Khulan and Ariunbayar
Uvur Maanit, Mongolia, 2018.  UNICEF.


Ankhbayar and his wife Otgonjarga live in Uvur Maanit, with their two children, Khulan, 5, and Ariunbayar, 2.

Ankhbayar and Otgonjarga, have been living in their ger as herders for five years. “When I got pregnant, we decided to leave behind the city life and start our family life here, taking care of animals and living a nomadic life”, said Otgonjarga. Currently, the family owns about 400–500 livestock, such as horses, goats, sheep and yaks.

The biggest challenge for the family is lack of access to education. “Life here is good, we are used to it. If we had access to schools and kindergartens, we will not move”, said the father.

Nomadic families face a tough choice when it comes to providing children with education: they either have to abandon their nomadic life and find a job in the city, or sent the children to dormitories.

Last September, Ankhbayar and Otgonjarga sent their daughter to live with the grandparents in the city so that she could go to kindergarten, but Khulan got sick and missed her mother too much. This year, UNICEF is funding a mobile ger kindergarten in their area to provide pre-primary education for over 23 children from the nomadic herder community.

“The children love the kindergarten, and it is very convenient for us”, said the mother. “I want my daughter to become a doctor”, she said. “And I want my son to have a good education. The times are changing, and I want my children to have options”.

The UNICEF-funded mobile ger kindergarten in this area operates for 3–4 weeks in June, offering quality, complementary early learning opportunities. It provides children with basic literacy and numeracy skills to help them get ready for school. The kindergarten also provides children with a chance to meet their peers and develop their social and emotional skills, despite living far from other families. Here, children will learn how to use WASH facilities, which often are not available in their homes.
Janjin bagh (area) near Erdenetsogt soum, Mongolia. 2018. ©UNICEF/ Matas