MONGOLIA: Families receive food and coal
Salesian parish supports families living in tents
(MissionNewswire) Holy Family Parish, located in the Khan-Uul district in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, was entrusted to the Salesians in 2007. The parish is located where poor families live in tents, even in the winter when it drops far below freezing.
Among them is a family who has two older children. The father of the family was paralyzed six months ago and the mother is taking care of him. She survives by picking up cow dung in order to warm up the tent. The oldest child has three children but does not have any permanent work. The second is still studying in college. Salesian Father Mario Gaspar dos Santos, from the parish, recently visited the family.
He said, “The house was terribly cold when I entered. She did not warm the tent yet because there is a lack of coal. It was minus 15 outside. The husband lay down on the bed, covering himself with three layers of blankets. When I looked around there was nothing but an empty basket for the coal. So, I asked how they were going to cook dinner for the night and if they had any food. The mother replied that they hadn’t eaten for the whole day and did not have food for dinner. She then said she was going to look for some wood in order to heat the tent.”
Fr. Gaspar dos Santos provided the family flour and two heads of lamb. When he went to buy coal, he asked for help from the Don Bosco Day Care Center’s manager. He explained, “When we found the store, we went directly to the seller, saying we are going to buy coal for the poor family, could you allow us to buy 12 sacks? Due to the fact that, in Mongolia, a family is allowed only to buy six per week. Since we were buying for the poor family, they gave us special permission to purchase 12 sacks. The family was very grateful for the help we offered to them.”
Salesians have parishes, primary and secondary schools as well as the Don Bosco Technical Institute, which helps older youth gain the skills for employment. Since 2001, youth who have not been able to complete a traditional high school education have found educational opportunities at Don Bosco Technical Institute. The training facility started with 30 students and today has more than 300 students who are gaining skills in car mechanics, tailoring, secretarial services, welding and construction.
Close to 27.8 percent of the population in Mongolia is living at or below the poverty line with a significant jump to 35 percent for those living in rural areas. Herders in the countryside struggle to survive as their traditional livelihood dissolves, and there are few job opportunities for young generations.
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Salesian Missions – Mongolia
World Bank – Mongolia