LOTUS CHILDREN'S CENTRE -- ULAANBATAR, MONGOLIA
Mongolia is a huge, landlocked country between Russia, China and Kazakhstan, with a population of two and a half million people. For seventy years, until 1990, it was a Soviet satellite state, one of the most closed countries in the world. Mongolia's transition to a market economy in 1990 is still evolving. Many families find it difficult to meet their basic needs, and many children have been abandoned or taken to the streets.
The Lotus Children's Centre was first introduced to us by one of our guides, Roger Burrows. Through an ElderTreks' client, Roger was shown an article of an inspiring woman, named Didi Ananda Kalika, who started helping local children from her own apartment. With help from Mongolian volunteers and friends, a new location was acquired and the Lotus Children's Centre was opened in 1995 with 8 children and one building. Roger arranged for his group to visit the orphanage bringing clothes, vitamins and financial support.
Today, the Lotus Children's Centre houses 115 children -- from one month to 20 years of age. Some of the children are orphans, others have parents who are not able to care for them. The children have a wide range of abilities and talents, they are bright and intelligent and want to learn and become productive members of Mongolian society. Many of them attend high schools and university courses and are planning for future employment.
The centre has a number of ongoing projects. There are plans to open a primary school to accommodate the interests of all the children; a Community Training Centre for Women, as well as a Plumbing and Bathhouse Project.
As part of our ongoing commitment to support developmental projects throughout the world, on behalf of every group traveling to Mongolia this summer, ElderTreks makes a generous donation to the Lotus Children's Centre.
To find out more about the Lotus Children's Centre and its mission, please visit: www.lotuschild.org.