Strategically located between Russia and China, Mongolia is a sparsely populated country with more than one-quarter of its population engaged in semi-nomadic herding. In the early 1990s, the Mongolian people chose democracy over communism and began the transition to a market economy. At the same time, Soviet subsidies ended, and in turn, Mongolia’s educational spending and quality declined. Many schools were forced to close, while other facilities fell into disrepair. Since then, Mongolia’s need for educational infrastructure has continued to grow. Currently, the Mongolian system can only accommodate 25% of the student population and, in most districts, schools are so overcrowded that classes take place in shifts.
In the southeast, a lack of schools is forcing Mongolian families to send their children across the border into China to attend school, eroding Mongolian culture and undermining its democratic values. In an effort to help the Mongolians improve their education system and provide for their own people, the US has funded the construction of a new school in the southeastern town of Zamiin-Uud. The town’s Governor, Naidam Aldarbayar, stated “this kindergarten was built in the right place, at the right time, for the right people.” As a part of this effort, the US Army Civil-Military Support Element (CMSE) working with the US Embassy identified the critical need for English language books in the school and in a US supported American Space – a small American style library that promotes and encourages mutual understanding between the United States and Mongolia. This school will, as the US Ambassador to Mongolia, AMB Jennifer Zimdalh-Galt, explained “allow Mongolia to continue to shine as a bright light in a dark neighborhood.”
With your help, Spirit of America can meet these needs. Providing English language books will not only enhance the educational experience of young and old children alike, but will continue to build on the democratic values that the US and Mongolia share.
Hello from Mongolia, where my first official trip as the Asia-Pacific Project Manager is coming to an end. I’ve spent the last few days working closely with the US Embassy team here, and participating in a US-funded kindergarten opening on the Mongolia-China border, which you can read more about here. Now, I want to share … Continued