While family bonds are traditionally very close in Mongolia, good neighbourly relations are rather an exception in the land of nomads. Nevertheless, sixty-year-old Dariimaa Jamba has succeeded in mobilising her community and joining together in tackling the problems in the socially weak yurt quarter. A GIZ development worker offers advice to 25 self-help projects of the community on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
My retirement was a turning point. After 31 years working as a chemistry and biology teacher I found life without a job unfulfilling. I am a mother of five children. My daughters and my son are grown up now. I told myself: life is not over at 60. So I became involved in social activities.
I had never heard of community development before such work started in my area. We assembled some people and held meetings. To us it was important to improve our living conditions first, so we began by building toilets and gardening our yards. It was a first step. We finished quickly because many households worked together, not everyone on their own. So we decided to form a community and continue what we started.
There are many poor people around here and a lot of problems to solve: the waste on the ground, the lack of street lighting, and the living conditions of the elderly, to name a few. Many residents are isolated. I try to activate them, involve them in the community work and connect them with each other. I hope that they become able to improve their lives with their own power and skills.
When people work together to change things, funding is the most difficult part – for an office where we can work, training that raises understanding, and diverse material you need to provide financing. Another challenge is to obtain everybody’s support. Some don’t trust you or simply don’t want your help.
I like to do something good for the people and I have got many ideas. When someone smiles, I am inspired. That gives me strength. It is my salary to be a happy person and my work gives me a lot of energy – every day.