabilities, many of whom are orphaned or rejected by their families.
The community provides a home, school and workshop, where activities include candle-making, tie-dying and producing clothes, which generate income. However, there is almost no government support to help meet the living costs of people with learning disabilities in Zimbabwe. Whilst the economy has stabilised, the country is still dealing with the aftermath of rampant inflation. Life is hard and the costs of bare essentials are extremely high.
The community is reliant on external support for its survival and needs £50,000 in order to survive the next year.
The L'Arche community in Uganda is based in Kampala. It supports 17 people with learning disabilities and a further 20 people with disabilities are welcomed in the day provision service.
Most of these young children and adults are orphaned or abandoned because of the stigma attached to learning disabilities.
The community receives no financial support from the government. It derives all of its local income from gifts, rents, fees and sales of goods made in the workshops. The balance comes form charitable donations from overseas. It needs £50,000 per year to survive.
Your support is greatly appreciated and makes a huge difference. If you would like to help any of L'Arche's appeals, or a L'Arche community in the UK, please visit our donate page.