Short visit to Mongolia? I have arranged a series of Mongolia one day tours in and around Ulaanbaatar. This post includes an interview with the founder of the Mongolian Quilting Centre – one of the projects we work that is helping us to provide our Mongolia one day tours.
I am writing this having spend time with Selenge Tserendash – the director of the Mongolian Quilting Centre – I have mentioned the organisation and their work a few times on my blog.
The Mongolian Quilting Centre is known more formally as the New Way Life NGO –
As well as making everyday items such as tote bags and tablecloths, the centre also create individual pieces of fabric artwork made from discarded and recycled material such as their stunning wall hangings.
As part of the Eternal Landscapes Responsible Travel Mongolia philosophy, I ask Mongolia Quilts to make EL tote bags as a welcome gift to our guests. During one of my last pick-ups from the centre, I spent a little time with Selenge asking her about her motivation in setting up Mongolia Quilts.
What was your motivation in setting up Mongolia Quilts?
I am a single mother. But, I worked as a lawyer and also used my education and language skills to work as a tour guide. I was aware that other single mothers didn’t have the security provided by education like I had. They were also in a situation where they couldn’t work because they needed to be at home.
As a Buddhist, I wanted to provide some sort of support and thought of ways to start at income generation project.
Old clothing and material remnants are relatively easy to come by and cheap to purchase here in Mongolia. They are very easy to use to turn into products such as cushions or tablecloths and with embroidery they can be made beautiful and unique. It is something that can be made by an individual person in their home and the only equipment needed is a sewing machine. It also becomes an ecological product – because it is used and then re-used.
Also, embroidery skills are part of the traditional culture of Mongolia.
What are the challenges?
Being based in Ulaanbaatar. It is a challenging city. My dream is to live in the Mongolian countryside. In nature. Also, trying to find a personal regular salary can be difficult. It can be tough.
But, I am wealthier in my friendships with genuine people. My work as the Director of Mongolian Quilts provides me with a balance in life. My work fulfils my happiness.
And back over to EL briefly…
Are you interested in the work of Mongolian Quilts? As part of my series ofMongolia one-day tours, you can spend the day at the Mongolian Quilting Centre and workshop in Ulaanbaatar. You spend the day working alongside some of the women supported by the NGO. It’s an informal insight into the workings of a small NGO as well as a way to meet local people and be part of their ideas and fears. You’ll also come away with a fantastic Mongolian style wall hanging.
‘It was amazing to meet Selenge and all of the women at the quilting centre. It was a really inspiring experience to get to see the wonderful work they are doing and learn all about the projects they are doing! They were incredibly welcoming and it was really great to spend some time there with them.’ Emma
Please do get in touch if interested. Jess @ Eternal Landscapes.