Caritas Mongolia is proud to frequently receive the visit of great and supportive volunteers from around the world. In this “Volunteer Stories” series, we share some posts with the contributions of the amazing people we have welcomed at our organisation. Today’s post is based on the thoughts by Emmanuelle and Marie Lou, who spent two weeks along our staff and the beneficiaries of some of CM’s activities.
We spent two weeks as volunteers with Caritas Mongolia. We were travelling for several months through Europe and Asia, and we chose to discover Mongolia in another way, offering our support and our time for the Mongolian population. The members of the organization were really welcoming and helpful. We could see and participate at different projects that they have.
During the first week, we were volunteers in an institute for children with mental disabilities. We were surprised with how the kids in the kindergarden are really independent. There are lots of rituals during the day, and the kids know exactly what to do.
After one week in the rainbow center, when we had a “meeting” with all the staff, it was interesting to have an exchange with them to share our experiences. We talked about the autism and how they see the world — we always have to think of that when we are these children’s therapists. Also, like in France, the problem is that in our daily lives, we therapists do not have time to take a step back, so it’s good to have this experience sometimes.
We talked to the staff about some tools that they can use in their class. It was great to share our feelings and points of view after a week of being there. As we are outsiders, it was easier to see what is good and what is wrong. In general, the time in the workshop was special because we were just with our two teachers, who spoke Mongolian, so we had not much talking, but lots of manual work, smiles and body language!
During the second week, we helped in a kindergarten and a training center in the “Ger area”, a really poor district of Ulaanbaatar. Even though we stayed for a short time, we feel like part of these projects. We speak only few words of the Mongolian language, but sometimes members of Caritas helped us in translating what the teachers and children said, and sometimes we used a kind of sign language to communicate with them! All the staff was really welcoming and trying to get us involved in activities. The most important is that we have met Mongolian people and seen their way of life.