For volunteers

Camphill Svetlana, a life-sharing community for people with special needs its principle activities are agricultural, is part of the worldwide Camphill Movement founded in the 1940's by Dr Karl Konig, an Austrian physician, writer and educator. It draws inspiration from the philosophy and practical teachings of Dr Rudolf Steiner, called Anthroposophy. By the end of the 1940's there were five centres clustered together outside Aberdeen, Scotland. In the 1950's new centres were founded in England , Northern Ireland , Germany , America and South Africa. Throughout the last decade new communities have sprung up in other countries and continents. Each has its own particular purpose, but at the heart of every centre the guiding impulses have been the same: the effort of each individual to extend his personal ambitions to help others and through living in a community to create a healing environment that encourages everyone to develop to his fullest potential...

Where and Who we Are
Our community is situated in a rural village close to the Lake Ladoga and 140km east of St Petersburg. Currently our village accommodates 16 adults with special needs, about 15 co-workers and 4 staff children. We have 4 houses which vary in size from 7 to 12 people. Our 57ha farm and gardens are run according to bio-dynamic methods. Our dairy produces milk for the village and processes it into yoghurt and cheese. Our pig production unit has 3 sows and we sell up to 50 piglets per year. The vegetable and herb garden supplies for most the village needs and an excess is sold. Our Bakery produces bread, biscuits and cakes for the village and for sale. Our woodworkshop is currently developing to produce toys for sale.During the Summer months most help is needed in the garden and on the land. In the Winter months there are other workshops which vary according to need or availability.
What is a Co-worker?
All people who volunteer to work and live in our community are co-workers. Together we take on the responsibility of caring for the adults, running the house and workshops. There is no hierachy, manager, etc., so the community decisions are made by groups which are formed to deal with the different aspects of our of life. The central decision-making body is the Village Council, comprising the permanent co-workers of the village. A temporary co-worker is someone who joins our community for a year or less. A permanent co-worker is someone who commits themselves for more than a year, or have made Camphill their permanent home. They carry more responsibility, ensure continuity of the community. Their financial needs may differ from these of a temporary co-worker.

Life in our Community
Life in a Camphill community will probably be different from the way you have been living. You will become part of an extended family, which includes adults with special needs, other co-workers and their children. As a co-worker you may be required to take care of an individual or group of people's personal hygiene. You will also assist in the house community, helping with housework, cooking, cleaning under the guidance of the responsible permanent co-worker in the house. If you join us you will be part of a diverse group from many different cultures and nationalities. In principle we are a Russian speaking community. It is advised that you come with some basic idea of Russian to communicate with the villagers, with the idea to learn more. When neccessary meetings are translated into English and German. Table conversations should be largely in Russian. Our cultural and social life is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Living in a Camphill community is a way of life and not a 9-5 job. Taking an active part in the social life (Village meetings, festivals, and daily meals) is no less important than the work expected of you. At times the hours may be long and demanding, but on the lighter side there are activities including plays, music, and singing. If you play a musical instrument please bring it along. Your initiative and participation in this realm will be greatly appreciated as our community is enriched by what you can offer.

Christianity is central to our way of life, though we are entirely non-denominational. The Christian festivals form an integral part of our annual rhythm and around each one special cultural events are organised. On Saturday evenings a Bible Evening takes place in the houses. We look at the events in the village and in the wider world, and a conversation takes place regarding a weekly reading from the New Testament. In order to lift this occasion out of the everyday routine we dress more formally. Co-workers need to set an example and dress appropriately.

Remuneration & Accommodation
All work is done voluntarily. All co-workers receive their board and lodging and modest monthly pocket money (about $20).Usually each co-worker is provided with a single room and will be required to share bathroom facilities with other household members. On rare occasions you may be asked to share a room with another co-worker.Our way of life demands a certain amount of flexibility. It can happen that after a time one is asked to move to another house or work place because a greater need has arisen. While this may be difficult for you, the basic attitude of Camphill is to help where there is a need.

Cars and Transport
Our community has only two vehicles which are driven by appointed drivers only. We are 8km away from the nearest shops, bus stop and train "station". There is daily public transport to Volchov, the nearest Town (40min), and to St Petersburg (2/3 hours).

You might wish to take out medical insurance to cover your personal medical and dental needs as this is not provided by us. Private medical care is relatively expensive and government care is not always to be recommended.

Holidays& Free Time
People staying with us for less than 6 months would usually take their holiday at the beginning or end of their stay. People staying for up to a year may take a holiday in the middle of their stay for perhaps 2 to 3 weeks. Please advise well in advance when you plan to take your holiday, or if friends and family want to visit so that we can accomodate you. Alternative arrangements can be made if agreed with the responsible permanent co-worker in the house and work place. Co-workers are asked to be available at all times, including weekends according to a reasonable daily routine. Free time should be taken when needed and organised with your house and workshop. The costs of your holiday are your own responsibility. Any guests you may invite to the village would be expected to pay a contribution towards their board and lodging.

Personal Conduct
At Camphill Village Svetlana, our work and lifestyle aims to create an environment that is safe, healthy and promotes the full potential of each individual. Because of the nature of our work the use of drugs is not acceptable and the consumption of alcohol on the premises is not encouraged. Those smoking cigarettes must not do so during work or indoors. All co-workers need to set an example, in our dress, hygiene, language, attitude, etc.

Useful qualifications are welcome, but no special qualifications are necessary besides enthusisam, commitment to learn and a willingness to share life with all kinds of people. Please send a copy of all certificates/diplomas that would be relevant to your application.
We do not have the means to pay for your flight ticket and visa costs.
Applicants accustomed to Western European or American standards of living should note that Russia is a developing country and our Camphill Village is not a financially wealthy community. Living within our economic limitations may require some adaptation on your part. You should also be flexible towards the Russian culture, i.e. different attitudes to work and life. Also, if the big night-life is your 'scene', Svetlana is probably not the place for you.

Should you decide to apply we would need the following information:
  1. Your reasons for wanting to join us and some information about yourself, i.e. Curriculum Vitae (stating your age, background, religion, skills, hobbies and work experience.)
  2. Two contactable written references.
  3. Please tell us when you would like to join us and for how long.
  4. Have you ever visited a Camphill centre?
  5. A contact email address
  6. You are placed in a work place according to need. Although we cannot promise to place you in the workshop of your choice, please give us an indication of which workplace/s you could contribute to.
  7. The following questions concerning your well being are important to us in order to find the most suitable tasks and working environment for you if we cannot meet you personally:
    • Do you suffer any kind of psychiatric illness that could affect your work with disabled people?
    • Do you suffer from any kind of physical disability that could affect your work with disabled people?
    • Have there been any past illnesses or operations that could affect your present health by working with disabled people?
Information on Applying for Visas for foreign nationals
You will be responsible for organising and paying for your own visa. This can be done at a Russian Consulate in your place of permanent residence or through a local travel agency in some countries. We suggest that your first task is to contact them, because the requirements vary widely from country to country. You should ask:

  • The cost

  • The period needed to process the visa

  • Whether they accept scanned copies of the invitation or the original (this may depend on the type of visa you require)

  • Whether you need an Official Invitation from the Migration Office here in Russia, or whether a simple letter of invitation from our Karl Konig Charitable Trust is sufficient.

  • Additional demands (eg. HIV test, Insurance etc)

Your next step is to get an invitation. If you intend to visit us for a month or less, we advise you to get an invitation for a tourist visa through an agency. We can suggest the following (English speaking) or

Applications can be filled in on their web site. Payments are made by credit card. Please confirm with them where you will need to register your visa on your arrival in Russia. This will need to be within 3-7 working days and so must be arranged in your travel plans.

If you plan to come for over a month, you will need an Invitation from our Karl Konig Trust. This will qualify you for a 'charitable' visa. You will need to send a copy of your passport with the specified dates of your arrival and approximate departure: E-mail:

You will also need to inform us whether you need an Official Invitation or a simple letter of invitation. The Official Invitation must be obtained from the Police Department. It will take at least 5 weeks to process, and if you need the original, please allow at least one month for postage. If time is short, we can express post your invitation (2/3 days), if you agree to reimburse us the cost on your arrival (aprox. $55). Problems do arise: constant communication with us can avoid disappointment!

  • When you receive the Invitation, with this you must go to the Russian Consulate near to you to make your application for a visa.

  • Within 3 working days of your arrival in Russia you must remind us to register your visa in Volchov. Please remind us!
Good Luck!