The loss of 400 livestock was a big blow to Battogtokh, but he chose to stay active. Nowadays, he depends on his skill in repairing tires to support his family.
From herder to handyman
“I miss the livestock I used to have.” Battogtokh, 44, is a father of six. He once relied on his animals to earn a living, but a “dzud” destroyed his livelihood and rewrote his life story.
Battogtokh recalls: “I was a nomad with 400 animals including sheep, goats, cows and horses, but I lost them all to the dzud. In 2013, I moved to Baganuur. I had no education and no other life skills. I spent two hard years in a junkyard, where I made a living collecting iron and other metals. After that, I joined my friends in learning to repair tires.”
To increase his income, Battogtokh decided to open his own tire repair shop. With the support of World Vision, he obtained tools and machinery for repairing tires, which helped him grow his business. His wife Ganchimeg also learned about financial management by participating in savings groups and business training, gradually improving the family’s financial situation.
“In the past, the children wore old, tattered clothes. I am very happy that I can now buy new clothes for them. My biggest hope is that they can get a good education,” says Battogtokh.
Battogtokh’s journey from the plains to the city is just the tip of the iceberg. In Mongolia, many families depend on raising livestock. However, climate change in recent years has led to a weather phenomenon called “dzud” – hot and dry summers followed by extremely cold winters. This phenomenon is getting more and more severe and it is happening more frequently, making a big impact on the lives of herders.
The 30-Hour Famine invites you to come see the world of Mongolia’s impoverished families, witness the challenges they face and give them the confidence and courage to Break the Limits!
Battogtokh’s family of eight lives a simple and happy life in a ger (tent) behind the tire repair shop.