Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA - Sewing Teacher
Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle in August 2017
Badamkhand is a 46-year-old Mongolian woman. She is a sewing professor for the Mongolian branch of the worldwide Caritas NGO. She teaches sewing to women living in extreme poverty in the slums of Ulaanbaatar. These women were mostly abandoned by their husbands while pregnant. This is a classic phenomenon in poor countries where men do not want to have to take charge of a child. With one child, these women have no time to try to make a living and it is often the entry into the vicious circle of poverty. The Caritas association, welcoming children to a nursery school and offering training to mothers tries to give them a chance to get by.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
My childhood time was during socialism time and I was so happy with my parents so I would love to feel those moments again.
With whom would you like to have a coffee?
Now in Mongolia there is lady called Anujin. I really admire her, the way she works and she does lot of things for women rights. If I had a chance, I would love to meet her and ask how she works. It is connected with my job; I would love to ask some advices about success and how to be proud of ourselves. I want to ask from her to come to our training centre, which is Caritas Mongolia, and talk with us. In our training centre there are many single mothers feeling down because of their lifestyles so I would love to ask her to encourage them and give them some energy.
If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be?
I’m 46 years old. The first thing that comes to my mind is being human, being generous. First thing that I want to teach is to share how to be human and generous. I want to enable other people to become more human.
To you, who is the happiest person on earth?
Kids of course.
If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?
I never thought about it before. Because I'm a Mongolian lady mostly I think about my life and my country. In general I'm reading a lot about successful ladies and thinking about my students who are single moms.
What do you need?
My son is growing up and he's gonna get a wife and what I need is a grandchild I think. I would love to have a granddaughter.
What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?
If I get a 1M dollars, again I'm thinking about my job. I will try to give plenty chances to the women who need support. Recently I faced many difficulties, so I would love to support them. I'm planning to do lots of things to develop them and all my attention goes to them.
Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?
If we think right and are positive, life goes much easier and we are happier. Recently I’ve been trying to be more positive and I feel more happiness in my life.
What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?
I have to think about it. I almost don't watch TV, but recently we had a presidential election and I'm so glad that we chose the right person to do the job. According to me, a President has to have an experience about people’s lifestyle and has to know lots of things. He took many good decisions and he helps our country to develop. I admire him a lot. He supports and manages some contracts for many small products companies like us, for example export sewing products. I'm very happy for that, because it will affect our job and life in a very good way.
Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?
I think I'm living way better than them because science and technology have developed a lot. For example in 1992 I went to Hungary, when I wanted to talk to my parents I had to go to post office and pay a lot for only 3 minutes talking by phone. These days my mom is in France and we are talking everyday, while having lunch or dinner, thanks to technology.
If you had to create a company, what would it be?
Again the answer is connected to my work. I would love to have a sewing company and I'll offer a job for these ladies. I would build a factory which sells our products and at the back we'll be making them. I would make them travel around the world. It's my wish and I'm pushing myself to reach my goal.
Can you draw something beautiful?
Of course the sun. It always gives us a light and every morning we get our energy from sun. I forgot when it was, but last time I saw an eclipse and suddenly it turned dark in the middle of the day. I realized how important the sun is. I am very thankful that we have the sun.
Can you sing something beautiful?
Mongolian people are very close to their parents, especially mom. It's been two years that I haven't meet with mine, even if we talk on Skype everyday, so I miss her a lot. Therefore, I'll sing a song for my mum. I'm so thankful to my parents; they raised me well and healthy. The song name is "Life" and the song is about mother.
What are you afraid of?
I am afraid that people lose their minds. In this society people are getting brutal and doing lots of bad things. When two people are passing next to each other, they are suspicious instead of just smiling. This, to me, is a bit scary these days.
I always tell people to smile because I think when someone is smiling, he never thinks about bad things inside. I also tell them to say “hi” to each other. A long time ago Mongolians were very respectful to each other but nowadays it's changing.
What is your dream?
I have many dreams. When I get older, I would love to travel all over the world. I spent some time abroad when I was young, so I would love to go back to these places and remember those times. It's in my bucket list.
Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?
I’m seeing a beautiful landscape full of flowers and a beautiful nature.
What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?
Of course the moment when I gave birth, it was the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. The times I saw my new-born baby and every time I fed my son, I was feeling so happy.
If you had to write a book about the current world, what would be the title?
It’s easy, the title would be “Love”.
Who is God for you?
I think people have to believe in a God. For me God is all the bright things that we always want to reach and the reason for being human. I believe in God. I pray every morning.
Which of your country’s cultural specificities are you the proudest of?
I’m proud the way we respect our parents, our brothers and sisters. Also I’m proud of our national holiday called Tsagaan sar and our traditions around marriages.
If you could do any job regardless of money, what would you do?
The work that I’m doing now, teaching single moms how to sew, to cook, and help them to appreciate themselves. I help them know how valuable they are. The things we do here is not for money it’s only with our hearts.
If you had to explain our planet to an alien what would you say?
When I was a kid there were lots of movie about aliens...
We couldn’t understand each other with a language, so we would just use some body language to describe things. Then we could understand each other.
And you, which question would you like to ask to the world?
I would ask “ What is love for you?”.