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  • Story of Oyun-Erdene

    A young woman making a warm tea while watching the little children sleeping on the floor of a small kindergarten… she is beautiful, inspired, and happy today.

    The young woman’s name is Oyun-Erdene Erdenetuul. She lives in the 16th khoroo of Sukhbaatar district in Ulaanbaatar; raising her 4-year-old son and a year-old daughter alone.  Her husband whom she married after graduating high school in 2015, left her with a blind son and her newborn baby girl. The only person who helps her during these difficult days is her middle school sister. Young mother with two small children to take care of, she does post-construction cleaning every chance she gets. For the reason of poor education and skills, it’s hard for her to find a less physical job. Her monthly income concludes the government provided 40,000 MNT ($14) for her children and 50,000MNT ($17.6) for her. This sum of 90,000 MNT ($31.6) could not cover even half of the livelihood of Ankh-Erdene, a blind boy, infant daughter, and a mother. She constantly has to borrow money to buy her son’s medication because not only is he blind he, also, has osteomyelitis. Her son Ankh-Erdene was born on January 2, 2016, and suddenly lost his sight on April 28, 2017, and was, initially, diagnosed with atrophy and later retinitis in May 2018. On the day of February 28, 2019, Ankh-Erdene’s leg started swelling and he had a high fever. The doctors diagnosed him with osteomyelitis (bone festering inflammation) which resulted in him getting 3 surgeries. Now, he is seen by his doctor and has an X-ray check monthly.

    Oyun-Erdene’s residence, 16th khoroo of Sukhbaatar district is high poverty, high unemployment and is overpopulation resulting in overcrowded kindergarten; the district has limited access to medical care and high divorce rate amongst young families. Soil pollution and safe drinking water are also high concern issues, as many live in the ger areas with substandard sanitation. Many young women, who have just finished high school, are pregnant, have given birth as well as young adults who have not been able to pursue higher education lives in the district. It’s imperative that they have someone help them get a well-paying job, build their lives, and carry on.

    During this difficult time in her life, Oyun-Erdene had the opportunity to participate in the Young Families’ Livelihood Improvement Project which is for to increase the income of young families and diversify their sources of income. This project is being implemented by the World Vision Mongolia co-funded by Lorinet Foundation whose mission is to support pioneering, impactful, and sustainable initiatives to promote education, employment, and accessible clean water and energy for vulnerable communities in Mongolia, South East Asia, and France and World Vision Korea. Based on an assessment of the livelihood of 1,321 young families in 3 khoroos with a population of 24,930, the project is being implemented to reach 150 young families over a 3-year period; of these families, 22 are single-mother families. Young women and young men are equally participating in this project which not only provides young families with the skills and equipment needed to start a new family business but also, aids them to acquire paid employment. The participating women are training to become tailors, cooks, kindergarten assistant teacher, cashiers, and nail technicians, etc. while the men are in training for heavy machinery operators, welders, and electricians and furthermore, some have been recruited and some have successfully started their own business. By participating in this project, Oyun-Erdene has defined her life goals, joined a saving group and made many friends. Also, she has participated in a variety of programs such as “Celebrating Family”, “Positive Discipline”, “Household Financial Management”, “Positive Health Habits”. By completing these training, not only did Oyun-Erdene gain a comprehensive knowledge of how to raise her children in a healthy and safe environment but also, volunteers to educate her girlfriends and colleagues of what she has learned. With the project funding, she has successfully completed the professional kindergarten assistant teacher training course at the Mongolian University of Education in April 2019. The director of “Green Grove” private local kindergarten appreciated Oyun-Erdene’s sincerity and work ethic, understood her family situation and has allowed her to bring her children to the kindergarten and take care of them without worry. Oyun-Erdene’s employment has secured her children the opportunity to receive proper pre-school education in a warm, safe environment as well as providing her with a stable income of 420,000 MNT ($148) which increased her household income fivefold. Hundreds and hundreds of young men and women like Oyun-Erdene are working relentlessly to understand their own and others’ values, have confidence for the future, define their vision for life, and achieve it.

     “As a result of this project supporting the livelihoods of young families I have become stronger as a single mother with children with disabilities. As life became impoverished, I became more stressed and frustrated that I couldn’t even communicate properly with my children with disabilities. I’ve learned a lot about how to love and be patient with my children. I’ve always loved kids since I was a kid myself. Now working as a kindergarten teacher, my dream has truly come true. I am extremely grateful to the project for providing us with a Ger[1]. Now it is possible for me to raise my children in a warm and healthy environment. Furthermore, I will live and work harder in the future.” said Oyun-Erdene sincerely.

    Regarding the project, the director of Ulaanbaatar Youth Development Agency, N.Selenge said “This project is a project that started at the same time with Youth Development Law implemented by the government in 2018. It is a project that has a variety of sustainable development goals and directly contributes to the implementation of the law. This urban project for young families has been successfully conducted in the Sukhbaatar district. The project, also, has the advantages of time efficiency and cost-effectiveness, thus our agency is in discussion with World Vision Mongolia to implement the model project in other districts of the city with state funding and the government is seeking for a solution.”

    [1] A traditional ger (Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by several distinct nomadic groups in the steppes of Central Asia.

    Other projects implemented under the World Vision Program