Alternatives to Black Friday – Mongolia
Black Friday is synonymous with consumerism and excess. Yes, there is nothing wrong with making a profit responsibly but there is still an option to help make a statement against what Black Friday has come to represent. Even as a business, Black Friday doesn’t have to be about money, sales and the bottom line. So here are a few alternatives to Black Friday – how you can mark the day by doing something different. Using Mongolia for inspiration.
If you feel the urge to go online then support local – Made In Mongolia
Asral is a Mongolian based Buddhist NGO – founded by High Tibetan Lama, Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche. The core aim of Asral is to help keep Mongolian families under stress together thereby helping to prevent children from ending up on the street – whether that be they are running away from their home life or they have no home. Asral’s multi-purpose centre, located in the Bayangol ger district of Ulaanbaatar, houses many of Asral’s social initiatives, training projects and community activities.
This includes the base for Made in Mongolia (MIM)
– an Asral initiative established to create employment for the women and to provide wider support for their communities. Women are trained by the MIM Project in sewing, embroidery and felt making in Ulaanbaatar and Underschil in the Gobi Desert. In the Asral Centre in the Bayangol district, there is a designated space to house the felt making and sewing project and products include slippers, cushions, tablet or laptop holders and fabric toys.
Read A Book – Make that mug of tea or coffee and sit down with a good book instead
The Association Goviin Khulan is a Mongolian NGO focusing on the protection and conservation of the Mongolian Wild Ass – the Khulan (Equus hemionus hemionus). It is one of the five recognised sub-species of the Asiatic Wild Ass and represents the largest population of this species in the world. As a result, Mongolia is a significant place for the conservation of this species.
The NGO also understands that the long-term success of a conservation project of an endangered species requires educating the local population. As part of their educational programme, the Association Goviin Khulan have written and published a conservation-based book The Lost Khulan of The Gobi with illustrations by a Mongolian artist Zolboo O. The funds of this book go back into conservation education carried out by the organisation in Mongolia.
It is a truly beautiful book.
If you feel the urge to do some retail therapy then shop ethical instead – Mongolian Quilting Centre
The Mongolian Quilting Centre is known more formally as the New Way Life NGO – established in 2005 to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged and unemployed women. They are trained in the art of quilting, textiles and embroidery and use their skills to generate income for their families by crafting products to sell. Not only do the women of NWL make everyday items such as tote bags and tablecloths but also individual pieces of fabric artwork made from discarded and recycled material such as their stunning quilts.
They don’t currently have an on-line shop but head to their Quilting Shop on Seoul Street. Alternatively, get in touch with Tserendash Selenge the Director.
Put your wallet away and give your time
If you have time on your hands then offer support at a local project. And once again I’ll bring up the Nogoon Nuur Community Space in Ulaanbaatar. As I always say, I love this place immensely. There are few safe community spaces within the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar – especially community spaces where children can play. But, Nogoon Nuur (Green Lake) is bucking this trend.
The whole vision is made possible by a committed individual, Ulzii. Ulzii has been committed to renovating this public space since 2012 and over this time has planted over 500 trees and focused on creating a healthy, green, public space for Mongolian people, especially children in the ger area.
As well as making financial and equipment donations, we also like to donate with our time. So, when the cry went out for help, we answered and went along to help plant more trees and with landscaping and the building of a composting system. I arranged for my female trip assistants that were available to go along and help provide some (female) manpower.
Go online to learn more about culture … or the local cuisine … or the local language.
Search out online lessons or courses in whatever you want to learn – whether that be about culture, the cuisine or the local language. As an example, we offer both an online Mongolian cookery lesson and a language lesson. As well as the online lesson, you’ll receive a PDF guide with ‘how-to’ links and guidance https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/eternal-landscapes-mongolia-egift-cards/
To learn more about how we work with the individual projects listed here, go to the Responsible Tourism page on our website. For now though, go out and find an alternative to the excess of Black Friday – whether that be in Mongolia or not.