©InfoThe British Red Cross has been supporting a Mongolian Red Cross project that gives assistance to elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people since 2004. For many, it is nothing short of a lifeline.
The community-based project was started to address severe hardships faced by the urban poor living in the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator. The people we are helping include nomadic herder families who have lost their animals during severe winters, elderly people who are bedridden and families living in areas that are difficult to access.
Although it is common to live in 'gers', traditional felt tents with a fuel stove and limited furniture, for many households their accommodation is inadequate, and they remain completely isolated during the winter months.
Help at home
Backed by British Red Cross funding and training, volunteers visit beneficiaries at least twice a month to assist with household and personal chores, bringing food and medicine, arranging medical visits, and getting access to state benefits.
But sometimes the visits are simply about friendship, and close relationships between beneficiaries and volunteers have developed since the start of the project.
There are also social day-care centres, where people, if they are able, can go to a place where they know they will be welcomed, cared for and befriended. With support from 600 volunteers, the programme is now reaching 1,800 vulnerable people and their families in two districts in Ulan Bator and four provinces (Selenge, Darkhan, Tuv and Sukhbaatar).