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If you haven’t already noticed, this edition of Horizons focuses on youth, sports projects and partners. Mongolian parents have the same passion for their children that parents all over the world have. Their concern often is that that passion is limited by the few resources they have or by the environment their children are destined to grow up in.
So although every parent has dreams for their children, the dreams of many remain dreams in the light of the crushing reality of life. How do one’s children get a fighting chance when finding a place in kindergarten is harder than getting into university because of overcrowding? Or when all of one parent’s income plus half of the other’s goes to pay the rent of the apartment or in some cases the ger (felt tent) and they must also eat and pay for books and clothes? Or when the family ger is too cold at night for the children to sit up and do their homework?
JCS has worked with its partners to do relief work and provide support for many of these poor families. However, I have consistently found that though the requests are for simple material support, the need is for hope. Our youth and sports work gives a chance for youth to get out and challenge each other and learn to work together toward a common goal. It is an opportunity to forget their troubles and work toward a goal (pun intended) that is achievable and measurable.
The common refrain heard from youth and parents who have got involved in the sports programs is:
“I used to fight all the time and now I am happier because I have made new friends and have learned how to work together.” “I couldn’t do anything well and my friends always made fun of me; now I am learning how to play football and I am good at it.”
“My child used to spend time on the internet playing games and was getting fat. Now he is healthier and happier because he is outside running and playing together with others.”
Even though the government has put restrictions on many visa requests for Mongolia, the requests of those with skills and a passion to help the youth of Mongolia are supported because every nation recognizes its future in the faces of its youth. Anyone that can help put hope on those faces and into those hearts gives hope to the nation!