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.
Saikhnaa* arrived at the boys’ prison in 2015, when he was sixteen-years-old. He had grown up in extremely poverty stricken conditions with his mother, father and younger sister. His mother works as a cleaner in the city’s trauma hospital, earning a small salary for long hours of physically tiring labour. Unfortunately, as is often the case with those living in such hard and destitute conditions, his father is a heavy drinker and unable to hold down steady employment.
This heartwarming personal account was written by one of our former ger village children, Tsendee*. After living at the village for seven years Tsendee is now living a happy and independent life as a young adult. We are all incredibly proud of the beautiful person she is and the hard work and commitment she is putting in to achieving her dreams.
"Before arriving at the Foundation I used to live with my mother and stepfather in very hard conditions. Life was extremely difficult for me at this time. I was not happy at home and at school I was the shy, unconfident student who rarely spoke.
When I was eleven I went to live at the Christina Noble Children's Foundation's Blue Skies Ger Village. I had never been around so many other children before and especially not in one place where we could play together and really enjoy ourselves.
The ger village is home to lots of kind, polite and neat children and in no time I adapted to my new surroundings to become one of them. We all strived to uphold the ger village name by making accomplishments at tournaments and competitions.
Through our Arts and Music Programme we provide art education for the teenagers in Ulaanbaatar’s Boys’ Prison.
For these young men, many of who have come from backgrounds characterised by poverty, hardship, and emotional pain, dedicated time for self-expression is particularly valuable and can play an important role in the rehabilitation process.
Through weekly lessons in visual art students are able to discover their creative talents and learn about aspects of themselves they had never before known existed. This can be a liberating and empowering experience for the boys who as a result of the creative sessions often learn to channel and express difficult emotions in a constructive and healing way.
The positive impact that teaching art has on the boys can be clearly seen in their thoughtful responses given to a questionnaire about their experience of art in prison. Through reading their comments below we hope to give you a unique insight into the important part art plays in helping these boys to develop and grow as centered, compassionate young men.
In 2013 five-year-old little Bagi* was brought to live at the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation’s Blue Skies Ger Village. She arrived with her six-year-old brother, Gonchig*, after they were found begging for money on the city streets.
For these two young siblings life had been extremely difficult; they had spent their earliest, most vulnerable, years growing up without any proper parental supervision, with only each other for love and protection.
Amaraa* was only three-years-old when she was found living on the streets with her five older brothers. Up until then her childhood had been shaped by abuse, neglect and loneliness; she had never known unconditional love and protection. Both of her parents were heavy alcoholics and unable to provide any sort of stability for their children. As a result Amaraa and her brothers grew up fending for themselves, living in-between different relatives’ homes and in makeshift shelters on the city streets; during this time Amaraa was a victim of intrafamilial sexual abuse. This traumatic experience left Amaraa feeling isolated, fearful and untrusting of the world around her.
To celebrate this year’s Woman’s Day we would like to share with you the story of Purevdulam, a young lady who through her hard work and determination has broken the cycle of poverty and is now helping others to do the same.
We first met Purevdulam in 2001 when she was enrolled in our Child Sponsorship Programme. At that time she was living with her mother in extremely poor conditions. Her mother, who had tragically lost her hand in an accident, was unable to work due to her disability and the family struggled to get by with limited government support. Despite their desperate situation and the huge stress that they were under daily just to survive, Purevdulam continued to work hard at school and achieve straight A’s in all of her subjects.
We met ten-year-old Gereltungalag* in 2014 when her mother, Ariuntsetseg*, enrolled her on the CNCF Child Sponsorship Programme. For many years this brave woman had struggled to provide for herself and her two children – Gereltungalag and her younger brother, Anand.
Sadly, Gereltungalag’s father left his family shortly after she was born. Ariuntsetseg remarried and gave birth to Anand, but his father also abandoned the family and neither man has kept in touch with or supported them. The money from Ariuntsetseg’s salary combined with the CNCF sponsorship money just about covers the family’s costs for food, electricity and basic needs, however on this income owning their own home would never be more that just a dream.
17-year-old Tsatsral* had been living under intolerable conditions for many years. Tsatsral, her sister and their 55-year-old mother were living with Tsatsral’s two uncles in a small ger belonging to one of the uncles who is unfortunately – like many Mongolian men living in extreme poverty – an alcoholic.
The other uncle has a severe learning disability which means he needs nursing care at home. Tsatsral’s mother, Uyanga*, has an acute kidney disease and also suffers from high blood pressure and depression, and so is unable to work.
In the Field