SOS Children in Mongolia
Overview of Mongolia
Its climate is extreme, characterised by long sub-arctic winters. Following the more severe winters, children are at high risk of developing serious fatigue and malnutrition, a deterioration in their health and a weakening of their immunity, resulting in acute infections.
In 1990 Mongolia abandoned its 70-year-old Soviet-style one-party state in favour of political and economic reforms. Democracy and privatisation were enshrined in a new constitution, but the collapse of the economy after the withdrawal of Soviet support caused widespread poverty and threatened social stability.
Our Work in Mongolia
In 1997, we were invited by the Mongolian government to discuss the possibility of setting up a community for children. Following an agreement between the two parties in 1998, a suitable site was found on the outskirts of the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Work began in 2000 but because of extreme weather conditions and bureaucratic delays, the SOS Children's Village was not completed until the summer of 2002 when the first SOS families were able to move in. The local infrastructure is not very developed and there are few shopping and social facilities in the area.
SOS Children's Village Ulaanbaatar has 14 family houses which are home to 110 orphaned or abandoned children and their SOS mothers.
The children from the SOS Children's Village attend state nurseries and schools. Additional English classes for children and mothers are taught at the village in order to improve their language skills, and tutors support children who are struggling with their schoolwork.
We always make sure there is lots for the children to do at the SOS Children’s Village as they need support, and laughter, to help them overcome their trauma and bereavement. Activities include gymnastics, chess, checkers, table tennis, accordion playing, dancing and folk singing, so the village is always busy!
The older SOS children live in a rented SOS Youth Home in Ulaanbaatar. Here, they take their first steps towards independence as they manage their own time, schoolwork, budgets and meals. They are supported by a youth coordinator.
Over 350 people in Ulaanbaatar are supported through the SOS Social Centre. It offers health counselling, medical support and literacy classes. Families at risk of abandoning their children due to emotional or economic pressures are supported through the SOS Family Strengthening Programme. The aim is to increase the capability of adults to care for their children by providing job training and paying the children’s school fees.
Within the Village premises, there is also an SOS Vocational Training Centre for mother and staff training.
A second SOS Children’s Village opened in Darkhan, Mongolia’s third-largest city and an industrial centre, in 2008. There are 14 family homes for 140 orphaned or abandoned children. A government nursery and school is close-by.
At present we support over 700 people in Mongolia through two SOS Children’s Villages, one SOS Youth Home, one SOS Social Centre and one SOS Vocational Training Centre.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Mongolia: Family Care
Twelve-year-old Skinetuya has a round face and a winning smile. His parents moved from the countryside to Ulaanbaatar in search of employment a few years ago - today his mother washes cars and on a good day she will earn about £8. His family live in a north-eastern suburb of Ulaanbaatar called Bayanzurkh where 70% of the population live below the poverty line. Skinetuya has never been to school and the SOS Social Centre is teaching him how to read and write. In a year or so, Skinetuya hopes to be able to go to school.
At the SOS Social Centre, three teachers provide daily literacy classes to the children, who have four classes to choose from. In the morning older children attend, and the little ones attend in the afternoon. On Fridays, the Centre provides medical check-ups and handicraft lessons.
SOS Children's Villages Mongolia
Admin Unit 16
P.O. Box 121,
Post Office 22
Tel: +976/11/451 702
Fax: +976/11/452 076