I am a strong supporter of human rights, but just as much of human duties. Many of us are incredibly lucky to have been born into relative prosperity, where things like clean drinking water, medical facilities, human rights and freedom of religion are taken for granted, while others in the world lack them altogether. They have to survive on the bare minimum and even that is not always possible.
This also applies to the steppe nomads in Western Mongolia.
They live in the most remote part (at least 1,700 kilometers from any internationally recognized hospital), in the least populated country in the world, where resources are extremely limited and virtually every infrastructure is lacking.
When I first visited this area, the Altai Mountains, in 2016, I was overwhelmed by both the beauty of the mountains and the warmth and generosity in which I was welcomed, but also shocked by the merciful living conditions.
In Bayan-Ulgi province, the nomads suffer from long winters, droughts and temperatures from plus 20 to minus 50. This makes it almost impossible to grow anything and a constant challenge to keep the animals they depend on alive .
The Kazakh minorities receive little support from the government or international organisations.
I saw harrowing cases of extreme malnutrition, disease and a general lack of facilities. I heard stories of deaths that could easily have been prevented with modern medical equipment. I was amazed that the nomads are nevertheless so incredibly hospitable and will share everything with you. After many months of traveling around as a nomad myself, I left with the conviction: we can do something about this!
As humans, we have a responsibility to think beyond our own needs and wishes. I would like us to see the world as one big family and try to take care of everyone as if they were an immediate neighbor, brother or loved one. Everyone can make a difference, even if only in one person's life.
Since 2022 I have been doing this as Chairman of the Heart for Mongolia Foundation.
In recent years, this NGO has done great work by building vegetable greenhouses and animal shelters at the request of the community and investing in both health care and education. Fantastic!
However, we are far from there yet. There is still a long list of requests from the elders to support the most affected families. Staying warm in winter, food on the table, clean drinking water, medical care and education. Surely that should be available to everyone?
Hence this call. Will you also contribute?
See buttons below to make a donation.
Visit the website https://heartformongolia.org/en/ for more information and keep an eye on my social media for opportunities to get your hands dirty and participate in a project in Mongolia yourself ;)
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