Magic Mongolia-2 in need of support and donations

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Violence against children is becoming a growing concern in Mongolia, one of the sore points in society. Even though there are many laws on domestic violence and children’s rights, child protection and implementation of those laws have not been effective to date.

Due to public growing concern, some individuals, NGOs, and private organizations have starting fighting against child abuse in Mongolia. One of the organizations that made great contributions to children’s rights and protection in Mongolia it is Lantuun Dokhio NGO, which operates for child protection and development in remote areas of Ulaanbaatar with a high prevalence of domestic violence against children.

The newest project of Lantuun Dokhio is Magic Mongolia-2 Child Protection and Development Center, which is under construction in 23rd khoroo of Bayanzurkh District. Various training will be organized for children at the center, which covers 4,200 square meters of area and divided into three main sections -- environment or green area, children’s section, and family section. The complex project consists of nine sub-projects. Two 8x15 meter buildings, a car park for 50 vehicles, a six-walled ger, a playground, a basketball court, a greenhouse, and a garage is being built as part of the project. In addition, the whole construction is eco-friendly, using solar energy for operations, and has floor heating and recycling bins. All of their operations focuses on child development and prevention of child abuse.

General Manager of Magic Mongolia-2 project O.Undraa reported that over 85 percent of the construction work is done and they are working on internal work and decoration now.

“After we finish the construction work, it will be handed to the State Commission. We planned to start operation of the Child Protection and Development Center on April 1, 2020. Until then, we are going to research and enroll some children who can’t go to kindergarten due to family matters, financial problems or other issues. Also, we will recruit workers and teachers who will serve the children.”

Magic Mongolia-2’s two main services include public service and kindergarten. Any child will be able to take psychological counseling services, read books in the library, and spend their free time there. The center features many toys, books, sports complexes, coffee shop and a comfortable environment for children. It will always be open for parents and children in ger areas, officials highlighted. The project also includes a free kindergarten with three classes for 80 to 90 children, which will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on workdays. Many children live in poverty and cannot attend kindergarten as their parents are addicted to alcohol or unemployed. This is the target group of the Magic Mongolia-2 project.

Lantuun Dokhio NGO started organizing a movement for child protection and development in 2017 with the help of donations and support from private individuals and organizations.

Specially, Magic Mongolia-2 cost 1.2 billion MNT, which was raised completely through donations.

Founder of Lantuun Dokhio Ch.Ganjavkhlan underlined, “There are many people and organizations, such as Energy Resources, Dashvaanjil Gas, and Deutsche Welle, that supported us to implement this project. We collected 1.2 billion MNT in six months and the Magic Mongolia-2 project is being carried out successfully. I want to thank all the people who helped this project without any payment or condition. We receive a lot of help from people who send us materials, financial support or other items. It is good to see their kindness for children.”

“We are inspired that some Mongolians who live and work abroad donated money and an elderly woman from Uvs Province sent us five sacks of fritters. Also, some students, parents, and others helped the project by volunteering. They are still working here. I am so happy about their contribution and support for this project.”

Officials of Lantuun Dokhio organized an open door event from November 23 to 27 at the Magic Mongolia-2 Center. The event allowed the public to see the results of the work done through goodwill in the last six months and the construction of the building. Moreover, a documentary photo exhibition on the current situation of child abuse was presented and documentary films were screened. The event introduced what the NGO has been doing and collected more donations and support for the project. A detailed financial reporting showing spending of donation funds was made available. The NGO has collected 531.32 million MNT; 251.85 million MNT came from individuals, 182.94 million MNT from Mongolians who work and live abroad and 89.99 million MNT from private organizations. Also supply contracts for materials, products and goods worth 509.92 million MNT had been signed.

General Manager of Magic Mongolia-2 project O.Undraa explained how they planned to manage operational expenditures for payment of electricity, trash, the salary of workers and other related costs.

“Over 6,000 people signed an agreement to transfer 100 MNT a day to Magic Mongolia-2 through Khan Bank. We hope that more people will provide support. Also, we are trying to solve some financial needs by ourselves by using the profit from the coffee shop here and other sources. Magic Mongolia-2 project is three times bigger than the Magic Mongolia-1 project. Over 250 people in America donate 1 USD a day and it is dedicated to operational expenditures of the center. Now, we need more donations and financial support for the operation.”

Ulaanbaatar Mayor S.Amarsaikhan visited the construction work of Magic Mongolia-2 Child Protection and Development Center in 23rd khoroo of Bayanzurkh District on November 26 and expressed that he would research and find a way to exempt the center from water and trash bills.

“As mayor of the capital, I will continue to support the center within my power,” he highlighted. Ch.Ganjavkhlan expressed gratitude to the mayor.

The project was launched in 2017 and the construction of the Magic Mongolia-1 Child Protection and Development Center started in April 2017. The project was initially funded by an international grassroots movement and donations of national organizations. As of today, 62 children have enrolled in kindergarten through the project. The center receives children from seven districts of the city and two provinces who became victims of domestic, physical and sexual abuse.

The difference between Magic Mongolia-1 and 2 is the main operation, but it is co-related, mentioned O.Undraa.

“Magic Mongolia-2 has a child protection division to provide children who have abused a safe place and serves them food, a warm bed, and required services during the legal investigation. But a protection division will not operate at Magic Mongolia-2 as the main purpose of this center is to prevent child abuse, raise awareness of parents and develop children. If it is necessary, we will transfer children who need a safe place to Magic Mongolia-1 and give required service,” she mentioned.

Ch.Ganjavkhlan said that 53 children came to Magic Mongolia-1 Child Protection Center seeking shelter in 2018 and 88 children as of November this year.

Founder of Lantuun Dokhio NGO Ch.Ganjavklan said he has no conflict of interests with the volunteering work.

“We are just human beings who care about others and try to make a better place for children. I heard that

many people suspect that I might be nominated for political election and trying to gain attention through volunteering, but I wonder how many people post negative comments without any real contribution,” he added.

According to the National Statistics Office of Mongolia, 519 sexual violence victims were registered in 2018, and 239 or 44.8 percent of the victims were children, which is higher than the previous year’s. Of the 298 children who were sexually abused between 2015 and 2016, 48 percent were assaulted by family members or relatives, according to the General Prosecutor’s Office. But this is just one form of child abuse, and there are countless other cases that go by unreported.

Lantuun Dokhio NGO was founded in 2012 and has been organizing many projects for children. It initiated Magic Package project, which gives out gifts to children in need on New Year's Eve. It is now expanding its Magic Mongolia project to build a bright future for children who live in difficult conditions.

Enkhnaranjav Tumurbaatar