Debra Brunner and Artur Livshyts, The Together Plan’s co-directors, were invited to attend a reception at the British Embassy in Minsk in honour of the visit of British cabinet member Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to Belarus. Debra and Artur were able to update their many contacts present at the event on the continued work of The Together Plan. Also in attendance was Nigel Roberts, author of the English-language Bradt Guide to Belarus, which now features many of our projects. The event also brought together representatives from many significant British and international organisations working in the former Soviet Union, including the World Bank.
Last week, The Together Plan in Minsk joined representatives of charities and local government to celebrate with new mothers on Minsk Day, an annual city-wide celebration. The Together Plan Co-director Artur Livshyts, representing Dialog – a Minsk-based NGO and partner of The Together Plan which Artur chairs – joined one delegation visiting maternity wards to welcome the city’s newest residents – some 39 children who were born on Minsk Day itself.
The new mothers received donated clothes, toys and disposable nappies – an expensive luxury in Belarus that relieves the significant extra burden that washing and sterilising reusable nappies imposes – for their babies. The Deputy Mayor of Minsk, Igor Yurkevich, also took part in the celebrations, which was featured prominently by Minsk city media, as did Natalia Kravchenko, Director of the Minsk Association of Families with Many Children. The Association is a longstanding and valued partner in The Together Plan’s humanitarian aid project, Aid Together, so we are delighted by the success of this joint event.
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Over 25 people assembled in leafy North London to watch a powerful documentary film detailing life in modern Belarus, raising £230 for The Together Plan. The film, which was followed by cake and vodka, encouraged a lively and heated discussion, raising questions previously unconsidered by many of those in attendance. The thought-provoking evening will certainly be remembered, highlighting the importance of Anglo-Belarusian cultural links. Bringing together people with a variety of interests, from genealogy and history to cultural development, our Film Festival is having a great impact.
This screening is the latest addition to The Together Plan’s International Film Festival, following highly successful screenings of Le Voyage de Fanny and Karski and the Lords of Humanity. Watch this space for the final film of the series, Labyrinth of Lies, to be held on 12th November at Finchley Reform Synagogue – don’t miss out!
The Jewish Community of Polotsk, Belarus, is to feature in a TV series produced by a national television company, which we understand will be broadcast in early 2018. Each episode explores the genealogy of a celebrity guest, uncovering sometimes fascinating stories from their family history – including, in one case, a relative who was a teacher of Torah in Polotsk more than a century ago!
The Polotsk Community was able to provide an insight into Jewish life in Polotsk during the Russian Empire, as well as showcasing the best of modern Jewish life including a session of Sunday School. With a background in working with children herself, our celebrity guest (whose identity we’re required to keep secret for now!) was very taken with the project. The crew also filmed the Jewish cemetery of Bobynichi, near Polotsk, which the community works to maintain. We are thrilled that the visit was such a success and that Polotsk and The Together Plan are to appear on such a prestigious platform. Watch this space for more updates, including where you can watch the programme once it airs.