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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Active Kyiv

A Generation of Perfect Ukrainians

These kids can do anything. Theyre good at astronomy, sailing, sewing, and navigating a plane. They are prepared for any challenge or obstacle. And they learned it all through Plast, a Ukrainian scouting organisation that celebrated its 100th birthday this past summer.
Over the course of a year, Plast conducts more than 100 education camps which specialise in sports, swimming, sailing, diving, aeronautics, arts, skiing, mountaineering, archaeology, horseback riding, ecology and more.

When we think of scouts, we usually think of children, but Plast memberships are lifelong and adults are encouraged to participate as mentors long after theyve stopped earning medals. Its a lifetime of learning, and even the youngest members, cub scouts (age 6-12), are likely already better versed in most of these activities than an adult who has never joined Plast. 
Plast is helping to raise a perfect generation of wholesome, well-rounded children. Whats truly exceptional about this organisation is that it is Ukrainian through and through, and shows a steadfast commitment to Ukraines language, traditions, and values; something that seems more and more necessary these days. 

100 Years of Ukrainian Values 
2012 is a momentous year for Plast, as it marks the 100th year since the organisation was founded. In 1912, the first Ukrainian scouts swore their first Plast oaths and began ironing out the ideological framework for the group, planning out educational activities and priorities for future scouts. The bedrock of the organisation was Ukrainian values and traditions. The rest is history. 
Plast did so well in Ukraine that it has expanded abroad, with branches in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The organisation boasts 15,000 members worldwide, and all of them celebrated the Plast centennial with their respective Plast organisations. Olga Kiykovska, the coordinator of Plasts anniversary celebrations, proudly shows me a worldwide map with Plasts celebrations highlighted. The whole world celebrates our anniversary, she says with a smile. 

National Identity 
How does the Ukrainian Plast differ from its overseas counterparts, like the Boy Scouts of America? Olga is quick to respond. Its true that the concept is mostly the same, but we took the concept of scouting and imbued it with Ukraines cultural identity. Every facet of the Plast programme dovetails with Ukrainian culture and tradition. 
Ukraine itself has changed by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the 20th century. But Plast has stayed nearly the same. What have changed, according to Olga, are the organisations goals. Globalisation has presented a whole world of opportunities for Plast. Fifty years ago, the group was trying to help preserve the national identity of a country that had no state. Now, the goal is to strengthen and develop the Ukrainian character and share it with the world.
Although family primarily shapes a childs value system, socialisation is crucial for blossoming patriots. Plast brings young nationals together through camping trips, educational programmes, field trips, bonfire nights, and walking tours. As a child, the endless possibilities made Olga a dedicated member of Plast. At first, I had no desire to become a scout, she admits, but when I started participating in the activities, my attitude changed completely. It had such a positive impact on my self-development and it fostered many lifelong friendships. 

Bright Eyes, Clear Minds 
When Olga starts to list all the qualities that Plast seeks to inculcate in its members, Im taken aback at how impressive it all sounds. A Plast member strives to be conscientious, exact, just, thrifty, polite, friendly, reasonable and useful. Furthermore, he must take care of himself and nature and think positively. And those are just the desired personality traits. 
As for the practical skills a scout must cultivate, there are countless Plast trials to measure those. In every area, from first aid to fishing and board mechanics, Plast offers young members the chance to prove their prowess and earn medals to proudly display on their uniforms. By rewarding these improvements, Plast ensures that its young members constantly strive to perfect the skills they already have, while testing out new activities.  
Plast is not a hobby that takes up a few hours a week, its a lifestyle. When you think about the values Plast promotes, it becomes a way of thinking and it essentially gives you an exciting new lease on life filled with so many learning opportunities, gushes Olga. It takes time to adapt to the lifestyle, she concedes, but you ultimately come out with new skill sets and a love for learning new things. Plast arms members with the discipline and willpower to achieve their goals. 

Find out more about Plast for you or your child at www.plastscouting.org

Yuliya Hudoshnyk

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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