31 October 2013

Photos: Water and sanitation for schools

Children from remote areas outside Tarialan soum, Khuvsgul province, describe the challenges of spending the winter at boarding school. UNICEF is upgrading the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities at the main school and dormitory, under an AusAID-funded project.

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15 October 2013

“I want to be a teacher”: creating a Child Friendly Community in Nalaikh

Sambuu with his daughters and granddaughter
© UNICEF Mongolia/2013/Andy Brown
Ten-year-old Sarantugs lives with her parents and ten siblings in Nalaikh, a remote district of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She will be enrolling in fourth grade in September, and is one of few children in the family who can attend school. Her father Sambuu, 59, used to work as a plumber in the local governor’s office but he had a stroke and had to leave his job. He is counting the days until his sixtieth birthday, when he will be able to claim a pension.

Nalaikh is an industrial district that was established around a coal mine that supplies Ulaanbaatar. It has a mixed-ethnic community including Mongolians and Kazakhs. Sambuu has nine children plus grandchildren, some of whom are disabled. They are registered as a poor family and receive food stamps plus financial assistance of 10,000 tugriks per adult and 5,000 per child.

29 August 2013

Schools for Asia: Providing a better education for Mongolia’s Monk Boys

13 year old Enkhbayar in class at the monastery
© UNICEF Mongolia/2012/Sabine Dolan
Gandantegchilen Monastery, Ulaanbaatar. It’s early morning and still dark outside the Gandantegchilen Buddhist Monastery in Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar; the voices of young monks chanting their prayers can be heard.

The boy monks who live in this monastery come from very different backgrounds but all have been selected for a life of prayer and contemplation. Until recently, aside from studying religion and scriptures, the children here did not have access to basic education.  This changed two years ago, thanks to a UNICEF-supported initiative to reach out-of-school children.

19 August 2013

Play for today: supporting children with disabilities

Zulbayar and Temuulen at a playgroup for children with disabilities
© UNICEF Mongolia/2013/Andy Brown
Temuulen is a nine-year-old boy with disabilities living in Nalaikh, a small town near Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia. It is a coal mining district, with a mixed-ethnic community including Mongolians and Kazakhs. Temuulen has a rare genetic condition that causes muscle wasting. The symptoms started when he was three and have got progressively worse.

Once a week, Temuulen attends a playgroup for children with disabilities at the local hospital, run by the Association of Parents of Children with Disabilities. There is one room with toys and learning materials for the children, and another for the parents to meet and socialise.  “I like playing with toy cars,” he says. “My best friend is Zulbayar.”

18 August 2013

Photos: children with disabilities in Nalaikh

Temuulen and Zulbayar are nine-year-old boys with disabilities living in Nalaikh, Mongolia. Both boys attend a playgroup for children with disabilities at their local hospital. UNICEF is supporting the local government and Parents’ Association to help these children and their families.

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14 August 2013

Khuvsgul school children look forward to clean water and proper sanitation

Khaliunaa and Bulganaa outside their home with their parents
© UNICEF Mongolia/2013/Andy Brown
Khaliunaa, 13, and her sister Bulganaa, 9, live in Tarialan soum, Khuvsgul province. Their father Buyanbadrakh, 44, and mother Narangerel, 38, are herders living a nomadic lifestyle. They move several times a year in search of better pasture land for their herds. Their only income comes from their livestock. Life can be hard. The family live in a remote area in the north of Mongolia where the winters are harsh.

The family are in their summer home, a small wooden cabin on the steppe. “We have 500 livestock, mainly sheep and goats plus a few horses and cows,” Buyanbadrakh says. “In summer we live 12 kilometres from the soum centre. In winter we are further out, 28 kilometres away. This winter the snow was heavier than usual but we coped. We didn’t lose any animals.”

05 August 2013

Picture imperfect: vulnerable families access social services

Naranzul (centre) with her family outside their home in Arbulag soum
© UNICEF Mongolia/2013/Andy Brown
Someone is missing from four-year-old Naranzul’s family. She lives in a wooden house in Arbulag soum (village) with her mother Otgontsetseg, grandmother and 11-month-old baby sister Saranzul. But she has no father. He was killed in a traffic accident over a year ago, when Otgontsetseg was three months pregnant with Saranzul.

“It was a real shock for me when my husband died. It happened so suddenly,” Otgontsetseg says, her voice trembling as she speaks. “My relatives helped a lot in those difficult days. At first Naranzul didn’t understand what had happened but now she is starting to realise. She says ‘my father has turned into a picture’.”

04 August 2013

Photos: vulnerable families access social services

UNICEF is working with Arbulag soum government, and others throughout the province, to provide basic health and social services for at-risk families. This is part of our Reach Every District and Soum (REDS) initiative and broader strategy to address inequality by targeting the most vulnerable children and communities.

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11 July 2013

Rolling stone: helping herder families with a mobile kindergarten

Erka holds up her picture of raindrops in the ger kindergarten classroom
© UNICEF Mongolia/2012/Andy Brown
Six-year-old Erbenebayar, or ‘Erka’ for short, lives with a semi-nomadic herder family in the remote Khuvsgul province of Mongolia. They are based in a bagh (small district) around 20 kilometres from the nearest settlement, Tsagaan-Uur soum (village). There are no proper roads. Erka’s parents have to look after their livestock and cannot take her to the soum centre every day. Luckily, there is a mobile kindergarten nearby that she can attend.

10 July 2013

Photos: mobile ger kindergarten

UNICEF Mongolia is providing mobile ger (tent) kindergartens for herder families living in remote areas of Khuvsgul province. They come equipped with toys, learning materials and furniture. This is a unique solution to the problem of providing education to a nomadic population.

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24 June 2013

Presidential candidates pledge support for children

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Presidential candidates from the three major political parties – Ts. Elbegdorj, B. Bat-Erdene and N. Udval – have pledged to work for the well being and bright future of Mongolian children, by each individually signing an identical Children’s Statement.

19 June 2013

Mountains, yurts, nomads and herds

UNICEF reports on efforts to support inclusive education for children in remote communities in northern Mongolia.