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Serving the country from BYUH By Serena Dugar Ioane

Students who helped their communities while studying, share how they served their people from a far.

Interviewees, from the top right, Ganchudur Batgerel, Carolina Brestain, Nasanbold Sukhbaatar, Tsetsgee Enkhbold, and Bayartsetseg Ganbaatar

Students from Mongolia and Mexico noted how they helped people in need through various fundraising and business projects. Bayartsetseg Ganbaatar, Carolina Beristain, Tsetsgee Enkhbold, Nasanbold Sukhbaatar and Ganchudur Batgerel shared their experiences of how they raised funds to help women and children in their countries.

Caring the homeless

Bayartsetseg Ganbaatar, a sophomore from Mongolia majoring in finance, raised funds to help an old lady to have a new house. Ganbaatar said Facebook suggests people do fundraising on their birthdays, so she wanted to help someone in Mongolia on her birthday.

Ganbaatar searched for someone who needed help and contacted Tuvshinjargal Gombo, a director of the Service Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mongolia, she said.

Gombo connected Ganbaatar to Tamara Tsedenbaljir, an old lady who shelters homeless people every winter. Ganbaatar explained, recently, Tsedenbaljir lost her house because of strong winds.

Caption: Tsedenbaljir's new house

Photo by Bekhtuvshin Sanjaa

Ganbaatar said traditional Mongolian roundhouses cost around $1000, so her goal was to raise at least $980 through Facebook. She raised $1200 within four days, so she could buy a bigger house than she planned. Ganbaatar shared, “Tamara was very happy to have a new and bigger house.”

Ganbaatar shared that many people helped her do this project, including generous donors and her friends who purchased the house for Tsedenbaljir. “Seeing people happy was such a pleasure to me, so I plan to do other projects in the future.

“To be able to help more people, I have to be more educated and self-reliant. It motivated me to be more diligent in my studies.”

Caption: Tamara Tsedenbaljir is recieving her new house. Photo provided by Bayartsetseg Ganbaatar

Supporting local women

Carolina Beristain, a senior from Mexico majoring in supply chain operations, helped underprivileged Mexican women have employment opportunities through her hand-embroidered, Mexican-style dress business.

Beristain shared ever since she was young, she loved fashion designing. Also, she knew many women who were talented at making traditional Mexican costumes who were living in humble situations.

“Traditional Mexican costumes are very fancy and cannot be worn on a daily basis, so they cannot provide enough employment opportunity. My idea was to create a new design that reflects the traditional designs but more comfortable to wear daily,” Beristain explained.

Photo by Uriel Cruz Acosta

She raised funds through dress sales and participated in BYU–Hawaii business competitions. Beristain won second place in both “Great Ideas” and “Empower Your Dreams” in 2018.

With the money she won from the competitions, she expanded production and worked with a sewing company to produce over 300 dresses and sent them to Mexico to the embroiderers for handmade embroidering, Beristain shared.

An earthquake hit the area where the embroiderers lived, and they lost their homes. With the employment opportunity Beristain provided for them, they could rebuild their homes, Beristain explained. She helped raise $4,000 for 30 women.

Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos

Beristain is continuing her business and said talents from the Willes Center and her friends from around the world help her empower Mexican women.

“I didn’t want just to give away money, but I wanted to provide an opportunity for them to be self-reliant through their talents and skills,” Beristain commented.

Caring children

Photo by Enkhbold Damdinjav

Tsetsgee Enkhbold, a sophomore from Mongolia double majoring in human resources and psychology, helped Mongolian children have warm winter clothes. She said her family started the “I love Mongolia” charity project and raised funds through online fundraising and family business.

Enkhbold’s family owns a business called “Oyo Tie” that provides employment opportunities for women in underprivileged communities in Mongolia and represents Mongolia through high-quality, handmade neckties. Their business won second place in the “Empower Your Dreams” competition in 2019 and donates 30 percent of their yearly income to the “I love Mongolia” project, according to Enkhbold.

Photo provided by Tsetsgee Enkhbold

Enkhbold shared her mother’s hometown, Tumentsogt, Sukhbaatar was damaged by fire a few years ago, and since the town is located on the far east side of the country, not many charity projects reach there. Some of the town children lacked warm clothes and could not go to school due to extreme cold in winter.

The Enkhbold’s family helped 20 children, including a few orphans. Enkhbold said they contacted the town’s school and kindergarten supervisors and found the children who needed the most help and bought full winter clothes set for them.

“I have learned that there are many generous people who have big hearts for total strangers. I felt that the help reached the children who exactly needed it, and I am very happy about it.”

Nasanbold Sukhbaatar, a recent BYUH alumnus from Mongolia, raised over $3,000 by fixing around 50 bikes and receiving donations from running a Honolulu marathon in 2019.

Photo by Ganbold Namsrai

Caption: Children who received new winter clothes

With the money he raised, he helped over 300 children in four different Mongolia areas have new warm winter clothes. Sukhbaatar said, “Mongolian winters are very cold and harsh. When I was young, I used to get cold a lot during winter because I did not have enough warm clothes every winter. So, I wanted to help children as much as I could.”

Sukhbaatar was an employee at BYUH Sustainability Center, where he learned to fix bikes and utilized his skills to raise a fund to help children. Sukhbaatar said his friends in Mongolia helped him to find children in need. Then, they purchased and delivered the clothes to them.

Photos provided by Nasanbold Sukhbaatar

COVID-19 inspired charity project

Ganchudur Batgerel, a senior from Mongolia majoring in supply chain operations, raised funds by sewing face masks and helped a family in financial need. She sold her handmade masks for five dollars each and raised $220, Batgerel said.

“I helped a first family that needs help. A father of the family got into a car accident, and his brain was injured, so he could not work anymore.

Photo by Onon Dalaikhuu

Their children needed some school supplies,” Batgerel added, “I donated my first fund $220 to the family. A mother of the family was so happy with my small service. It means a lot to me. I love to serve others because it makes me happy more than anything.”

Batgerel shared she just received her next big order. A lady ordered 125 masks for IWORK donors as a Christmas gift, she said. “That order is so special to me because I felt that God is helping me with this project during this hard time. I hope I can help more families through this small project.”

Photo by Onon Dalaikhuu