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Mongolia

Salesian Missions is providing opportunities for children and families struggling to improve their lives in Mongolia. Specific focus is on students who are having difficulty coping in a traditional high school setting and on families that are arriving in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar in desperate search of employment.

While the poverty rate has fallen to 21.6 percent in Mongolia, many people remain near the poverty line and vulnerable, according to the World Bank. Salesian programs provide the critical extra support for children and families to ensure they have equal opportunities for a better future.

Since Salesian missionaries began providing education and shelter to poor youth in 2001, programs have grown to meet the new challenges in Mongolia.

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Build orphanages & shelters for homeless youth

It is a far too common occurrence in the poverty-stricken countries. Children — with or without their families — migrate into the city in desperate need of employment, resulting in children living on the streets. In 2003, in response to the growing needs in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, Salesian missionaries added the Caring Center for street children. The program provides food and shelter to homeless children and orphans ages 8 to 16. After completing high school, students can access job skills training at the Don Bosco Industrial Training Skills Center. In addition to assisting with job placement after graduation, Salesian missionaries also help teach life skills that help them become self-sufficient and ready to live on their own.

Provide youth centers & safe activities

In 2015, Salesian missionaries launched the Don Bosco Youth Development Center in Khutul. Salesian missionaries, with very limited space and resources, offer courses in English language. More than 1,200 children are currently enrolled in programs at the Salesian Center. It also provides a library as well as other programs for the youth and the community. Due to the success of the programs and the immense need, plans are currently underway with the city to expand the center and better serve the area youth.

Salesian missionaries in Darkhan operate the Don Bosco Center, which includes agriculture education and a working farm. The center offers a chance for local youth to gain the skills needed for employment. The yield from the farm also supports the feeding program at the local Salesian Youth Center. Because of this, each year the farm holds an “agro-oratory” harvest event.

Despite the challenges of agriculture brought on by extreme temperature fluctuations between seasons, rising from +40° C in summer to -40° C in winter, the Don Bosco Center farm is important to the local community. At the 2019 harvest, Salesian missionaries, lay staff, and 40 children and older youth from the Salesian Youth Center came together to work on the farm. A total of 1,600 kg of squash and other varieties of vegetables were harvested.

Improve infrastructure

Father Václav Klement, the Salesian regional councilor for East Asia-Oceania, visited Salesian programs in Mongolia. Fr. Klement visited the Salesian community in Darkhan, near the border with Russia. He also spent some days in Ulaanbaatar meeting the Salesian community and pupils and past pupils of the school.

During the visit, Salesian missionaries met for the second time with the mayor of Khutul, a town of 10,000 inhabitants located 60 km from Darkhan, to plan the development of a new Salesian center. Many young people are living in Khutul, where there is industrial business as well as good grain-growing agricultural areas. However, the local schools are not enough to accommodate all the youth in the city. The three kindergartens and one high school are overcrowded.

Two years ago, Don Bosco Youth Development Center was launched in the city and has been very successful. Salesian missionaries, with very limited space and resources, offer courses in English language. They also provide a library and consulting business as well as other programs for youth. More than 1,200 children are currently enrolled in programs at the Salesian Center. The new center will provide additional educational courses and support to the youth in the community.

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