According to the World Bank, “two in five poor people in Mongolia are children under the age of 15.” However, many organizations are working to combat the effects of child poverty in Mongolia. Among the different NGOs making direct efforts to help children in Mongolia, three are making significant strides in changing the lives of as many vulnerable young people as possible. Below are the three NGOs tackling child poverty in Mongolia.
3 NGOs Dedicated to Ending Child Poverty in Mongolia
- The Lotus Children’s Centre – For the past 25 years, the Lotus Children’s Centre has been caring for children who were abused and abandoned. Didi Ananda Kalika founded the Lotus Children’s Centre and it is currently located in Gachuurt. Around 65-75 children call the center home, receiving vital necessities such as nutrition, health care and education. The center strives to provide children with the tools they need in order to escape the cycle of poverty in adulthood and thrive as healthy individuals. Even after the children leave the center, the organization continues to support their needs through education and career opportunities.
- Flourishing Future Mongolia – Observing the painful reality of families losing their children to the streets due to poverty, Aase Sims, Susan Griffeth, Ruthild Beck, Nergui Purevsuren and Oyunbat created the Flourishing Future Community Center in 2001 in the slums of a ger district. The organization has continuously focused on supporting marginalized families and their children in Mongolia. Flourishing Future focuses on providing scholarships, meals, education and medical care, and partnering with the local girls’ shelter and the local orphanage. With the help of international donors, 36 students received scholarships in 2016-2017 to further their education and pursue their career goals. Flourishing Future advocates for educating not only children going into first grade but also for adults who need vocational training and English training. The organization distributes food with the condition that the children in the family must be attending school. Furthermore, they support the local orphanage by not only providing English lessons and outings but also running a yearly summer camp for the children. In addition to providing food twice a month to families who qualify for the program, the NGO also helps families stay warm by providing them with firewood.
- Asral – When the Soviet Union collapsed, many families who lost their homes migrated to Ulaanbaatar. In 2001, Venerable Panchen Otrul Rinpoche founded Asral in order to provide support to families so that no more children would be abandoned on the streets. With the help of the community and local leaders, the NGO provides education, food and daily needs for the children from marginalized families. The Hot Meal Project is one of the main projects that directly help impoverished children in Mongolia. The Hot Meal project supports 30 children from the most impoverished families by providing daily meals, health care, financial needs, clothes and other basic needs.
The Lotus Children’s Centre, Flourishing Future Mongolia and Asral are working every day to protect the lives of children and their families. With the assistance of the NGOs, children in Mongolia are able to stay with their families. By directly helping these families, the NGOs are changing lives in a positive way.
– Hakyung Kim