Some pictures from today’s events. Click on any image to enlarge.
Today Ven. Rinpoche paid a visit to the Kindergarten in District 9 in Ulaanbaatar where Asral helps many children over the years with stationary, clothing and toiletries. Currently the kindergarten has 599 children studying in it. The director, Naraa, thanked Ven. Rinpoche for visiting the kindergarten again this year and for his continuous support over the years. The children’s age ranges from 2 to 5 years. In total there are 1,127 children who need the kindergarten facility, however, only half of them got the opportunity to do so.
The manager of the kindergarten was introduced to Ven. Rinpoche. She told him that this is first time they used a lottery system to select the children, but the director said that the parents were not happy about this selection system. Almost 40% of the children in Ulanbaataar don’t have kindergarten facilities.
Every year there are approximately 20,000 children needing to go to kindergarten in the Bayangol district. They are around 60 kindergartens in the Bayangol district, both governmental and private. New kindergarten facilities are being built, however, the number of children being born is increasing every year. They have 24 classes and it keeps the manager very busy. The director took us to the classroom where the Asral children live. They are all 4 years’ old. The children did a dance performance and sang songs to welcome Ven. Rinpoche. He distributed toys knitted by an Irish woman who had sent them over with Ven. Rinpoche to distribute to them. They were very happy to receive the gifts. Ven. Rinpoche also distributed sweets and a year’s worth of toiletries and stationary. Mr.Batarzorigt, a member of the Council for Public Service of Mongolia, accompanied Ven. Rinpoche for the day.
School visit in Gachuurd
In the school in Gachuurd there are 600 children. 90 children are boarding in the hostel renovated and furnished by Asral Charity. There are 40 boys and 50 girls staying at the hostel whose homes are a great distance from the school. The director and the manager of the school welcomed Ven. Rinpoche and showed him the hostel and the kitchen that were renovated furnished by Asral charity. The director requested Ven. Rinpoche if he could provide the school with a teacher who could give Dharma teachings and ethical education to the students. Ven. Rinpoche said he will definitely organise someone to provide Dharma teaching to the students and would also provide Dharma books translated into the Mongolian language. The school educates children up to 12th grade. The director suggested that Dharma education should be provided to the children from the ages of 12 to 16 years. She expressed her gratitude to Ven. Rinpoche for all his support to the school in past and she is looking forward to collaborating with Asral. Ven. Rinpoche said that in the past he arranged to teach Dharma to the teachers of the school so that the teachers can eventually teach the children themselves. Ven. Rinpoche thanked them for their reception. A representative of the educational department arrived at the end of the meeting to see Ven. Rinpoche. He thanked him for the work that he has done to help with the children’s education. He is responsible for all the schools and kindergartens in this district.
Ven. Rinpoche expressed his gratitude and appreciation for coming to see him today. He returned the respects to Ven. Rinpoche.
Ven. Rinpoche met the district governor in his office and introduced himself to him. Ven. Rinpoche said he has visited many times and met with the previous governors. He gave a brief description of the work that he has done in the local community such supporting the schools, kindergartens and hospitals, as well as renovating and furnishing the buildings and the kitchens in the school and hospital. He spoke briefly about the organic vegetable gardening training and seed supplies for the local families.
Kindergarten in Gachuurd
The director welcomed Ven. Rinpoche. She was in duty when Asral renovated and furnished half of the building. This work increased the capacity from 166 to 220 children. Ven. Rinpoche asked her to briefly inform the new governor with what Asral has done in the past. She described all the work Asral did over the years. She came to know that Ven. Rinpoche was in Mongolia this year from the television and she felt very happy to see him again. She informed him that they now have 345 children in the kindergarten. She reminded Ven. Rinpoche that she remembered going shopping with him for furniture for newly renovated building. She expressed her gratitude to him for his continuing support for the local people of Gachuurd and of Mongolia. This year they are going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the kindergarten. Ven. Rinpoche told them that Ani Margery la was one of the main people who was responsible for getting funding from the Irish government for this particular kindergarten project.
Later Ven. Rinpoche visited the local hospital in Gachuurd. The district governor accompanied him to the kindergarten and to the hospital as well. Ven. Rinpoche introduced Burmaa, Asral’s new director, to the head doctor. The doctor said that they treat around 800 people. They also have 24-hour services at the hospital. The doctor expressed her gratitude for buying all the kitchen sets for the hospital. The governor asked Ven. Rinpoche to pray for the hospital.
The Vegetable Gardening Project
Naraa, the head gardener, along with a group of the people involved in the project received Ven. Rinpoche at Asral’s gardening project in Gachuurd. Naraa gave a brief report to Ven. Rinpoche. She said that 73 families have been trained since the beginning of the project. Each family will receive provisions of seeds and training for 4 to 5 years. They provide opportunities to new families once the current families are able grow their own vegetables. The cost of water has doubled since the beginning. The people present that day were beneficiaries of Asral. They said that they get enough harvest to feed their own families. Some families have extra produce, which means they can afford to sell some. The whole group said they are now self-sufficient.