ING Mongolia raises USD 45,000 to help underprivileged youth
On 19 June 2015, ING Mongolia with the support of the ING Hong Kong branch, co-hosted one of the biggest charity dinners of the year in Ulaanbaatar in support of the Veloo foundation, raising a total of USD 45,000.
The Veloo Foundation is an internationally recognized charity formed by Julie Veloo in 2012. Their project in Mongolia aims to provide a safe kindergarten environment for children who scavenge landfill sites for survival. Prior to the Veloo Foundation project, the children would have either been left without supervision in their family ger (tent) or accompanied their parents to the hazardous landfill sites. The set-up of a kindergarten is a first step to introduce change and development to an extremely poor part of Ulaanbaatar.
Initially the plan was to provide a safe educational environment for the youngest children at risk. Through the growth of the project a number of local people were hired as teachers, cooks and administrative staff. The kindergarten currently has 124 children enrolled, and is working to expand the capacity to support up to 250 children from ages 3 to 8.
In attendance from ING were Mark Newman, CEO Asia, Aart Jan den Hartog, Country Manager for Greater China and Mongolia and Helge Muenkel, Director of Debt Capital Markets, Asia who demonstrated our dedication to the charity and commitment to the local community.
The Mongolia team co-organized the event by leveraging their network and securing valuable auction items from leading Mongolian companies. All of the proceeds went directly to support the Veloo Foundation. This year’s proceeds were remarkably higher than what the foundation had raised in previous years. ING Mongolia has been supporting the foundation as part of the office’s overall CSR strategy since 2014. Last year the rep office staff sponsored a day of arts and activities at the children’s center and the office staff personally donated the necessary materials, which included colouring pens, paper and a small gift bag for each of the 34 children.
Mongolia has in recent years undergone an immense transformation fuelled in part by a boom in mining. This recent explosion in growth has made for an even greater divide between the rich and poor. A quarter of Ulaanbaatar’s population lives below the poverty line and another quarter lives dangerously close to it. As a result, Ulaanbaatar has undergone a rapid expansion as Mongolians have migrated to the city in search of work. About half the residents in the capital live in traditional moveable structures known as gers, without running water and some without power.
An example of such settlements is Tolgoit, a semi-urban area located 10km from the Ulaanbaatar city center. The population of Tolgoit has tripled in the past decade and is home to many herders who lost their livelihood due to extreme winter conditions or dzud. People living in Tolgoit settle close to Ulaanbaatar in search of jobs, but with the influx of people to the capital city, unemployment remains high. Tolgoit is well-known for being home to the Ulaan Chuluut landfill site; one of Ulaanbaatar’s five such sites. It is the largest landfill in the capital and collects general and bio hazard waste from around the city. The site provides harsh employment for the unskilled and unemployed of Tolgoit. As a last resort, without vocational training and skills required for the city workforce the migrant families turn to collecting waste from the landfill site; currently hundreds of families make their living by scavenging and recycling from Ulaan Chuluut. The social issues troubling this deeply deprived area are extreme.
For this year’s charity event the ING Mongolia office demonstrated what a three-person office can do by leveraging their relationships and network. The Mongolian team hopes that the event helped raise awareness and the profile of the charity and the good work that it is doing. More importantly, some of the companies and people that ING introduced to the charity have committed to support the Veloo Foundation and its ongoing efforts to help underprivileged youth..
(Guests including Mark Newman at the Gobi Gallop Gala.)