In Mongolia, the Association of Parents with Disabled Children (APDC) has been implementing a Mentor Parents Program since 2010 with the financial support of FDG. APDC organizes training for mentor parents to improve their skills and knowledge about children rights, human dignity, legislation and policy changes, while participating in various social activities. The Mentor Parents focus on supporting families who need guidance for the well-being of disabled children, they provide comprehensive information about child disability, state welfare law to the parents and help parents to be involved in the welfare system and to receive medical services for their children. Today, the Mentor Parents work in 3 mentoring groups, depending on their knowledge and interests such as health, education, and social welfare-protection.
As a result of some Mentor Parents’ initiation, hard work and effort, small centers were established with the support of the Khoroo Governor’s office (Khoroo is the smallest administration unit of the city), with school and also International NGOs. Through these centers they provide stable and continuous services to the parents and children of their community.
One of those Mentor Parents is Uyanga who is mother of a child with disabilities.
She joined APDC as a member in 2008 and became a Mentor Parent in 2013 after attending Mentor Parents’ training. She mostly worked in Khoroos of the Chingeltei District using Khoroo Governor’s offices. She informed parents about the APDC, helped them to be able to receive social welfare. She also referred children to specialists and doctors services.
For her it wasn’t enough to help the children, therefore she established the NGO “Gegeelen Tuv”. Unfortunately there was no place to organize activities. A family helped her and gave her a spare ger (traditional dwelling). She got permission to built the ger near to the Khoroo Governor’s office. Soon after, the construction work started for a family doctor’s building. She rented a room next to an organisation, but it was difficult for her to find money to pay the rent. She organized activities in another NGO’s office while their staff took their summer vacation. The Mentor Program moves from one place to another, but never stopped activities for disabled children and their parents. The Khoroo Governor valued her effort and gave a small building with 6 rooms next to the Governor’s Office to the NGO. He offered a contract to provide financial support for covering heating cost and 2 guards’ salaries.
She sent the description of the projects to the INGO “World Vision” and received support for renovating the building and to purchase some furniture and electronic devices. Today, 25 children receive the NGO services daily. Children do their homework, attend arts and craft lessons, do exercises with support of teachers, and get involved in projects offered by other organisations. Meanwhile she implemented several projects for children and their mothers.
For example: a project “How to make cookies” was implemented with support of the NGO “Good Neighbours”, doctor’s advice and psychical therapy have been given to the children 3 times a year by the NGO “Ninjin San”. A project named “Soap” was implemented for women. The project helped mother’s to earn some money.
Uyanga has been working hard to expand the center’s activities and is looking forward to hire their own teachers.
There are some other Mentor Parents who want to work like Uyanga, but due to lack of support from the Government they are having financial difficulties to pay them.
The last word goes to proud Uyanga:
“When I visited the APDC first time, I was a very shy person. I mostly stayed at home, couldn’t communicate with people freely, I even didn’t know how to work with a computer. Now I’m more confident, my communication skills are improved. I am more willing to help children and I improve my leadership and mentoring skills. I am more confident working and helping people”.
By Dulmaa Luvsansharav
April 12th, 2018