If you are in Ulaanbaatar on June 1 and wonder why there is a descent of children into the main city centre … welcome to the celebration of Mother and Children’s Day – Mongolian style.
June 1st is also known as International Day For Child Protection. In Mongolia, it is referred to as both Children’s Day and Mother and Children’s Day, although, in honesty, the celebrations focus much more on the children than any mums.
It is a public holiday and is celebrated throughout the country. In fact, it is a date that has been celebrated in Mongolia for over 60 years.
Although the population of Mongolia is small (3.2 million), it is a young population. According to the 2010 Census, nearly 28% of the country are between 0-14 years of age. Also, of the almost 1.4 million people that live in Ulaanbaatar, over 30% are children.
The first-ever child organisation and movement in Mongolia was established on May 5, 1925, at the initiation of the Mongolian writer D.Natsagdorj and youth of that time.
Mongolia joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 as the fifth member and developed the Law on Protecting Children’s Rights according to the convention’s views. The law was ratified on May 8, 1996.
In 2014, the free Child Helpline 108 was initiated by Mongolia’s National Authority for Children, World Vision Mongolia, and Mobicom Corporation The focus is help to reduce child abuse cases and strengthen the child protection system in Mongolia. It provides children with information, advice and assistance and children can call 108 from anywhere, anytime, toll-free to seek advice, report abuse, domestic violence or peer pressure.
And in 2016, the Parliament of Mongolia passed Mongolia’s first-ever Law on Child Protection making a significant step towards fulfilling every child’s right to protection and with the overall aim to strengthen comprehensive child protection systems to respond to risks and vulnerabilities of children to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
It was a tussle whether to post an image with this blog post. Because as part of our Sustainable Tourism Strategy, we are starting to work with the Child Safe Movement to develop practical guidelines to make sure that our trips our child safe. Children are not tourist attractions and we have a responsibility towards children; especially in keeping them safe. This includes not arranging school or orphanage visits apart from for those who are qualified educators. it involves putting children first and treating them as you would your own.⠀
As an example, on our free city walking tour of Ulaanbaatar we take our guests to the Nogoon Nuur Community Project located in the ger districts. We take our guests to see the work of Mongolian philanthropist Ulzii. However, local children utilise the project and we want to make sure our visit is a positive benefit to Nogoon Nuur but at the same time that we are not endangering children that visit the project. As mentioned, we need to develop practical guidelines ensuring that child welfare, protection and the best interests of children will be reflected throughout our experiences and we are looking to work with the Child Safe Movement to do this.