Sep 23, 2013

A Soup Kitchen To Feed The Homeless

The spring and the summer has been a very busy period of fixing all external fixtures of windows, walls, gates and the face lift of painting these areas as well to further preserve them. The extreme winters of Mongolia, with Ulaanbaatar earmarked as one of the coldest city of this world is very hard on any property.

Before we can take a break from these activities, the season is upon us to make the yearly preparations of the heating system for this winter. It is my hope and prayer that it will not be as extreme as the last one, which many of us have come to identiy as one of the coldest winters.

The central heating system of the city of Ulaanbaatar is already on but our soup kitchen located on the outskirts of the city and in the much poorer districts, lacks the access to the central heating system. We have to make provisions for our own heating and so we are abiding a time for it to get colder before we incur the costs of heating.

The spring time labour of planting our own vegetable garden with some of the more expensive varieties of vegetables has saved us from purchasing a huge amount of vegetables and also to relish in the taste of a variety of vegetables that are usually beyond our budget. The planting of the traditional medicinal tree of Sea Buckthorn on the property has been a source of great satisfaction and pride. It will be a few years before we get to pick any berries because of the very short growing season that prevails Mongolia.

By the end of August, 2013 we have served over 12,250 hot meals. The meals served during the spring and the summer have been all vegetarian, except on those occassions when people have donated meat specially for the soup kitchen.

The month of August 2013 also oversaw a huge preventive medical check-up for the homeless beneficiaries of the Soup Kitchen. This was done by the Enerel Hospital.

  • 33 of these people underwent biochemical test for liver function and joint ailment diagnostics.
  • Finger stick blood testing was performed and
  • Ultra-sound scan of internal organs and women's reproductive organs was done on 26 people.

The check-up revealed the following:

  • Chronic kidney conditions found in 20 persons
  • Cardiovascular conditions in 24 persons
  • Digestive tract conditions in 33 persons
  • Psychiatric or nervous system conditions in 25 persons
  • Joints ailments in 10 persons
  • Eye diseases in 2 persons
  • STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in 9 persons
  • Systemic disorders of 2 and more organs in 23 persons

Of these people 15 were prescribed hospitalization, 9 of them have been hospitalized, 6 are waiting due to Enerel Hospital's carrying capacity.

In the month of August the Soup Kitchen was blessed by the visit of Lama Zopa Rinpoche who is not only our major donar but also instrumental for the inception and inspiration of the soup kitchen in Mongolia. Rinpoche has left us with instructions for further improvements in the way we do things at the soup kitchen, which we hope to implement in the near future.

Jul 8, 2013

Meeting with Alex Zahnd

Friends of Humanity (FOH) met (via skype) with Alex Zahnd, director of RIDS-Nepal in order to follow the implementation of the project.

We are pleased to share with you the content of the interview.

FOH: How many Family of 4 Projects do you currently have up and running?

Alex: I have been in Nepal for 28 years, my goal is to participate in the development of the poorest of the poor…the people of Nepal have seen many ‘white elephant’ projects, they’re finished reports are written pictures of smiling faces but by two years later there isn’t development…Rural Integrated Development Services began in 2005 (2002 in Nepal, different calander)…approaches are skewed towards immediate impact—short term, their approach is long term, holistic issues and needs to be met

Alex: Current villages we are working in are 17 days by foot or a one hour flight then 1-2 days walk…Nepal Gange (google earth video should be up and running in the next few days)

Implementation of Family of Four

-Pit latrine, always the first element of the family of four, is about 200 CHF including transport, cement and installation (per home)

-Smokeless metal stove is roughly 200 CHF (per home)

-Solar home system 450 CHF (solar photovoltaic and LED lights) (per home)

-Drinking water system depends very much on village size, water spring source, how high the source is above the village

-Selects two members of the community to become experts on the projects so they know what to do if something goes wrong in the future…entire community is encouraged to participate as much as possible, required to do much of the manual labor

Latest Projects

2011 planned Araporie Village 60,000 CHF for 15 homes covers air transport and installation

Average cost of water systems is anywhere between 900 CHF-13,000 CHF per household


Final Thoughts

RIDS really needs funds for follow up projects, has donors pretty much set for 2011…has no partners for 2012 onward, really looking for committed 5 year partners.

May 24, 2013

Feed 80 Homeless People in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia

Most kind donors to the Soup Kitchen feeding the Homeless in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.

Today's report has been prepared by an American student  from SIT (School for International Training) who has been volunteering at the Lamp of the Path for the last two weeks.

I am a volunteer for the Lamp of the Path, and have been able to see many of the positive changes that are occurring because of this organization’s place within the community.

The day at the Lamp of the Path starts with English lessons for children from the community. These lessons, for children whose parents cannot afford to pay for classes, teach children basic English vocabulary and grammar. Every class builds a bit upon the last one, so that the children may come out with a greater understanding of English. These classes are a part of the Children’s Development Project which brings classes and activities to local kids. In addition, the teacher for these classes also visits a close by children’s home where she works with kids who can no longer live with their families. In the afternoons, high schoolers come in for review English classes, taught by a native English speaker, these classes offer these older kids an opportunity to try out their skills and expand their vocabulary.

Between these lessons, the soup kitchen opens to the community. The kitchen serves many local homeless and community members who have fallen under hard times, serving as a large source of nourishment. Men, women, and children all come in when the doors open at two o’clock for some soup and a large piece of bread, some milk tea finishes the meal. This meal also serves to foster a sense of community among the people to which it is served. After the patrons have finished eating, they are free to visit the free clinic. Staffed by an amazing doctor, she quickly aids the patrons, sending them on their way in better health than before. Having healthcare and nourishment will hopefully help to empower the patrons, and help to give them a sense of agency.

In the future, the Lamp of the Path hopes to also build a battered women’s shelter somewhere in Ulaanbaatar. Along with their other services this would further increase the amount of empowerment the nuns and staff of the NGO are trying to return to the community. The work done here, from an outsider’s perspective, is amazing and should be continued on into the future.

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