Mongolia Монгол Улс is a unique country north of China and south of Russia, far from any sea or ocean.
Although Mongolia is f.e. 38 times larger than the Netherlands, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and our home base, it has only 3.35 million inhabitants, making it the least populated country on earth.
Nearly half of the population, 1.6 million people, live in the capital Ulaanbaatar, the rest are widely spread across the endless steppes and the vast majority still maintain a nomadic lifestyle, virtually unchanged since its heyday of Genghis Khan some 800 years ago.
The nomads live in felt tents with their herds of sheep, goats, yaks, horses and camels, on which they are completely dependent. The country is dry and the winters are long and cold with temperatures below -40 degrees C.. Three to four times a year, the nomads move in search of food for their animals, better shelter from the icy winter winds or to live closer to the lake or village. The comforts of our modern society are scarce. The nomads live without running water, almost without electricity and mainly eat dairy and meat products.
Most villages have schools, but there is a general lack of study materials. There are hardly any roads and the horse is still the most used means of transport. Many nomads barely make ends meet and with increasingly harsh winters and rising prices, the demand for help is also increasing.
Heart for Mongolia mainly focuses on Bayan-Ulgi. It is the most western province of Mongolia.
About 90% of the 100,000 inhabitants are of Kazakhstani descent. Health care is far below any western standard, the education system leaves much to be desired and far from the financial and political center of the country there is little support reaching this far-flung corner. The nearest internationally recognized hospital is more than 1,700 km away in the capital Ulaanbaatar. A journey that almost no one can take. The enormous distances and inadequate sources of income deter many. In addition, the animals must be taken care of and no one can be missed for a long time.
In 2022, the Heart for Mongolia foundation was founded by chairman Tamar Valkenier, Karan Haagmans and Wil van Daelen.
Tamar visited Mongolia for the first time in 2017 and traveled through the Altai Mountains with her own horse, camel and dog for five months. She didn't just want to visit the nomads, but actually bé a nomad.
Subsequently, she spent many months of each year in Mongolia, building a deep connection with the country that had welcomed her so warmly. She was deeply touched by the hospitality of the residents, their infectious joy in life, willingness to teach her everything she needed to know and the close friendships she built. At the same time, she was overwhelmed by the harsh conditions they live in, without the comforts we too often take for granted in the West. Having experienced a number of accidents herself (including a broken leg, a head injury and a near-death experience), she is only too aware of the luxury of being treated in a hospital in the Netherlands.
She also wishes the nomads the same quality of care and has since done her best to contribute to improving the local living conditions in the field of health care, education and agriculture. To make the world a little more equal and provide basic minimums. As a human duty to care for our fellow man. As a wonderful way to connect people and show how we can mean a lot with little. The question of the nomads is leading in this.
The Heart for Mongolia foundation is committed to improving the living conditions of the nomads in Mongolia, Bayan-Ulgi specifically, but of course not uniquely.
Heart for Mongolia organizes and realizes projects in the field of health care, education and agriculture. By supporting local projects that are supported locally, we offer targeted, tailor-made support that should provide the local population with an immediate and permanent improvement in quality of life under their own direction. We do this with the utmost respect and preservation of traditional ways of life.