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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Life on A Hill of Roses

Latvia: The Camphill community “Rožkalni“ (translation: hill of roses) was founded in 1999. Currently some 15 people live and work together in two family houses. Eight of them are villagers - adults with special needs, of whom some are mentally disabled. Rozkalni is in the very beginning of becoming a village community, and might in the future expand to include about 40 souls, all told.

Latvia was often challenged during the last centuriesinits fight against various occupying powers. As an example we can look at the 20th century. In 1918 the Russian Revolution liberated the country from the Tsarist autocracy. Two decades later, the Second World War first led to the occupation by Soviet Russia, then Nazi Germany and finally after the end of the war, Latvia was integrated into the Soviet Union. Later on, after the decline of the Soviet Union, Latvia presented itself to the world public, as an independent country, which was branded by the past, but at the same time was full of new impulses, giving the country hope for the future. One of these impulses dedicated itself to people with special needs, who otherwise would have been condemned to an existence at the periphery of society.

It were a few people from the region of Valmiera, who learned about Waldorf Education. During a stay in Norway, they got to know the Camphill movement, which turned out to be a very important experience for their future. They were deeply touched by the idea that people with disabilities and without, work and live together in a community supporting each other. Therefore they decided to start an own Camphill community in Latvia. Luckily they already possessed the farm “Rožkalni“, which became the home of the new initiative.

Already in 2000, Camphill Rozkalni was able to admit the first people in need of soul care into their community. Just two years later, twelve people had already found a new home in the two buildings of the Camphill village community.

Roskalni runs a biologically managed farm and vegetable garden, they provide regular forestry activities (making fire wood), and have a small dairy where they make cheese and other milk-products. Thanks to a financial grant from Norway, the initiative was able to buy adjoining farmland (28 ha) and wooded area (15 ha). The various workshops, which currently rather serve as venues for leisure activities, are supposed to turn into real work places. And finally Rozkalni hopes to find the support necessary in order to build a third house, thus allowing the village community to grow further and admit more people in need.

So far Rozkalni is continuing to rely on donations in order to survive. Fortunately the initiative has gained reputation during the past years and also drew attention to public persons and as a result the local politicians benevolently look upon the work of the village community.