Thanks to my beautiful, smart, generous friend from Mongolia, I learned of another charity to help, the Lotus Children’s Centre.
The center was started in 1995, by Didi Ananda Kalika who had come to Mongolia to teach yoga and meditation in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. Once there, she realized that there was a need to help orphans on the streets. With that, she opened the Lotus Children’s Centre to feed, house, educate, and care for these orphans. The center is an official Mongolian NGO (non-governmental organization), and helps around 100 vulnerable Mongolian children.
The aims of the Lotus Children’s Centre are to provide:
- A loving environment for the children to grow up in
- A good educations and developmental care that we believe can break the poverty cycle
- Primary care to all of the children including food, healthcare, clothing and accommodation
- Support in the children’s ‘post-Lotus’ lives, providing a safety net and help in finding employment and tertiary education placements (http://www.lotuschild.org/about/)
It is difficult for orphans in Mongolia because the family unit is crucial, especially when reaching the age of young adulthood (18+). It is the support system for education, life skills, work, and housing. After age 18, the Mongolian government does little to help these children/young adults. So Lotus has found itself continuing to support and provide skills for young adults up to the age of 20.
It is still a relatively small operation, and at one point this woman and her staff had 150 orphans in their care. That is a high number for a small non-profit, especially when providing all the necessities in life. The center does now employ 30 local Mongolian staff, so it has grown from its original single apartment. Their own timeline is this:
- Didi arrives in Mongolia
- Starts to take in children
- Find land on edge of city to move children
- Primary School is founded
- Kindergarten moved to new location inside the city
- Children move to new Centre in Gachuurt village
- Future…. (http://www.lotuschild.org/about/history/)
At the moment Global Reach-Mongolia, a non-profit based out of Denver, Colorado, is trying to help Didi and her staff raise $1,000 to buy books for the children. You can donate at the gofundme site for them, titled Books for Underprivileged Children.
If you find yourself in Ulaanbaatar, you can also stay at the Lotus Guesthouse, the profits from which go toward funding the center. You can use the link above, or find the guesthouse listed at hostelbookers.com or tripadvisor.co.uk. The description from hostelbookers.com states:
Our friendly staff, the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere make our guesthouse truly “a home away from home”. Furthermore, the guesthouse is owned and supports the Lotus Children’s Centre financially and by training the young adults of the centre to find work and build an independent lifestyle in tourism and hospitality.
The Lotus Guesthouse is also linked with the Ananda Cafe, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lotus Children’s Centre, which delivers delicious vegetarian food to both guesthouses free of charge. (http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/mongolia/ulaanbaatar/55143/)
Additionally, the guesthouse can also help you with tours and other services, such as transportation rentals from buses to bikes.
Small non-profits rely heavily on word of mouth, and, so, this is my spreading-the-word about an organization that is seeing the need and taking action.
If you would rather just donate to Lotus Children’s Centre itself, instead of the book drive, please click here.
One day I hope to visit this country whose people are among the most kind and generous I have ever met.
Love you Khishig, and thank you for sharing.