On October 22, Lazzet Faazal, our Community Hero in Sükhbaatar, together with the 12 committed and dedicated candidates from the 6th Capability Program, celebrated the opening of the Sibirian Education Center in northern Mongolia. It was a proud moment that was the culmination of many hours of hard work over the past six months. The team from Europe was excited and pleased to be present at the event and to see the results of all of their efforts.
The team started working together back in April of this year when they met for the first time. It was the most diverse team ever gathered in a BOOKBRIDGE leadership program with a wide spectrum of ages, backgrounds, experiences and nationalities. While this diversity caused many challenges for the team in the initial phases of the project, it proved to be one of the team’s greatest strengths in the end.
After an intensive co-creation phase and development of a business plan with the support of leadership and business coaches, the team successfully pitched to investor Swiss Diamond Club in June securing the start up capital required to get the learning center off the ground. Working virtually with Lazzet, they made the initial preparations for the opening and start up of the learning center. The team arrived in Mongolia last week and after spending some time sightseeing in Ulanbataar, travelled to Sükhbaatar in Selenge Province to finalize the plans for the opening ceremony and implement the business plan.
The opening of the learning center was overseen by representatives from the local office of education and the head of the library in which it is housed. Performances by local dancers and singers charmed the gathered crowds, although the show was stolen by the miniature dancers from a local kindergarten who warmed the hearts of all those gathered in the cool afternoon.
The Sibirian Education Center will soon offer courses in English for children and in IT for adults. Plans are also underway to offer higher-level courses to local business people with supplementary conversation practice offered through virtual technology and potentially by CAP candidates themselves. Peace Corps volunteers have already started using the center for their informal English club and there are now thousands of English resources in Sukhbaatar for the community.