The Rotary Club of Ulaanbaatar Peace Avenue in cooperation with the Mongolian National Association for the Deaf provided extensive sewing training to selected hearing-impaired people between October 15 – December 15, 2014. The project was our club’s very first project. The club awarded District Grant and District 3450 granted USD$3,300 for this project.
In Mongolia, disabled people are being left out of employment opportunities, due to lack of suitable jobs and lack of skills. Therefore, the majority of the disabled people in Mongolia are in or under threat of poverty. Though the Mongolian government is implementing policies to increase employment opportunities for disabled people, there is still a lack of dedicated jobs and training for them. In 2004 35.2% of the total Mongolian population was under the poverty line; only 26.2% of disabled people aged above 15 are employed, however, only less than 10% are paid a minimum national wage. Disabled people are seen in Mongolia as a burden, because they receive pensions and are not able to work, which makes it even more difficult for them to learn new skills and get employed. Therefore, the purpose of the project was to provide dedicated training for hearing-impaired people to improve their lives.
Our club members proposed a number of projects that they were interested in. The project proposed by our charter member Zandan that focused on helping disabled people gain skills to make their lives better received the most support. We established a team for the project and gave it the name “Improving Skills and Improving Lives”.
We partnered with www.bidchadna.mn to provide information on a 2-month certified sewing course for the hearing-impaired people on their website. We contacted those who are interested in taking sewing classes and selected 15 hearing-impaired people. All 15 participants attended theoretical and practical classes on weekdays at the Tumen Buyan garment factory for two months. The Mongolian National Association of Deaf cooperated in connection with a professional interpreter of Morse in addition to supporting smoothness of the whole two-month-long project implementation. Hearing-impaired people were taught how to choose the material, how to prepare accessories, how to take the size of sewing clothes, as well as how to sew cotton lace, work clothes, hats, vests, suits for men and women. The club funded USD6,826 in salaries for sewing trainers and professional translators, transportation, lunch, training materials, certificates, and exam fees. The Ministry of Labor and its vocational training department took an official examination of all 15 participants and issued them with a certificate of completion of the sewing training. Our club members also helped all graduates write CVs to help them find jobs.
After completion of the training, eight graduates were provided with a full-time job at Tumen Buyan sewing factory. A certain percentage of the hearing-impaired community gained necessary skills and now they can earn income through employment and individual orders of sewing especially during peak seasons such as Lunar Calendar New Year and Mongolian Naadam Festival. The families of those 15 hearing-impaired people were also beneficiaries as they are now not depending on a one-time donation, they have lifetime professional skills and certificate to make a living.