Achlal Children's Center Play Space and...
(click to enlarge)
Three little ones relax under the slide.
Design of play and art rooms
Meanwhile, back in the climbing room...
Music corner in play room
Art room contains rolling storage cabinet with folding tables and movable carpeted benches
Enkhbayar and his family in their home
Enkhbayar, Sam and the 14 year old 'security guard' assemble climbing structure
Enkhbayar working in his workshop ger
Teacher and student paint future play room
3 rear old Hongurzul slides for first time. Her enthusiasm for the school inspired the creation of an on-site day care center.

Children who, for various reasons, cannot go to public school in the Ger District of Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, have found an oasis at Achlal, (Monglian for caring kindness). Founded 10 years ago by social worker Azzaya Devadaam in the midst of this chaotic shantytown surrounding the city, the center, with help from small donations from all over the world, has provided basic education, meals and family support for 100 children each year.

During the summer of 2007 Schoolworks helped furnish an empty library building donated by Asian Rotary Clubs - see "News". Parents, teen students, teachers and neighbors provided labor to build library and study areas as well as indoor play, arts and crafts and theater spaces.

After 8 weeks the library and play spaces were completed. Some kids who had been working in the main school cleaning and painting rooms for the start of the school year sneaked in and discovered their new environment. They found the upstairs play room and knew exactly how it worked without directions.

In the meantime, the art room sat empty waiting for the new school year to begin. Because all 3 tables are part of the rolling storage cabinet, the room can easily be emptied for small performances or meetings.

All this was made possible by the humor and patience of Enkhbayar, the carpenter who lived next door, who had to interpret my crude sketches and wild gesturing. Without the benefit of common language, he and I, with help from his sons and students, competed the project just in time for the national festival of Naadum to begin.