"If you build it": Mongolian children to benefit from new library

In a remote village in Mongolia, hundreds of children are forced to drop out of school because of conditions that are less than ideal. Many feel the pressure to work full time to shoulder family burdens. The environment of school dormitories is cramped and crowded with insufficient sanitation.

Many organizations have recognized the struggles these children face and the need to make education more accessible. This summer, a new library will be built in Northern Mongolia with hopes of inspiring children to love learning to prepare for their futures.

Care 4 Kids Worldwide, a 501( c )(3) organization that has helped children and families in the United States, Russia and Mongolia, will be donating furniture, books and computers as well as building the new library in a rural village about eight hours north from the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

The project was organized by Naranjargal (Nara) Thompson, the founder of the Care 4 Kids Worldwide. She hopes the library will create an atmosphere where children will want to stay in school and feels this library will be a gift that will continue to give throughout their lives. Because of the strong commitment and active, direct involvement of the local community leaders, such as the village’s mayor and the school’s principal and librarian, this library project will remain sustainable through the years.

“It will serve many generations to come,” Thompson said. “I believe that ‘if you build it, they will come,’ and they will be continually blessed.”

Thompson said she hopes the library will help children foster a love of good literature, inspire goals of higher education and gain the necessary technical skills to attain these aspirations.

The approximately 380 children who will use the library are of nomadic families, living in dormitories far from their families while they attend school.

“These days of separation can be the longest and most challenging, especially because they offer no after school activities and no family support,” Thompson said. “The books in this library will provide not only an amazing past time, but feed the adventurous and curious nature of children.”

Thompson’s own experience motivated her to provide these opportunities for learning. Growing up behind the Iron Curtain, she read books like Don Quixote, A Journey to the Center of the Earth and David Copperfield to escape into a world filled with “magic, adventure, and heroism.”

Book shelves in the library will be stocked with works written by “the world’s literary giants,” including William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, and books of Mongolian authors. They will be able to read about fantasy tales, stories demonstrating courage and hope, or books that inspire confidence and happiness.

Beyond the world of great literature, the library will provide children with opportunities to learn about math, science and the latest technology including NASA, computers or electrical engineering. Children will be able to develop these and other competitive skills in the media corner. Using computers, they can play English and mathematics games or gain experience typing in English, Mongolian or other foreign languages.

Thompson hopes to send some of the books and computers by the end of May. She has much of the money for the library itself, but said that donations and computers are desperately needed. She hopes to obtain at least three gently used computers for the media corner of the library. Donations are tax deductible.

“These children are the future, the people who will shape the world,” Thompson said. “We need to invest in them. The best and most proven way to do so is through education.”

For those interested in contributing to help build the library, visit www.care4kidsworldwide.org, or contact Nara Thompson directly at Nara@care4kidsworldwide.org.

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