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.
The family moved to Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaaatar, from the provinces in 2002. Ariunsetseg eventually found work as a cleaner in an apartment block, and as part of her working arrangement the family were allowed to live in the damp, airless basement. For many families living in poverty in Ulaanbaatar this is the only type of accommodation they can find to protect them from the harsh Mongolian winters.
Ariuntsetseg and her children have since lived in the basements of several different apartment blocks, stifling in the hot summers and freezing in the winters when temperatures can plunge as low as –40°C, and breathing in air that is often filled with mould. As a result, Ariuntsetseg, Gereltungalag and Anand all suffer from respiratory diseases and sore throats. Despite their ill health, however, Ariuntsetseg was unwilling to give up her job as this would have meant that the family would have then lost the only shelter they had.
The family joined in with enthusiasm as the ger was built and their new home took shape. On the day the ger was delivered Gereltungalag and her mother’s excitement was clear to see in their huge smiles. Gereltungalag told us:
“I used to envy other children’s homes but now I am so happy to have a ger of our own. My family and I will look after it very carefully.”
Through the care and kindness of one Donor this family’s whole world has changed.
Ariuntsetseg asked us to express their gratitude:
“It was difficult to see my two children growing up in the stifling basement but now we have a new ger thanks to someone we have never met. My children now feel free and they are able to play outside like other children. We are also able to sit down at the table and eat meals together. I am so thankful to you.”
*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of this family.