Renchinlhumbe School and "Ger Schools"
Boojum Expeditions has a decade long involvement with the people of the Darhad Valley. We recognize that education is key to the economic well being of the residents of the Darhad. Education is also critical in protecting the culture and environment of the Valley. Boojum Expeditions sponsors two projects in regard to education; Ger Schools and Volunteer English Teachers.
Built in the 1970's, the Renchinlhumbe School is a day and boarding school that serves nearly 600 students in the Darhat Valley. The school is located right in the center of the community of Renchinlhumbe, population approximately 2000. Education is key to individual advancement for students from this remote region and is also critical to fostering pride in the region and community stewardship of environmental and cultural values. School infrastructure is decrepit and in constant need of repair; dormitories for boarding students are bleak and in winter cold and dark. Teachers and staff are dedicated and eager for innovative approaches to improving curriculum, materials, infrastructure and to developing a window onto the wider world.
What’s a “ger school”?
A "ger school" goes to where the students live, truly nomadic fashion. For many children and their families in the Darhad Valley, the expense of school and the time away from herding activities means that some children get no education or minimal education. With a ger school, parents from several families in a remote region provide two gers, one for the school and one for the teacher to live in. Using funds donated by Boojum Expeditions and our travelers who have visited the Darhad Valley, teachers are paid a monthly salary and provided basic support in terms of food and transportation.
In addition to providing basic elementary education right where it is needed, the ger schools also allow the school "district" to qualify for more funds from the central government, providing a benefit beyond the individual students and teacher.
We are now negotiating with the Tsataan (Reindeer People) about doing a similar summertime project for their children. It will be more challenging for the teacher and the Tsataan themselves, since it means providing two additional "orts" (tipi-like tents) and moving them and the entire "ort school" when ever they follow their reindeer herds.
For winter, we are exploring the possibility to establish a winter school based at our Jigleg Camp on Lake Khovsgol. Children of families who migrate to the lake shore for the winter would then not have to chose between boarding school in Renchinlhumbe (away from their families) and getting an education.
Ger School Images:
Interested in a truly challenging volunteer English-teaching position?
This is an opportunity not for the faint of heart or cold of hands. The location is Renchinlhumbe county , the northernmost county in Mongolia, in northern Khovsgol and the heart of the Darhat Valley. Go here for a map: http://boojum.com/maps.html
Our company has an ongoing relationship with the 600 student Renchinlhumbe
school, the largest boarding/day school in Mongolia. One of our public
service initiatives is to provide assistance to the school they cannot
otherwise find for themselves. You can learn more about our initiatives
In Fall of 2004 we had our first volunteer teacher, a 68 year old retiree who has traveled with us to Mongolia twice before, although to different regions. Ed spent two months in Renchinlhumbe, living first in our lodge in the downtown and then when the temperature really dipped, with a local family. We are now looking to make this position an annual thing, finding a volunteer English teacher each Fall to assist with English education both at the school during school hours and after hours with interested community members.
Their is no pay involved, but we cover your in-country travel to/from UB and housing in Renchinlhumbe. We will also provide a food stipend and someone to cook and look after you. We anticipate a minimum stint from Sept 1 to Dec 1 (two months). Obviously, if you have teaching experience that is a big plus but just being a native speaker is very useful to the community and the school. If you don't speak any Mongolian or Russian, we will provide a translator to accompany you to Renchinlhumbe and spend the first week or so with you so that you get oriented. Our local partner who lives in Renchinlhumbe was the mayor for two terms and you would operate under his wing and guidance. Our company is well known and respected in the region after our 10 years of work there, so you will be greeted with special warmth and appreciation. You will have the opportunity to travel around the soum with our partner on his veterinary rounds, perhaps to meet the Reindeer people or join a wolf hunt.
Renchinlhumbe is a very isolated community of about 2000 people total, spread out over the soum (county). There is a relatively reliable phone/telegraph, a pretty good hospital by Mongolian standards, adequate but boring food supplies that run heavily to potatoes, flour, meat. Our lodge has solar lighting but the community has only sporadic electricity a few hours a day in the evening.
This is an opportunity that is really only appropriate for someone with
the right attitude and a realistic idea of what is involved.
For further information write to Kent@boojum.com