Jean Vanier first visited an institution for the mentally disabled in 1964. Disturbed by the sad and violent conditions he found there, Jean bought a small house in Trosly-Breuil, France and invited two men from the institution to live with him. Others soon joined. He named this first care home "L'Arche" after Noah's Ark.
Jean demonstrated that mentally challenged people are not misfits or problems – but human beings with a great deal to contribute. All they want is for us to treat them like everybody else, and recognize their same desire to love and be loved.
By living in community with people who society perceives as weak or different – we open ourselves up to be challenged and to grow.
Jean passed away earlier this month at the age of 90. He is a longtime friend and mentor to Questscope, and his philosophy has deeply influenced our work.
In this short video, our Founder and Jordan Country Director reflect on their friendships with Jean and how the foundation he helped Questscope build will make change for generations.