Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Visit to the Christina Noble Children's Foundation
The building is quite dilapidated and really needs to be replaced, rather than refurbished. I made this point later to the Ministry of Finance, when I met them for a briefing on how the government allocates expenditure across departments.
After lunch myself and Leo met up with Eamon Thornton from the Christina Noble Children's Foundation. Eamon is the programme head in Mongolia. After volunteering with the CNCF for a year in 2002 he returned as a full-time staff officer 3 years ago.
Originally set up by Irishwoman Christina Noble in Vietnam, the Foundation is now active in many different ways in Mongolia. It helps with streetchildren living on the streets an in the sewers, it provides a drop-in medical clinic for kids. It also undertakes schooling in the boys and girls prisons.
It also provides direct financial assistance to 1,500 children and their families. For just $24 a month anyone can sponsor a child and their family, helping them eat, keeping them at school, basically improving their prospects in life.
Eamon briefed us on the operation on the way to the Ger children camp. The camp is home to 60 children. They have come to the camp in various ways.
The Ger village provides a home to 60 streetchildren
One boy was simply left at the front door by his parents. Another boy was brought to a local market and told to "Wait here" by his father, who promptly disappearded. Hours later, when the boy was still standing there crying the Foundation was called and they took him in.
Another two little girls were found living in a cardboard box in a municipal dump - it is believed that their parents had both died.
Entertainment put on by the Sunshine Village children
The kids appeared to be very happy. We were given a tour of the kitchens, where dinner was being prepared. They also put on a mini-show for us. It was great to see how the contributions and efforts of our countrymen and countrywomen are making a huge difference to these childrens' lives.