Needing some October inspiration? Look no further, this magical young lady’s heart-warming story will make you stop and think about life.. 20-year-old Sarnai* came to our Blue Skies Ger Village in 2007 when she was just 9 years old with her then 3-year-old brother.
Sarnai and her brother used to live with her mother, grandmother and uncle, all of whom were serious alcoholics who had lost all drive and enthusiasm for life. After drinking heavily one night, Sarnai’s mother beat her badly because she hadn’t cooked dinner for them - this is one example of the sort of life her brother and Sarnai were living.
One evening their home was set on fire; their mother managed to get everyone out except for her own brother, Sarnai’s uncle, who was killed. Sarnai’s mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder and for two years their grandmother raised Sarnai and her brother.
Their grandmother worked as a street cleaner, she used all her income on buying alcohol.
The drinking got worse, Sarnai said there were many days when she had to calm her brother and take him to bed in a noisy house where the grandmother would stay up late drinking with her friends.
On Friday, thirteen of our children from the Child Sponsorship Programme had lots of creative fun attending their first art workshop at the ArtiCour Gallery in Ulaanbaatar.
During the session our young artists drew underwater scenes of brightly coloured fish and other imaginative sea creatures. They were told to use colours that represented their personality and feelings; it was beautiful to see so many vibrant fish with smiley, jolly looking expressions!
Life has been tough for eleven-year-old Oyungerel* and her five siblings who have spent the majority of their early years living in an environment of extreme poverty, alcoholism and violence.
Growing up Oyungerel never experienced the safe and protective love of a father. Instead her and her family lived in constant fear of his unpredictable temper, not knowing when they would next be subjected to his alcohol fueled beatings and psychological abuse.
Despite being trapped in a cruel and controlling relationship Oyungerel's mother, Tungaa, always tried to do the very best she could for her children and would invest the small amount of money she had into supporting her daughter’s dream to become a top contortionist. Since just five-years-old Oyungerel attended regular lessons and despite her cramped and turbulent living environment she would always find a way to practice. It quickly became her passion and a form of escape from the challenges of everyday life.
*Names have been changed and faces blurred to protect the family’s privacy
Twice a year the Child Sponsorship Team makes a journey out into the countryside to visit the children and their families on the programme who live in some of Mongolia’s most isolated areas.
The five day trip is a valuable opportunity for our social workers to talk to the children about their lives and monitor their living conditions. They also help the children to write their annual reports and distribute any gifts which have been sent over by their sponsors.
Our team were joined by one of our long standing partners, Leonard Bernhardt, and our volunteer from England, Thomas Williams. It was a particularly special experience for Leonard, who got to meet some of the children he has been sponsoring for the first time.
During the trip our team also met 22 new families looking to enrol on our Sponsorship Programme. We are happy to say that after learning about their circumstances, eighteen have qualified to receive support from CNCF, many of who have already been allocated a sponsor. We are looking forward to watching their lives improve as a result.
Here is Thomas' account of his unique experience on this summer's countryside trip...
In the mid June, the Sponsorship Team paid a visit to two projects in Cà Mau Province, the southern most area in Vietnam. Due to the distance from Ho Chi Minh City (it is over 300km and a full days drive) our Child Sponsorship Team visit it on a quarterly basis. One project is at Cà Mau Orphanage, and the other is at U Minh District.
CNCF invited a professional trainer who provided the staff at Cà Mau Orphanage with a two-day training program to improve their social work skills. The feedback from the participants was really positive, they said the knowledge they got from the training will be very practical for their daily work and they are looking forward to other training sections in the future.
On 30 Oct 2015, one of our sponsored children, a young boy named Tien, received an unexpected visit from Sarah, the younger sister of his sponsor, who is currently volunteering in Cambodia.
Tien is a student at our Sunshine School, a free primary school for poor children, located on the Foundation grounds. Tien suffers from a clubfoot and cannot walk properly. His father, the sole bread winner of the family after his mother's death several years ago, is unable to make enough money as a motorbike taxi driver to finance his child' study, let alone his child's treatment.
Fortunately Tien has been sponsored by Tanya and Paul Jones since early 2015 and along with their monthly sponsorship support, Tanya and her husband have also generously provided extra support so that Tien can undertake weekly physical therapy for his foot. They have also supported the cost for a specially designed shoe to help with his mobility and rehabilitation. He has already made great progress and his father looks forward to the day he will be able to walk normally.
The Blue Skies Ger Village is an emergency residential care facility for children who share in a childhood experience that has been shaped by poverty, abuse and extreme neglect. The village provides a safe, happy and supportive home for these children, one where they are surrounded by unconditional love and respect.
For many of the children who come to live at our village this will be their first experience of a world where they have rights, a world where they can smile, laugh and play as children in an environment where the adults are there to protect them not hurt or abuse them.
This can be a new and bewildering experience for children who have spent the most vulnerable years of their lives in fear of a cruel and unpredictable adult world, where time and time again they are let down, abused and have their innocence exploited.
In the Field