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Frigid winter temperatures may be the last thing on our minds as summer ramps up here in the United States, but now is the time to help World Vision prepare with winter clothing donations that will keep children warm when the mercury plummets again in a few months.
Khanagat and Lyusia worked as shepherds in rural Mongolia, but when extreme weather killed most of their animals in 1997, they moved closer to an urban area, hoping for a better a life.
Seventeen years later, the couple has five children but aren’t much better off, as they had once dreamed. The family lives in a relative’s ramshackle block house in Bayan-Ulgii, a remote province about 930 miles west of Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
The area experiences brutal winters with temperatures often dipping to minus 24 degrees.
“The winter season is really difficult for our family,” says Lyusia, 38. “We have to buy coal and firewood to keep the house warm. We have to buy enough food. Our children often get coughs. Some coldest days, our children don’t go to kindergarten and school.”
The couple also struggles to provide for their children because consistent work is hard to find. Khanagat, 40, sold the rest of the family’s animals two years ago, bought a motorcycle, and now works as a taxi driver. But the job is seasonal, and he can’t find work from November through March, when motorbike taxis don’t have customers. With only an eighth-grade education, his options are limited. Lyusia has only a third-grade education and cares for their children, ages 1 to 14.
The winters are especially harsh for the children, who don’t have enough clothes to keep them warm — especially when they walk to school in the below-freezing temperatures.
Recently, World Vision distributed winter clothes in Mongolia’s coldest provinces, handing out coats, pants, boots, scarves, and hats. Three of the children received clothes in the distribution, and Lyusia felt overjoyed.
“It is a huge help for us, and I want to thank all people [who donated],” she says.
As for her children, they’re happy to have new, warm clothing as well.
“I’m not afraid of cold weather and getting a cough now,” says 14-year-old Jangirkhan, who is sponsored through World Vision. “I have big ambitions to study.”
“These clothes are the best, and I feel comfortable and warm wearing them. The coat is very warm. I walk 20 minutes to the school. I used to be cold. Thank you very much for all these nice clothes. Please help many other children!”