Our story began in 2005 when founder Jonathan Renich spent the summer visiting different areas around Mongolia working with rural communities and schools. While researching community development in a small village in northern Mongolia it became known that the local school system would have its funding for textbooks cut back that year, requiring the parents of children to come up with money to purchase the required books. After contacting other international nonprofit organizations it was discovered that it was not only one school that was receiving a considerable cut in their funding, but schools all across Mongolia. Drop out rates that school year were high as parents in rural areas could not find the funds necessary to purchase their children’s textbooks. Several parents plea for help in keeping their children in school set off a series of events that led to the birth of Edurelief and what we hope will be a new future for the children of Mongolia.
From the autumn of 2005 through the spring of 2006, a team of volunteers quickly formed and began fundraising on behalf of children’s education in Mongolia. Fundraising and awareness events targeted the team’s local University of Oregon campus as well as local businesses resulting in funds raised for over 525 children. Our first child sponsorship program took place in the northern Mongolian town where the plea for help had originally come from. With students of this town who had dropped out now returning to school, We quickly looked for other needy schools, effectively reaching out to four schools in our first year of operation.
The word of our programs spread quickly, soon reaching Mongolians living outside of their country of birth who were shocked and outraged at the idea of children in their country not being able to receive a good education. More volunteers came on board, calling on the Mongolian community to help, translating promotional videos and websites and raising a huge amount of awareness (thanks guys, you’re amazing!).
To kick off the 2007/08 school year we were able to partner with five new schools, providing textbooks and establishing school libraries that reached a total of 3,490 children. A number of these schools were in areas so distant from city centers that they receive neither TV nor radio signals in their towns. One of our favorite stories was learning that schools in these areas opened their doors not only to their students but to local community members as well. Locals from all around have been attending the libraries to spend time reading and learning from the new school and story books.
2008 greets us with a lot of good things in store for us, and more importantly, for the children of Mongolia. With volunteers and satellite teams popping up around the globe who, like ourselves, are passionate about seeing children be able to receive a solid education, we are convinced that great things are going to happen in this country. We are all about dreaming big and have some ambitious goals that are not impossible but will only happen with a lot of help. We’d love to have you come alongside us and become part of this story. With your help, big things will continue to happen in Mongolia and this story will only get better. Get in touch to help make it happen.