These are some of the larger projects carried out by Lotus recently.
With 260 sunny days per year, Mongolia has huge potential for the use of renewable energy from solar power. In 2020 we were able to build solar panels with thanks to funding and logistical support from The Rising Sun Cyclists, Harry and Rob. We also installed an electric boiler to replace the existing coal-fired boiler at Lotus, being very aware of the challenges Mongolia faces with regards to pollution from coal fires. We are continuing with our commitment to become a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly organisation.
After a successful trial last year, in the summer of 2020 we transformed a large area of our land to a dedicated vegetable growing area, with two greenhouses to extend the growing season. The aim is to become more self-sufficient with food, at the same time as giving our children the opportunity to learn about growing food and self-sufficiency. For this project the funding was raised thanks to Gulf4Good and their partners.
Outdoor Play Area
In 2019, after the arrival of many young children at Lotus, we needed to adapt some of our facilities to suit babies and toddlers. Included in this project was a secure, safe outdoor play area outside the young children’s house. We build a veranda joining on to the existing indoor play room, and also brought new life to the old outdoor play area including a new climbing frame, sand pit, and a baby Mongolian ger.
IVCO Vocational Training Workshop
As our children get older, we have an increased focus on learning new skills that can provide them will more opportunities for the future. With this in mind in Autumn 2017 we built an extension on to our garages which became a workshop space for the older children to learn new vocational skills, such as mechanics, carpentry, maintenance, and crafts like sewing and felting. The largest single financial sponsor for this project was IVCO. Without their generous support we would not have been able to complete the building and start offering our children such valuable training opportunities.
Although this is a project that will never be “completed”, it is one that we made huge progress with in 2017. At the start of the academic year in September we had 11 children attending new private schools in Ulaanbaatar. This is part of our drive to bring better educational opportunities to our children either though scholarship or sponsorship, or a combination of both.
In 2017 we improved and expanded our volunteer facilities at Lotus to include a combined toilet and shower block and also a rest area for volunteers. This was an important investment so that we can continue to attract the level of volunteers we have in the past, which we rely on so heavily.
In Spring 2016, having looked for a way to have our website translated into Mongolian, as well as English, a locally based translation company, Double Check Translation, very kindly offered to translate the website free of charge. They showed great enthusiasm for helping and we are very thankful for the help that they have given, which allowed us to open up to a wider audience.
Horses and Corral
Didi has always greatly enjoyed horse riding, and was keen for the children to also experience her joy. As well as being a source of pleasure for the children, Didi was also thinking of the long term and perhaps organizing treks as part of the trips offered by the Lotus Guesthouse.
Didi’s wish for horses was made possible by a kind Mongolian family currently living overseas. They offered not only to buy the horses, but also to cover the costs of the riding equipment as well.
Of course, a corral was needed to house the horses and this was built by one of our regular volunteers, James, with the help of our local workers, Pujee, Enkhbaatar and Batmunkh.
In 2016, we had a further two horses donated by Simone Aleida from The Netherlands. Simone rode her horses across Mongolia whilst also raising money for Lotus, before donating them to the centre.
It’s great to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they are riding, and we already have some very competent riders.
Ger and Platform
In 2015, a large 12 wall carved ceremonial ger was built, initially to host the Lotus’ 20th anniversary celebrations, but with the long term view of hosting various events such as yoga retreats, Tsagaan Sar and Naadam celebrations, and possibly special events like weddings. The ger was built on a platform up the back of the Centre and it really does look fantastic. Inside, it looks just as impressive with traditional tables and chairs as well as the beautifully carved wood features.
Landscaping Project Phase 1
When Lotus moved to Gachuurt, the grounds of the orphanage were very bare looking, so Didi has made continuous efforts to make the Centre more attractive. Various groups have came to the Centre to plant trees and, amazingly, we now have almost 500 trees planted, which really is a magnificent effort by all those involved.
The court was made possible thanks to the generosity of two Mongolian companies, NBIK LLC and OchNaran LLC and was completed in the Autumn of 2014. It is of great benefit to the children as there was previously no even ground for the children to play sports on, but we have a great basketball court, which can be used for various activities as well as basketball.
2011 saw the beginning of a very exciting project that still continues to this day. A chef, Paul Wilderbeek, arrived to deliver baking training to some of the children, but at that point, no one knew just how big a contribution Paul was about to make to Lotus. Paul works for Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital and was funded by the Children’s Health and Education Fund to be able to come to Mongolia. Paul’s training initially took place in a small room, then in a garage with low quality equipment, no water and no kitchen.
Paul wanted to do more, and incredibly managed to raise AUS$25,000 at a fundraising dinner. With this money, it was decided to build a bakery at the Centre in Gachuurt with the equipment being sourced from China.
Paul has continued to return, bringing with him a patisserie chef, nutritionist and sous chef on different trips.
To read more about Paul’s amazing story, click here.
Khutul Community Centre
In 2006, Lotus collaborated with the local community to open up a new Cafe and Community Centre, in Khutul. The Centre was focused on providing educational and vocational programs, as well as different social clubs for the community, with a particular focus on young adults and women. Although it being a fantastic project, unfortunately, the Centre is no longer able to run.