The Beginning of a Dream: The Story of Sarnai

Sarnai lives with her family in Shiveegovi soum in Govisumber aimag. Although she used to be shy and reserved, she had a story of personal growth through her participation in a program. Her family move to Shiveegovi soum in the autumn of 2022. Initially, when Sarnai arrived at her new location, she was somewhat reserved. However, when the registration for the program titled “Entrepreneurship-Focused Socio-Emotional Skills for the Most Vulnerable Youth in Rural Mongolia” began, Sarnai’s classmates, recognizing her proficiency in developing project proposals, enthusiastically encouraged her to apply, saying, “You should definitely participate in this program.” Consequently, she registered for the program.

During the first training session, when she was asked to introduce herself, she was initially too shy to speak. However, she formed a team with a boy from her class and two students from different classes. Subsequently, she assumed the role of an operations manager within the team and learned the importance of being responsible, creative, and open in her interactions. Together, their team successfully completed their ESEL program, which not only provided her with the opportunity to explore her own capabilities but also enabled her to connect with others, acquire new knowledge, share her experiences, and work towards realizing her dreams, including starting her own business.

She gained valuable knowledge from the program, including essential skills such as time management, problem-solving, and, perhaps most importantly, teamwork and self-expression. Being a part of this team provided her with memorable experiences where they learned about their individual responsibilities, the importance of active listening, respecting differing opinions, and engaging with others in an enjoyable and productive manner.

In the spring of 2023, an experience exchange event was organized for project teams being executed in Gobisumber aimag, and Sarnai’s team participated in the event. While observing the projects that other children were working on, Sarnai could not help but admire their creativity and the impressive projects they presented. She felt a sense of pride in their achievements by thinking that “What a nice project” and “How they proposed such a good project”. However, in her eyes, her team’s project was equally the best and the most unique.G. Otgonsuren, the team’s teacher and consultant, served as an inspirational figure who led by example and provided valuable guidance to the team, emphasizing the importance of responsibility.

One of her aspirations is to venture into entrepreneurship in the future and achieve the same level of success as accomplished business people. Surprisingly, an opportunity arose to turn this dream into reality when their “Eco School” project was chosen for funding. With their project, the team aimed to transform their school’s classrooms and spaces into vibrant environments while fostering a positive and eco-friendly mindset among the students. They successfully achieved this objective and are now selling the flowers they planted to the soum and local community, nearby businesses, and residents. Their efforts go beyond merely selling flowers; they provide guidance on how to nurture, protect, and propagate the plants, offering individual advice to every customer.

Sarnai advises her younger sibling to show respect to others and maintain positive relationships with his friends. She also imparts the knowledge she gained during her training to her younger sibling, educating her about the value of money and taking things seriously. She emphasizes the significance of continuous learning, exploring new subjects, and overcoming obstacles. In addition, her younger sibling has started learning the art of nurturing and cultivating flowers at home.

Looking back at herself today, Sarnai has grown in confidence, being now sociable and open in her communication with everyone. She’s driven by a strong desire to explore new horizons and acquire knowledge, resulting in numerous friendships. Sarnai is becoming adept at expressing herself effectively and maintains a deep respect for others. Her determination to learn more and continue evolving in the future is unwavering. In line with Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who once expressed, “Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me,” “I believe that each day, I should find satisfaction in what I have achieved and what I possess. I hold a deep sense of gratitude for my successes, valuing them more than my failures”, she said.

The "Eco school" project prepares instructions on how to care, protect and reproduce flowers and gives advice to each client.

The project titled “Entrepreneurship-Focused Socio-Emotional Skills for the Most Vulnerable Youth in Rural Mongolia”, which is being implemented by the Save the Children, continues to offer many children, including those like Sarnai in rural Mongolia, the chance to explore their potential, acquire new knowledge, and pursue their aspirations.