The British Slovene Society has been supporting Barka since 1997. It is a charity run by L’Arche, the Canadian parent charity which operates internationally, and was the first charity of its kind to set up in Slovenia in the village of Zbilje, close to Medvode, about 20 kms north of Ljubljana.
By coincidence, David Lloyd, our Chairman, lived in Zbilje when he was Ambassador to Slovenia and came to know Skupnost Barka well as neighbours and friends. It was the then Society Chairman, Keith Miles, who approached David in search of a ‘good cause’ in Slovenia to donate money collected by the British-Slovene Society, as a result of which the connection was forged. Shirlie Roden, one of our Trustees, and a long-standing lover of Slovenia, has brought her music to the community on a number of occasions.
Historically, Društvo Barka, under the tireless stewardship of Manca and Klemen Kastelic, has lived a hand-to-mouth existence. Staff who come from all over Europe are voluntary and devoted to their work. Only relatively recently has the State made some modest funding available and some money has come from the EU. Barka now has two residential villas and a magnificent workshop/studio/chapel complex built and donated by a German benefactor. Its 25 or so residents, some who board and some who attend daily, are fully integrated into the Zbilje community and much loved by them.
We invite anyone wishing to donate to Barka to contact the British-Slovene Society Treasurer, Gorazd Kert on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to learn more about Barka in Slovene, see http://www.barka-drustvo.si.
Here is their blog where they report on their events: http://skupnostbarka.blogspot.com/.