I traveled to Mongolia in mid-May and spent the remainder of the month there with Solongo and her team (Oyuna, our social worker, and Bayarma, our psychologist). In the coming weeks, I will be providing details from that visit and let you know how you can be part of this growing and life-changing work.
The air travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, took a little more than 28 hours and included two layovers – when you add in the 12 hour time difference, you end up losing a day from your calendar! But, the opportunity to be there and experience the work that is going on totally erases the travel challenges.
As soon as I arrived, Solongo was excited to share the great news that Amin Huuhed (AH) had been granted nationwide accreditation by the Mongolia government. This is a major achievement and allows us to serve in all provinces of the country. Great job! (AH is the name of the Mongolia registered charity that we helped establish there to lead this work and ensure we are complying with all legal requirements.) Our work currently involves sponsoring and visiting abandoned and vulnerable children living in poverty around Ulaanbaatar (Khanuul and Nalaikh districts), teaching English and character development classes in local schools, as well as the Children’s Prison work.
Another major recent milestone was beginning our Children’s Prison program in April. This work has been more than a year in the making, with Solongo and the team jumping through numerous bureaucratic and criminal justice hurdles. It is called a Children’s Prison by the Mongolian government, but it only holds teens – boys and girls between 13 and 18 years of age. (There is only one girl there now – she is kept apart from the boys and has her own separate cell and guard, 24 hours a day.)
But, we are excited to be working in the prison two days each week – teaching our character development curriculum, English language classes, and building toward a mentoring program. This mentoring program will match individuals who will volunteer to visit and work with teen prisoners during their time incarcerated and then maintain that after the teens are released.
The mentoring program is still being developed by Solongo and the AH team, but the government social workers and prison officials are open to it and hopeful that it may help reduce the high rate of recidivism (returning to prison after release) among the teens.
We also hosted two individuals who came to see our work and consider bringing additional helpers to work with us. One of the visitors was Tyler Kemerrer, missions director at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. The other guest was Ashley Platen-Mills, founder of AdventureAid in the UK. We plan to host visits next spring/summer from both of these groups. Look for more information in future updates.
As you can see we have an active and busy program underway in Mongolia – and we only have three workers. The AH team are visiting over 80 sponsored children, teaching in local schools, and running the Children’s Prison program. That’s more work than three people can cover – so we are hoping to add more people to the team as well as recruit volunteers. But we need your help – your prayers, your financial support, and even volunteers who would be interested in visiting for up to 30 days to help in various pieces of the work.
To donate toward this work, click here.
To sponsor a child, click here.
If you have questions or would like to get more information, click here and send us an email.
Whether you can give financially or not, we ask you to pray for Solongo, Oyuna, Bayarma, and the work of Amin Huuhed in Mongolia.