What is Plast and what is the purpose of Plast?
Plast is a Ukrainian scouting organization created in 1912 in Ukraine. At that time, Ukraine was divided between the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires. Ukrainians dreamed of an independent country, and wanted to preserve their language and culture. Therefore, Plast was created to realize an important dream of Ukrainians – to preserve the idea of being Ukrainian for this Ukraine.
Since 1912, the goal of Plast has remained unchanged: to develop Ukrainian youth into members of society, with an inherent sense of initiative and responsibility, able to draw upon their scouting experience, law and oath throughout their lives for the development of Ukraine.
Plast operates on the classical principles of scouting and is one of the first scouting organizations to be created in the world. In 2022, Plast scouts were supposed to celebrate their 110th anniversary, however because of the Russian attack, each Plast member had to individually choose how to stand up for the defense of Ukraine.
What role does Plast play for Ukraine?
Plast, the largest youth and children’s organization in the country, has a long history of serving Ukraine.
After the collapse of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, which included Ukraine, Ukrainians tried to gain their independence in 1917-1920 as the Ukrainian People’s Republic. However, without the support of others, under those difficult circumstances, it was not possible to succeed in becoming an independent country. Ukraine was divided between Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union (it occupied most of the Ukrainian territories).
The Soviet authorities killed Ukrainians for their pro-Ukrainian stance and desire to gain an independent state. Plast was banned in the Soviet Union, and persecution of Plast members began.
Plast scouts, finding themselves in exile in other countries, united around the idea of scouting and of creating a Ukrainian environment for themselves and their families. Many Ukrainians, not having a state, created it for themselves. Therefore, Plast centers began to be created all over the world (in more than 10 countries).
Today, Plast is an organization recognized in Ukraine by both the state and society as having made a significant contribution to the development of Ukraine. At the state level, the corresponding law “On Plast (scout) movement” was adopted. Ukrainian society supports Plast with resources, because Plast’s main financial support consists of charitable contributions from Ukrainians.
Does Plast continue to work with children during the war?
Plast continues to fulfill its main goal – to develop children and youth under all circumstances. Unfortunately, half of the territory of Ukraine is under constant shelling. In this part, face-to-face classes with children stopped completely, as most families were forced to leave their homes and flee abroad. For those who remain, we attempt to continue online classes.
In the territories that are less exposed to shelling from the Russian side, we continue our activities in premises that have bomb shelters in case of air raids.
Adults in Plast talk to children about the war, help them adapt psychologically and do everything possible to create an environment of calm, support and friendship for them even in war conditions.
How do the Plast members contribute to the victory of Ukraine?
From the first day of the war, every Plast member and tens of thousands of previously active Plast members have been doing everything possible to help Ukraine achieve victory.
About a thousand educators have not stopped talking to children and continue online activities to help them overcome the shock. We have already resumed activities with 70% of children.
Volunteers organized humanitarian hubs to help Ukrainians: they provide food, clothing, medical supplies, find temporary accommodation, and evacuate extended families from the war zone. More than 50 humanitarian hubs have been established since the first months of the Russian attack, and more than 3,000 Plast members are involved in providing assistance daily. In particular, we receive help from Plast scouts from other countries who have organized humanitarian aid collection centers abroad in order to help Ukraine.
About 500 active Plast members and thousands more who were previously involved were called to the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend our country. Plast provides them with defensive gear, because our state can not supply every defender with everything that is necessary.
A large number of Ukrainians, scouts, people all over the world joined together to help Ukraine. We thank everyone for their help!
Does Plast cooperate with other scouting organizations?
Of course, during the 110-year history of its existence, Plast scouts have cooperated with many scouts from various scouting organizations. We are sincerely grateful to you, friends, that you are with us always, especially now, when Ukrainians must win back their independence for once and for all. Your support enables us to continue helping children and youth grow and change the world for the better.
Click here to read more about cooperation.
What help do Plast members need in wartime?
Friends, we are extremely grateful to everyone for your helping hand and support for Ukraine. We work in three directions:
1. Work with children.
Not being members of WOSR, we are not able to attend international scouting events. Therefore, we will be grateful for an invitation to your activities and events, because it is currently dangerous to hold mass events for children in Ukraine. To do this, please write to: [email protected]
2. Humanitarian help.
We continue to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians. Presently, we directed our efforts to help people in the frontline areas, and we will be happy to receive help with food, medicine or hygiene products: [email protected]
3. Protection of soldiers in the army.
We help as much as we can with protective equipment for our Plast members who are in the military. They ask for help because they don’t have everything they need (sleeping bags, thermal underwear, first-aid kits, helmets, etc.). Plast will support them, because they embody their scout duty to “Love Ukraine”. Any goods or resources for our military Plast members would be greatly appreciated: Donate.
Does Plast exist in other countries?
Yes, Plast exists in more than 27 countries of the world.
When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, Plast was banned, and Plast members were persecuted. Having found themselves in exile in other countries, Ukrainians united around Plast. This is how Plast centers began to appear all over the world.
Also, after February 24, many scouts were forced to leave their homes and go abroad, joining Plast centers in different countries. We make every effort to conduct activities, trainings, and camps for them, even in such circumstances.
We thank all representatives of world scouting who support us and involve our children in their activities.