For the past eight years the Mongolian National Broadcasting Channel has organised an annual competition called ‘A Letter To My Mother’. The competition is open to children and adults of all ages and has grown greatly in popularity over the previous years. This year there were more entries than ever with over 3,000 people submitting a letter and a poem to their mother in the national competition.
Our head teacher at the Boys’ Prison is always looking for opportunities to involve the teenagers in extra curricula activities that will help them develop their personal and academic skills as well as facilitate their integration with society outside prison. She therefore encouraged the boys to take part in the competition and to use it as a platform to connect with their mothers, sharing with them any emotions they may have found difficult to express in the past.
Five of our boys took part, all of who wrote beautiful and heartfelt words to their mothers. Their writing was sent off and after a few months of eagerly waiting we received the incredible news that one of our boys, 17-year-old Atlan, had been chosen as one of ten finalists. We were over-the-moon and incredibly proud of Atlan, whose meaningful words had transcended the prison walls and been embraced into the hearts of the judges.
For the next stage of the competition an event was held at the Mongolian Culture Concert Hall. Although Atlan was unable to attend the special occasion due to being in prison, there was an incredibly important person there to represent him and to hear his touching words for herself: his mother. During the event a professional stage performer read each of the finalists’ work out to a panel of judges and the large audience. When Atlan’s mother, who was sitting proudly at the front of the hall, heard her son’s words tears quickly began to flood down her face. It was clear to see the painful journey they had been on together but also the powerful and unrelenting love of a mother and son.
After hearing the wonderful and heartwarming readings the judges made their final decision on the winners. We were overjoyed when they announced that Atlan had come in 4th place winning three literature books, a small but meaningful amount of money for his mother and a special certificate for his achievement. But perhaps most importantly it gave him the opportunity to share his deepest feelings with the person he loves and respects most in the world.
Everyone at the Foundation is so proud of this young man’s achievements and the beautiful kind heart that lies at the core of his words. He is a perfect example of why the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation works so hard to continue to provide the facilities, guidance and care that supports the educational and emotional development of these young men during this difficult time in their lives.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
A Letter To My Mother
Many people start their letter with “Hello” but I wanted to be a little bit different from everyone else. I would like to start instead with “The sun shines on the earth when you have your mother with you”. I am starting my letter this way because I wish and pray that my mother is well and happy. I am writing these words as I am thinking deeply about you, my dear mum.
I know that you are sensitive. I don’t want you to cry after reading this because your young son is so far away that he cannot hold your hand or wipe away your tears. I am missing you so much. I miss the times that I would get upset and you would do everything you could to make me happy again, like holding me in your warm arms and beautiful heart. I wish I was close enough to hold you. I wish I could walk with you in the stillness of the calm evenings.
My dearest mother, I promise to be with you as soon as I can. Please don’t worry about me so much. I know you mum, and I know how concerned you are about me but please try not to be. Your little son is being really good and one day when the sun shines beautifully I will fly to you just like the birds in springtime.
I am realising how difficult this life can be if you miss one step or if you start on the wrong path. People don’t realise until they make a mistake. I am realising everything now, now that I have made a big mistake in my life.
Mum, I will try my best to achieve good things in life because only you, my mother, has forgiven me. Your son is not a rich person who could shower people in gold or silver but I will become just like you who showers people in love and happiness, and is respected by all who you meet.
You have always been there to shine your light on me and warm me every time I made a mistake. Even now I feel you so close to me, even though you are so very far away from me. I love you my dear mother, I love you so very much. I will change my ways and return to you as a good and well behaving boy who everyone can be proud of. You have been the sun shining on me until now but when I return I promise to be the sun shining down on you for the rest of your life.
Your son has been very foolish in the past few years. Ever since I was alittle boy I have always wanted and prayed for one thing: to have my father back, for me and for you. I wished for us all to have a long and happy life together but instead I now realise that he dumped us just like a finished cigarette.
God didn’t receive my prayers but now, mother, this is no longer my wish. I know that he won’t come back to us. Please forgive your child for being such a foolish young boy. I used to think that I could dream my father back even though he left us in such a difficult situation. We didn’t have any food to treat ourselves, or coal to warm our home. I used to cry and ask for my father because I thought that if I cried hard enough he would come back to us.
I cannot apologise enough for not being a good son. I saw that you were crying when you asked “how could he ever abandon this beautiful child?” I know you, my dear mother, and I know that you secretly wished and hoped that he would return to us too. I now know that your hope, like mine, is gone.
I will not ask you again for my father back, for you are all that I need for my life. I am very appreciative of everything you have done for me and I haven’t said “I love you” anywhere near enough. I am so sorry for being such a bad boy; indeed, I owe you so much. I am sorry for not realising this until now. You are the sunshine of my life and the mother’s milk that nourishes my body and soul. I consider myself the luckiest person in the entire world. I am this because I have you – my beautiful mother, who waits for me to come back to her despite everything that I have done. The sun will shine only because of you, the queen of my kingdom.
With all my love,