Bertsetseg Altangerel and her two young children used to move from house to house, but thanks to the Red Cross the family now has a home of their own. In May 2013, the family moved into their new ‘ger’ – a traditional Mongolian tent.
Temperatures in Mongolia can plummet to minus 30 degrees, but with her new ger Bersetseg, 31, doesn’t need to worry about the bitter winters. She says: “You can get them very warm, they have a stove and you put coal in and it can make it very warm.”
No place to stay
The family initially moved to Ulaanbaatar five years ago so that Bertsetseg could support her sisters, who live here too. But they had no place to stay and ended up travelling from family to family, staying with friends.
Bersetseg knew about the Mongolian Red Cross and with the help of a Red Cross volunteer she applied to receive a ger. She was successful, and when she received her new tent a friend gave her a sack of flour to celebrate.
Now, Bersetseg sees the Red Cross three or four times a month. Volunteers come to visit her, and she also goes to the Red Cross office. There, she offers to help out when she can.
‘I’m so happy’
Bertsetseg used to work as a substitute teacher in a kindergarten, but she had to give up her job when her son was born. She hopes to start teaching again soon so that she can earn money to provide for her children.
When they stayed with other families, Bertsetseg’s children – aged three months and four years – often cried in the middle of the night. Now, she has her own ger for the first time since moving to Ulaanbaatar and her children are peaceful.
She says: “I’m so happy and my daughter says how nice it is to have our own ger. I don’t need to think about where I will be staying next month.”
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