Czech scouts make thousands of trench candles for Ukraine

Light and heat for Ukraine

For several weeks now, Czech scouts have been making special candles for Ukrainian soldiers and civilians to be used in the trenches and during power cuts. They gathered the material in a public collection and have already produced thousands of candles.

Light and heat for Ukraine | Photo: Junák – český skaut,  z. s.

Hall number 29 in Prague’s Holešovice market has been turned into a provisional workshop, where scouts and volunteers from the general public meet several times a week to make special trench candles to provide warmth and light to people in Ukraine.

Light and heat for Ukraine | Photo: Martina Schneibergová,  Radio Prague International

The candles, similar to those used by soldiers in World War II, can burn for a long time - between four and seven hours, depending on the material, size of the can and the paper filling, and can be used in many different ways, says Barbara Trojak, spokeswoman for the Czech Scouts Organisation:

“You can heat a small room with this candle, you can even cook on it because it has a pretty strong flame. It's quite a useful tool in areas where there isn't enough timber, or it's dangerous to go into the forests to get wood because there might be mines or remnants of unexploded ordnance.”

Light and heat for Ukraine | Photo: Martina Schneibergová,  Radio Prague International

The material for making the candles, including wax, paraffin, leftover candles and food cans, was gathered in a public collection launched in mid-February. The candles were first produced only by scouts groups, but later, volunteers from the general public were invited to join in the process.

“The process of making the candles starts in the back of the warehouse, where we use an angle grinder to cut the cans so that they are not too tall, otherwise they wouldn't burn for very long.

“The cut cans are then smoothed with sandpaper so they don't hurt anyone, and then we fill them with corrugated cardboard, so that wax or paraffin wax gets into the holes and burns for a long time.”

Light and heat for Ukraine | Photo: Martina Schneibergová,  Radio Prague International

Among the participants of the workshop is an eight- year-old girl nicknamed “Holinka”, whose task is to sandpaper the cans’ edges:

Some of the helpers are Ukrainian refugees, such as Tanya and her son Sasha, who fled Kyiv a year ago:

“I am glad I can do at least something. It is for our country, where our boys are fighting for our future. We have to do something to help bring the conflict to an end. The whole world is assisting.”

Light and heat for Ukraine | Photo: Lucie Horáková,  Junák – český skaut,  z. s.

Thanks to the project of the Czech Scouting Association, nearly 10, 000 candles have been made to this day. After the workshop closes down on Sunday, all of them will be shipped to Ukraine, says Ms Trojak:

“The candles will be sent to our partners, boy and girl scouts in Ukraine. Some of them will go to Kyiv and some to Dnipro. We know they want to distribute them from tents where people go to get humanitarian aid.”

The leftover material will be donated to other groups, who will continue to produce trench candles to help people in Ukraine.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Jana Karasová
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