Chairman Haaije Postma, treasurer Thea Bongertman en secretary Astrid van der Looij
Haaije and Astrid lived and worked with their children in Mongolia from 2006 to 2008. Haaije worked as a logistics manager in the capital Ulaanbaatar and in remote areas in the Gobi desert with and for a group of geologists. As a result, he has worked extensively and intensively with many Mongolians. Astrid worked there as an HRM Consultant. As a volunteer she came into contact with the steppe nomads in Sogog and the surrounding area and supported the local population in their development activities. Thea visited Mongolia in 2007 and gained a lot of international (work) experience as a program and project manager for various development organisations.
"What has stuck with me most is that the people, in addition to enormous hospitality, manage to hold their own in exceptional climatic and very difficult circumstances. When we were living in Mongolia, I was able to open the health clinic in Sogog, which was partly the result of through many donations from the Netherlands. I hope that in my role as chairman I can make a positive contribution to improving the living conditions of the disadvantaged population group in Sogog and the surrounding area.”
"In 2007, my husband and I visited Astrid and Haaije in Mongolia. Coming from Mali, where we lived and worked, we saw huge differences (temperature and culture) but also similarities, the enormous adaptability of nomads to survive in extremely difficult conditions. What a beautiful country! With the views over the vast plains and the impressive mountain ranges. But the true beauty of the country resides in the people, who welcomed us hospitably in their wonderfully heated yurt. As treasurer, I want to commit myself to the proper management and spending of donations"
“During the time we lived in Mongolia, I visited Sogog and its surroundings three times and each time I was struck by the hospitality and friendliness of the nomads and herdsmen families. It is also a beautiful area in nature with an enormously rich culture! In September 2016 I had the opportunity to visit the steppe nomads again; it was like coming back to family.”
How it started
The origins of the foundation go back to 2006 when the current directors lived and worked in the capital of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar). Through friends who also lived there, they came into contact with the steppe nomads and herdsmen of the village of Sogog in the far west of the country. These nomads and herdsmen were (and still are) extremely driven to develop their own region and wanted a kindergarten for their young children. There was none, because the Mongolian government mainly invested in other regions. The local population organised itself with an elected board to represent the various interests and needs of the community. Since 2011 this organisation is called NGO Source of Steppe Nomads.
The kindergarten was built and in 2016 we celebrated the 10th anniversary on site! So much more has happened and developed in those ten years, mainly due to the unwavering involvement and financial support of donors in the municipality of Bennekom led by Geert Postma, father of our former and current chairman. He wanted to provide direct support to development initiatives of the local population in the fields of education, agriculture and health. Between 2007 and 2013, more than € 60,000 was donated to the board of Source of Steppe Nomads and a warm relationship has been built with each other. In 2013, the foundation Friends of Steppe Nomads Mongolia was established in the Netherlands and we continue the work based on the same objectives and motivation.