It's been a big week for the Veloo Foundation here in Mongolia. We've given away millions!! Of Tugrugs, that is! June 1st is Children's Day here in Mongolia ( what a great idea no?) and to celebrate, Oyu Tolgoi an international mining company operating here in Mongolia pledged to match any donations made to a local orphanage, The Verbist Centre. Well..that was too good of an opportunity to miss, so it was off to the O.T. offices to make a donation.
It only took the girls taking the donation about a minute to divest me of my million Tugrugs...about $800.00 or so...
...and of course, there is no escaping the requisite photo opportunity!
Then it was off to visit Zagdaa, a local man who is making an enormous difference to the homeless in Ulaanbaatar. He runs a small compound where homeless people are welcome to come and live and learn a new skill if they agree to stay clean and sober.
Zagdaa currently has two new projects on the go. One is this fiberglass ger which uses solar and wind power to heat it and to provide electricity. It was designed by his daughter and comes complete with built in shelving and beds that fold up to make for more space during the day. The very cool thing about it is that the heating is liquid which runs through the walls and the wood fire is outside so that it makes for a warm, semi-permanent home that is safe for all.
He is in the process of building more molds so that he can begin to increase production. Very cool!
Here is the prototype in its sections. He tells me he can make it any size so we are considering using this in some form as part of our refuge for the children at the dump....which brings me to my next disbursement of millions....3.625 million to be precise.We are very proud to be providing half the funds (the other half being provided by IWAM) for Zagdaa to purchase a new brick making machine ( wood working, furniture making and fibre glass ger innovation not being enough for him!) so that he can bring in 8 - 10 new people and provide them with employment. In addition the bricks will be used to build buildings for families that "graduate" from his programme....meaning that they have left their lives living in the sewers of Ulaan baatar and have learned enough life skills ( and job skills!) that they are able to go out into the world, work, hold a job and move forward with their lives off the street....and now, they get a little brick house as well!
And , even better news, Zagdaa will be helping us by providing bricks for the Dump refuge building as well. Win. Win. Win. I just love it when you can help people to help other people!
So this is us going over and signing the contract....and just a little interesting tidbit for you all, when you take 4.625 million out of the bank here in Mongolia you get a big black plastic bag....very odd walking out with a big bag of money..literally!
With money in hand ( more or less) Zagdaa will be heading off Monday to buy his new machine at the Chinese border and by next Friday he should have it back, set up and producing bricks. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome!!!
....and one very happy Zagdaa.
He does wonderful work here rescuing families and we are very proud to help him with that and very grateful that he will be helping us with the refuge for the children who most need it. Just as a finishing note so you can all see just what kind of guy this is that we are supporting, when we told him about the refuge project the first thing he said was " How many of those kids can come and live here?" Amazing generosity of spirit. Amazing guy. Photos of the machine up and running coming next week. Until then, have a wonderful time and enjoy your life!