x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Call for help to aid Mongolian orphanage

Marjoleine Buker, from the Netherlands, an office manager for an asset management company, dedicates most of her spare time to charity work in the UAE.

Marjoleine Buker, who volunteered at a Mongolian orphanage this summer, is encouraging others to do the same. Antonie Robertson / The National
Marjoleine Buker, who volunteered at a Mongolian orphanage this summer, is encouraging others to do the same. Antonie Robertson / The National

DUBAI // A charity worker who has returned from volunteering at a Mongolian orphanage is urging others to offer their aid to the organisation.

Marjoleine Buker, an asset management company office manager, dedicates most of her spare time to charity work in the UAE.

This summer, she decided to go further afield to work at the Lotus Children’s Centre in the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator.

“Most of my life I have done charitable work, either spending money or giving time. I enjoy organising fund-raising activities,” said Ms Buker, a Netherlands native.

She was drawn to volunteering in Mongolia partly by a wish to explore the country.

“A lot of people from Dubai travel to India, Pakistan and other more geographically close places,” Ms Buker said. “Very few people know about orphans in Mongolia.

“I heard so much about Mongolia’s fascinating history, especially about Genghis Khan, so I thought it would be an interesting experience.”

Her trip from Dubai took almost 24 hours but she said it was worth it.

“It was wonderful to spend time with the children at Lotus. I played games with them, read to them, listened to their stories and held their hands.

“I helped them to learn English. In return I was rewarded with huge smiles and love.”

Ms Buker urged others to do likewise.

“I would love people from the UAE to go there and also provide financial assistance, clothing and other donations,” she said.

“Lotus is always looking for volunteers who are happy to give their time and share their skills.”

The Lotus Children’s Centre was founded in 1995 after Didi Kalika, an Australian yoga teacher, saw the suffering of the many street children outside her Ulan Bator flat.

She started taking them in, providing them with food and shelter, but soon realised that more was needed to help them break out of the cycle of poverty or abuse.

The centre now cares for 150 youngsters aged between 1 and 18.

Ms Kalika also encouraged people from the UAE to help out.

“Lotus would be honoured to welcome both Emiratis and expatriates from the UAE so that they can see the work we do and get involved,” she said.

“We receive no state funding at all and therefore rely exclusively on donations and fund-raising events in both Mongolia and abroad to keep going.”

For more information, visit lotuschild.org.

akhaishgi@thenational.ae