OneSky’s new Family Center in Ulaanbaatar opened its doors in August 2020 to provide underserved families with a safe play and educational space focused on child development. Lockdown has meant we have had to adapt to changing circumstances but, despite the challenges, we are making positive gains to support local families.
For months now, gatherings of any kind in Mongolia have been put on hold, as the number of coronavirus infections has risen sharply since the beginning of April with more than 1,000 cases being reported daily and 21,995 cases nationwide as lockdown continues.
According to the country’s National Center for Communicable Diseases, of the latest confirmed cases, 18,876 were detected in the country’s capital Ulaanbaatar, which is the hardest hit by COVID-19; and the location of our new OneSky Program in Mongolia.
“To help ease the situation for the families we serve, we’ve rapidly adjusted and shifted to keeping remotely connected and engaged via the phone and Facebook groups. Additionally, our local trainers are making videos of fun activities for parents to enjoy with their children at home,” reported ECD Specialist Geretluya Tsegmid.
Currently, the (U.S.-based) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared Mongolia to be a “level 4: very high level of Covid-19” travel risk. To date, only 30.7% of the Mongolian population has been vaccinated with the first shot. This is why, said Gereltuya, online and phone outreach is so important.
OneSky’s staff in Mongolia has risen to the occasion before, during a previous nationwide lockdown, when back in early November dedicated trainers and family mentors helped to supply families with urgently needed food during severe winter storms.
Then, as now, our professional team on the ground ensured the connections we made with families living in impoverished ger communities continued to strengthen. Poverty is one of the biggest issues in Mongolia, which has an unemployment rate among the highest in Asia. Hardships stemming from the pandemic have further deteriorated the situation.
Fortunately, OneSky has been invited to participate in a Lorinet Foundation/World Vision COVID-19 humanitarian support project, providing monetary support to the hardest-hit families with young children we serve.
According to Lorinet Foundation, their partnership with World Vision Mongolia will implement the “Young Family Livelihood Improvement” program over the next several years, directly supporting 150 of the most vulnerable young families from the “ger” district. They will also strive to help enable them to transition to a sustainable livelihood.
And, once the lockdown ends, families will be able to return to the OneSky Mongolia Family Center, a community place of reprieve and support for the entire family.
“Although times are difficult now, we are optimistic for our future bringing the OneSky Approach to Mongolia,” noted Munkhtuya Badmaavanchin, Community Relations Manager.