Phoenixes of Most soum assist students to spend their free time productively

Since 2021, grant competitions for small scale projects in the target soums of 5 provinces were organized within the “Entrepreneurship-focused socio-emotional skills for the most vulnerable youth in rural Mongolia” project to support children and youth with entrepreneurial minds to create positive changes in their communities. Participants in the grant competition are children and youth who completed the ESEL training program. To date, 135 teams have received funding grants from the competition and are already carrying out their projects. Below is an interview with members of the “Phoenix” team from Most soum in Khovd province, which is working on the “Rolly Polly” project, awarded within the “Entrepreneur Seeds” grant competition, held in March 2022.  

Introduction to the Rolly Polly project 


The main goal of the “Rolly Polly” project, carried out by the “Phoenix” team with the support of their teacher/counselor D.Amartuvshin, is to create a positive impact on the health of students based on their interests and hobbies. By renting roller skates and scooters in the warm season, and skates and sleds in the winter, this project provides the children of Most soum the opportunity to have a healthy and active play environment. 

With the first 65 percent of the funding, the project team purchased scooters and roller skates and launched their operations with an official opening at the central square of the soum. The team treated more than 70 children on this day, earning MNT 95,000.

How did the concept for the project come? 

T.Bayartsetseg, communication manager: We discussed our ESEL training manuals and brainstormed project ideas in a group. The idea of a renting service caught our eye as we were looking through the “Manual for grant applicants of small scale project,” so we decided to take this concept and discussed what may be rented to children and what they might be interested in.

O.Khaliun, operations manager: At first, we were discussing renting skates and sleds on the river ice of the Most soum. However, it could only work in winter and not in other times. After another team meeting, we came up with the idea that we can rent roller skates and scooters during the warm season.

D.Sarangua, communication manager: We surveyed 150 students to see how potential customers would be interested in this rental service, and 94% of them responded that they would use it. Additionally, the idea of renting bicycles and hoverboards were suggested. Many children wanted to play, but 5-6 scooters and rollers that we have are not enough, and our central square is too small.

Children learn to ride roller skates very quickly 

E.Batsuld, material resources manager: Children who have never ridden before can learn to ride a roller skate quickly by playing for one and half hour. Those who have their roller skates bring them along and play with other children. Playing together appears to be a lot of fun. I created a lockable box out of three metal bags that I welded together with my father and brother to store our roller skates and scooters. We also constructed a shed to protect them from the rain.

O.Khaliun, operations manager: our teachers encourage us by saying: “It’s fantastic that you have started your project. Some of our students reported having a great time playing at your place. They wish to play again.” 

L.Bishrel, human resources manager: My classmates have expressed enthusiasm for our project and have promised to join us to play games as a way of showing their support. They were excited about our project, and they promised to come to demonstrate their support. Also, our parents greatly encourage us and motivate us by saying things like, “You all are very good! Great job! We are proud of how you are developing yourself and introducing new ideas. The small project you develop and the grant award you received prove your future potentials.”

How is the team working? 

In our team meeting, we identified all the activities to be accomplished and the duties of each team member. Then we discussed who is available and interested in the activities we specified. 

L.Bishrel is in charge of making sure that each customer wears protective gears and T.Bayartsetseg is responsible to make a note of the start and end of the rental time and reminding the customers on timing. D.Sarangua’s responsibility is to collect the service fee and issue tickets to customers. O.Khaliun is in charge of teaching and guiding customers who have no prior experience to ride a roller skate, while E.Batsuld and G.Bilguun take charge of inspecting their items to make sure they are intact and useable and repairing them if any damage occurs. Everyone helps customers when they have free time because there is a high demand to assist customers to learn to ride roller skates.

Do you notice that you are changing? 

L.Bishrel, human resources manager: I used to be silent and rarely engaged with other students. But now that I am constantly working with others, my communication and presentation skills are getting better. 

T.Bayartsetseg, communication manager: Because I am in charge of the finances, I become more responsible. 

O.Khaliun, operations manager: I didn’t have skills to work in a team because I used to work alone and was obstinate about others’ opinions. I have now developed teamwork skills. I think other students at my school didn’t know me at all, but now all the students seem to recognize me, saying, “Oh, you are that girl”. 

D.Sarangua, communication manager: I used to have a bad temper so children often got hurt by my words. I can now explain myself correctly and have begun to engage in open communication with others.

E.Batsuld, manager of material resources: I believe that my capacity to communicate and express myself is improved because I talk to my friends every day about our planned activities.

The Phoenix team accumulates funds to invest in their next project

We are receiving inquiries from other student teams that will participate and present their projects at the Pitch Day Event. They ask many questions, including how we came up with our mini-project, how to write it, how to present it in front of an audience, etc. We are happy to give advice and help others while we grow and learn many things. We intend to save money to purchase new skateboards and increase the number of roller skates and scooters. After performing this task successfully, we will use the money we save from the rental services to purchase sleds and skates for winter use. So, we will open a joint bank account and accumulate the income.

"If this project hadn't been implemented in our soum, or if we hadn't taken part in it, we would be just staring our phones at home" – The Phoenix team -