The first Lighthouse of World Vision Mongolia opened on 15th December 1997 in Ulaanbaatar with 20 Children. In the beginning, Peter and Sue Bryan from New Zealand, founders of the centre, had much trouble to find a landlord prepared to allow street children in their building. The Kids called this project Lighthouse, because they lived before in the dark underground and now they have a place to stay, where they get food and have people who love them. It is a "House with Light". Today, there are four Lighthouse Centres, with about 70 children.
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Street children are free to come and go
Lot of children come directly from the street in Ulaanbaatar, picked up by a World Vision social worker, or the children come from the Police's Child address Identification Centre. The Children are free to come and go, when they like. Especially for older children, this is important. Accustomed to the freedom of the streets, it takes the older children some time to get used to living in the centre. The Centre does have rules, which the children have to stick to, but not too many, for example, no violence, drugs, or sexual activity. Children are expected to share chores and be considerate with others. A staff member of world vision is on-site 24 hours a day.
The staff members include a teacher, a social worker and up to six house teachers. As part of life skills training, children wash their own clothes, clean up and cook for themselves.
Education for street children
Many of the children didn't spend much time in school, therefore World Vision run a basic education programme at the centre. The first hour of every morning is for children who can't read or write, and the second hour is for those who can. A Lot of children can be coached, so that they can go back to the local state school. Often the children are orphans, or their family may be simply too poor to care for them. Younger children can sometimes find a foster family. For older teenagers, the best option is to get a job.