We empower communities in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to learn how to help themselves.
The Together Plan helps communities to see what can be achieved collectively and works with community members to develop skills and provide the training necessary to realise their vision.
The Together Plan was born out of a twinning between Finchley Reform Synagogue and the Polotsk Jewish community in the north of Belarus. This community project was started by Debra Brunner as a volunteer in 2009. The focus of the project was to share skills with community members in Polotsk and in some way help them to learn how to help themselves. There were many challenges and it became clear that there were also other communities in Belarus in need of support; some Reform, some Orthodox, some secular with many disconnected Jewish people and no community at all. In 2010 the name of the project was changed to the FRS Belarus Project — to enable and develop a dialogue with communities throughout Belarus. But, there was a real need to do more. In 2013, Debra Brunner and Artur Livshyts (based in Minsk) registered The Together Plan with the UK Charities Commission and on 10th October 2013, the charity became an official entity. With a charity in place, it became possible to reach out to more communities and develop programmes to engage and support on a wider level. The FRS Belarus Project has maintained its strong support links to the Polotsk Jewish community.
Today, The Together Plan’s UK office can be found in Bushey, Hertfordshire and its Belarus office in Minsk. In the UK there is a large task force of volunteers working in the office, running the Aid Together programme — collecting, sorting and packing humanitarian aid — and a dynamic group of young adults aged 17 to 30 who plan and run annual summer programmes in Belarus as part of the Youth for Youth programme. In Minsk, there is a small, dedicated team who oversee the work of the charity on the ground. Currently, The Together Plan is developing projects in Polotsk, Slutsk, Minsk, Brest and Slonim.
Our plan to build a Jewish cultural heritage route in Belarus is the catalyst for giving voice to Jewish communities throughout the country. It will be the platform for people to tell their story at a grassroots level. Looking to the future, it is our vision that Belarus will be a society where its Jewish roots will be acknowledged and integrated into modern society. Jews will feel empowered to speak up and take ownership of their own lives by initiating projects and activities that meet the community’s needs.