UPDATE: due to various circumstances, we ended up not going to Mongolia, so we didn't volunteer for this project.
Both of us really want to do some voluntary work while being in Asia, preferrably in one of the poorer countries. It will give an extra dimension to our journey and probably also generate some unforgettable memories. Traveling is not all about sightseeing ; we really want to participate in the daily lives of the people in a way that benefits them. Spending some time with locals is still the best way to get the real feel of a country. That's one of the main reasons why we joined the Couchsurfing Project, and it's also something we would love to experience while doing voluntary work in Asia. We care about other people and by choosing an interesting project of development work we hope to contribute to their well-being as much as possible.
While looking for voluntary work, Olivier's friend Kati in Norway(also a Couchsurfing member) recommended a very interesting project to us : she met some nice people while staying in Amsterdam who are working for a project in Mongolia. Kati and her daughter Ingrid were hosted by Maarten and Karen. Maarten is a doctor who just returned from Mongolia after having spent three years there. They are active for a project called All For Childrenin Choibalsan, Mongolia. Please read more about it on this very interesting website, it's available in English and Dutch. Basically, the organisation works with Mongolian street children and helps building a better future for them by providing basic needs such as food, education, a community building, and so on. Since both of us have been involved in youth work in the past, this project really appealed to us right from the start.
Through Maarten, we got in toch with Dorothy, who works for a side project called Colour4Kidsthat is active several countries, including the same town in Mongolia. Recently they built a well that provides the home of the children with water. This is just one of the many things that the project does, and of course funds are needed to continue doing more in the future. Thanks to the well, the children (there are currently 25 staying in Anna Home) and their caretakers can now grow their own vegetables, as you can see on the right picture above.
After getting in touch with some Dutch people involved with both organisations and learning more about their projects, we decided that this is what we want to do while being in Asia. We will be in Mongolia in July-August 2009 and during this period they plan to do some renovation works of Anna Home, in which we would love to participate as much as we can.
On Sunday September 7th, we will go to Rotterdam in the Netherlands to meet Dorothy and to discuss the project a little bit more and what is expected from us while being there. Of course we will keep you updated on this!
Of course, it's also important to raise funds for the project. All contributions will be extremely useful for the ongoing and planned activities. Every single one of you can help the street children in Mongolia to have a better, independent life in the future.