The State Central Clinical Hospital which was renamed as “Hospital 1” in 1960 is ranked as a third level medical service and it runs professional courses such as majored doctors, residential, nurse etc. It is also considered as an important scientific research center in the country. Projects Abroad Mongolia has been co operating with this hospital since 2001 and we sent lots of volunteers to this hospital. Annabel Hunt was one of those challenging volunteers at the Hospital and during her project she organized a “Hand hygiene” program and made a presentation about hand washing for the workers of the State Central Hospital. Recently, Projects Abroad Mongolia staffs visited to the State Central Clinical Hospital and donate the hand hygiene tissues and nurse carriage based on her co operation and willing to donate as a continuation of her program which she held in Mongolia. We are happy to convey their thankfulness to Annabel Hunt.
I am happy to submit you all Rosie Slowe's great article which was published at UB post, mongolia's independent english weekly news, last wednesday. Eventhough she just started her volunteering project at UB post a week ago, she has already explored UB city well enough and wrote an excelent article. She is being a great example of working hard, being responsible and adapting in new country, new culture and new people. After this amazing work she took an entire page from UB post and now she is already working on her next big article. This is her Article you can find it on http:/
By Rosie Slowe
The vehicles competing in the Mongol Rally have started arriving in Mongolia with the 25th competing team reaching the finish line in Ulaanbaatar on Thursday 9th August.As these well travelled cars crawl and jolt their way across the border, huge benefits for the country come with them.
The Mongol Rally is an annual car race starting in Europe and ending in Mongolia with the final leg of the journey taking the surviving vehicles on to the finish line in Ulaanbaatar. The distance coveredby the competing teams is around 13,000 kilometers and is expected to take three to six weeks to complete. The rally is not a traditional race; there is no set route to take and no recognition given to the first team to finish. There are no time trials and the participating cars are forbidden from breaking the speed limit.
The current 2012 rally is the ninth Mongol Rally event. The First rally took place in 2004 with 6 teams taking part and only 4 making it to the finish line. Over the last eight years the rally has significantly grown in size and is now the biggest event of its kind. This year 277 teams, consisting of between 2-4 people each, are competing. Out of the 764 people taking part in the rally there are 660 men and 104 women from all over the world. With more competitors and vehicles taking part the benefits the Mongol Rally brings has dramatically increased. Nonetheless with hundreds of people wanting to compete in the rally each year there has become a need to manage the arrival of the vehicles in a sustainable fashion.
Adventures for Development in Mongolia (AFDM) is the Mongolian charitable grant-makingorganisationthat provides a responsible system by which the Mongol Rally vehicles can enterthe country. AFDM is a registered NGO in Mongolia and a partner organisation of Adventure for Development, a UK registered charity. Both organisations aim to ensure money raised by adventure teams is delivered to worthwhile projects that will make a real difference to peoples’ lives and impact local communities.
AFDM works closely with both the Mongolian authorities and local people. Ithas a number of different roles in the logistics of the rally with the overall objective being to maximise the benefit for Mongolia. On their arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the rally cars are handed over to AFDM who ensures they are repaired to a good roadworthy level so that they pass the Mongolian road safety examination. AFDM then auctions off the cars and distributes the funds raised to carefully selected charity projects within the country. Every year AFDM is able to raise huge amounts of money to help a number of excellent Mongolian charities. As AFDM has noadministration costs all money raised by donations goes directly to the sponsored projects.
Below is an interview with BaigalGonor who has been head of the AFDM since it was established in 2008. She explains how the NGO is designed to maximise the benefit of the Mongol Rally for Mongolia.
-How does AFDM ensure the whole process is clear and easy to manage for the Mongolian authorities?
-AFDM pays the border taxes on behalf of the cars as soon as they arrive at the border and liaises with Customs and the traffic police.
-Have you had a positive response from the government?
-Customs loves to work with us as they are getting the taxes and greatly appreciate the amount of money from the taxes that is coming in.
-What is AFDM’s role in ensuring the money raised from the vehicles taking part in the rally is distributed to selected charities?
-AFDM receives the cars donated by the teams on their arrival in Ulaanbaatar. AFDM then sells the vehicles to pay the taxes. Afterwards the profits are put towards charitable projects.
-What are these charitable projects?
-The profit figures from the 2011 rally were received in 2012. This money is going towards funding the development of an online e-books library for school children of Mongolia. The profits from this year’s rally are going to go towards enabling the online library to be promoted and delivered to schools so that it is more accessible to the children.
-Do you use Mongolian mechanics to fix the donated cars in order to ensure that the process of auctioning them off also provides employment for local people?
-Yes we use Mongolian mechanics.
The rally in-fact gives lots of employment throughout its duration as many Mongolians are needed to ensure the logistics of the event runs smoothly.
-Are the Mongol Rally and AFDM generally seen in a good light by the Mongolian people?
-Yes, they are normally seen in a very positive light as they provide funding for charities helping children. People also love to come and buy the cars. They are great for families in the city who can’t afford expensive cars.
So the arrival of the Rally cars benefits Mongolia in many ways. Not only do the profits from auctioning the vehicles raise money for worthwhile charitable projects but money is also raised from taxes and the donated vehicles means that cheaper cars are available in the market place.
Rob Mills, the British Mongol Rally Chief, who has been working for the rally since 2010, has emphasisedthese latter two, often overlooked, positive impacts of the Mongol Rally. He stated that‘the rally is the highest tax payer on the western border bringing a huge amount of money into the country.’This amounts to roughly 0.2% of the national GDP.
And when the cars come into the country they don’t just benefit Mongolia through the taxes they pay on arrival, they also enable the country’s need for certain vehicles to be met. Mills explained that ‘the rally provides the opportunity for middle class families to become mobile by purchasing cheap cars. Without the donated vehicles they would otherwise be unable to afford cars as the only other ones imported into the country are international brands, such as Toyota, which only the rich can afford.’ Mills also pointed out that through the rally many emergency vehicles have been brought into the country; ‘there were nearly 200 ambulances taking part in the rally between 2009 and 2011, the emergency services are now saturated.’
By completing the rally in an ambulance or fire engine teams are able to help greatly the Mongolian emergency services. One team from Sweden that arrived in Ulaanbaatar on the 7th of August had gone through great efforts to acquire an ambulance that they could drive for the rally. They explained that they did this because they felt like they were doing a good and beneficial deed leaving it here once they had finished.
All in all, as the government has stipulated thatevery car competing must be less than 10 years old or one which will be of particular use to Mongolian charities, such as emergency vehicles, the rally is only bringing into the country the vehicles it needs.
Along with the profits made from auctioning these highly demanded donated cars, the rally also makes money for charity in a separate way. It is conditional for all teams competing in the event to raise over $780 each through sponsorship and this is then donated to a Mongolian charity. This year all proceeds raised will be going towards the Lotus Children’s Centre, a school to take care of at risk or orphaned children in Ulaanbaatar. The total amount expected to be raised by the teams for this official sponsored charity of the Mongol Rally 2012 is set to be more than $450,000.
A representative from the charity explained how the money raised would go towards running costs, including food bills, school bills, and clothing for the children. She said that ‘the charity helps Mongolia’s street children better themselves and have a brighter future’. There are currently 85 children in the centre aged between 4 and 20. Many of the children do have families but have been taken away from them by social services for numerous reasons.
The Mongol Rally chose the Lotus Children’s Centre to be its official charity this year as it felt the centre would make the most out of the funds raised by the teams to benefit Mongolian Children. This positive impact on the country is recognised by those competing in the rally, many of whom intend to visit the centre on the arrival in Ulaanbaatar so that they can see where the money they have raised is going. One team that arrives this week told me ‘the rally is such a good cause, we feel like we have done something good for Mongolia’.
Considering all the benefits the Mongol Rally brings to the country it is good to hear that the competing teams have been greeted with such hospitality. This is particularly promising as it means a number of the participators will stay in Mongolia for a while and the country can benefit from revenue generated by tourism.
Teams have talked about how on the final stretch of their long journey across Mongolia everyone has been so kind. They spoke of being received with friendly faces and said that often locals would drive alongside their cars hooting and waving, making them feel welcome. One of the most recent teams to have reached the finish line, called ‘Two and a Half Men,’ said the Mongolian people had been so welcoming to them during their eight day drive across the country. One of the drivers said that his first impression was that Mongolians were ‘the nicest people in the world.’
Of course as the rally is an endurance test for vehiclesthat are fundamentally unsuited to rallying, some cars do not make it to the finish line. I spoke to one member of the competing team entitled ‘Team of Choice’ who arrived in Ulaanbaatar on the 5th of August, but whose car did not. It had broken down after arriving in Mongolia and the drivers had had to take a coach for two and a half days to reach the capital. Every cloud, however, has a silver lining and this car was still towed to a rally check off point so will be donated in the usual way. Furthermore, the team members learnt about the kindness of the Mongolian people. The rally driver said that everyone was so kind and helpful to them as they struggled to finish their long journey. And this is the beauty of the Mongol Rally; it is not simply adventure tourism,but something that enables local people and the ralliers to interact at a grass route level as those competing are completely reliant upon the hospitality of the people they meet along the way.
Last year the Mongol Rally received some bad press here in Mongolia. However, this was all based on unfounded fabrications, such as the rumour that some cars were importing nuclear waste into the country.
On the whole the rally is looked upon positively by the Mongolian people who recognise how much it benefits the country and in so many different ways. Not only is a huge amount of revenue generated by taxes, but the rally itself provides additional employment for local people. The Mongol Rally also brings useful vehicles into the country and raises money for worthwhile charities by auctioning off the donated cars and through the teams sponsorship as well. Furthermore, the rally boosts the economy by fueling tourism every year.
So as the competing vehicles continue to make their way into the city over the next month or so let us greet the competing teams with open arms and kind hospitality.
Rebecca Jacobs started her volunteering project as a journalism in Mongolia a week ago. Her first article is published at UB post, mongolia's indepenent english weekly news, and now she is working on her next article. This is an easy example that we can see how Projects Abroad Volunteers are influencing in society in many ways and how far their hands and words can reach all over the world. This is her Article and you can find it on http:/
By Rabecca Jacobs
Mongolia had never before competed at an Olympic event until 1964. The idea of winning a medal must have seemed like a distant dream. Yet the Olympics is now a dominant presence in several sports, particularly freestyle wrestling and Judo. The number of athletes from Mongolia competing has increased considerably in recent years, with the London games playing host to the largest ever Mongolian contingent. Two gold medals were won in Beijing while a bronze and silver have already been achieved in London. In the words of the head of the Mongolian Olympic committee, the Mongolians are a ‘rather sporty bunch’
Huge and densely populated countries such as India have not experienced nearly as much success in the Olympics, as India won its first ever gold medal in Beijing. Indeed, for a country with fewer than 3 million people, Mongolia punches well above its weight, as noted by TIME Magazine. Its Beijing achievement gave it the sixth highest ratio of medals per capita. So, why do sports flourish in modern Mongolia, and where do they fit in with the country’s social and cultural history?
Mongolia’s sporting successes can be viewed as very much the consequence of the strength of the modern Mongolian nation. While other nations are in recession, Mongolia is experiencing an economic boom. The recent growth of its economy (17% last year) has allowed its sports to receive an increase in funding.
But far from being the fruit purely of modern Mongolia, representing a departure from its ancient culture, Mongolia’s sporting successes in fact stems from, and fits in with, its historical infrastructure and traditions. Naadam nurtures an environment in which sports are cherished. The country’s traditional nomadic livelihood similarly fosters athleticism: as Makhbaatar points out, ‘when you get up at dawn to milk the camels, it builds a natural fitness. Nature is harsh and it breeds endurance in us ’.
The nomadic lifestyle, then, is conducive to athletic success. Tuvshinbayar credits his success to his upbringing. Like many nomadic herders, he grew up wrestling and only started formal training at eighteen.
Sports are something which unites Mongolia’s country and city dwellers—past and present. Naadam pays homage to the excitement and interest with which Mongolians view sporting events. The Olympics similarly hold sway over the imaginations of the country’s inhabitants. The reaction of members of the Mongolian broadcast team following the success in judo bears to the sense of patriotism these games inspire in the country’s people. Mongolia’s jackets were worn, the flag was hoisted up, and the crew danced in the aisles, a reaction which surpassed even that of the home broadcasters in Britain.
The judo outfits and boxing gloves sold in Ulaanbaatur after the 2008 Olympics demonstrated the enthusiasm and patriotism that the Olympics inspired in the people. Satellite television reaches the most remote ger. One British journalist remarked upon the fact that, in the Gobi, she met several nomads who had a working knowledge of the NBA and NHL. Sports are something the entire nation can share in and enjoy as its benefits are all-encompassing, as noted by TIME Magazine.
The Olympics should be heralded as a testimony both to Mongolia’s current successes, and to the integrity of its traditions and history. Without the present prosperity of the Mongolian economy, there would not be the funding available to support the training of athletes. Equally, without the nomadic traditions which privilege and foster athleticism, the abilities and inspiration of the Mongolian athletes would not be in such abundance.
As the judo coach, Khurelbaatur, states, ‘by succeeding in the Olympic we are demonstrating to the world the success of Mongolia in its development, its culture and its economics’. The games transcend their status as a sporting event but rather represent the coming together of Mongolia’s past and present, the fusion of its modernity and traditions.
Marry Choquette was a great care volunteer in Mongolia Project Abroad last november. Even she spent 2 weeks at the Infant Clinical Care Center, she mad great contribution to this center and its children. Recently we recieved a package from her for the kids of the clinical center. We felt her generosity to those orphan kids and it was our pleasure to deliver this donation. You can see happy faces of those kids on the photos below when they recieve the gift. We are happy to convey the kids and staffs of that center's appreciation to Marry Choquette.
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