Erdenetuul Batkhuyag is a 15-year-old Mongolian student and youth worker. She lives with her family in a “ger” community outside the capital city of Ulan Bator. “Ger” is the Mongolian word for a traditional home, and large communities of them lie outside the country’s big cities. People from these communities, especially girls and women, often live difficult lives and are cut off from Mongolia’s commercial districts and public services.
Like thousands of other girls in ger communities, Erdenetuul has a lot of responsibilities at home. In fact, a lot have so many household chores to do that they end up neglecting their schoolwork. Erdenetuul feels that her decision to join the local youth development program saved her from this kind of lifestyle. At the youth club, she learned a lot of new skills, including how to operate a computer and work on the internet, and she now helps teach others.
Erdenetuul and the MYDSC
The MYDSC (Mongolian Youth Development Services Center) empowers young people, teaching them life skills and organizing youth social entrepreneurship programs, such as internet and training centers. Erdenetuul helped to establish one of these centers, and she works there four days a week, helping people open email accounts and search for information.
In addition to her work at the internet and training center, Erdenetuul and the other club members have set up a volunteer scheme to help elderly and disabled people in the community, and they’ve also organized competitions and events to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smoking and drinking alcohol.
Erdenetuul’s Future Plans
Erdenetuul says that girls from ger communities have little access to computers and the internet. To change that, she wants to set up a girls’ internet club. She also wants to change people’s attitudes towards the physical and sexual abuse women and girls face in Mongolia.
She has big plans for the future, and most of them involve helping others. (By Andrew Crosthwaite)
You can view her PowerPoint Presentation here