The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

“Please, buy some gum sir! Miss, do you have some spare change for me?”

These are common enquiries by little boys and girls in the streets of Ulaanbaatar.

Usually, these children are encouraged by their parents to go out to beg, as people have more empathy towards children than adults.

According to a study by World Bank, about one in three people are unemployed in Mongolia (World Bank, 2012). This number fluctuates greatly due to constant economic instability.

To empower communities and improve the livelihood of children, World Vision works towards economic resilience of communities through increased income generation opportunities. 


Myagmar Yanjmaa is one astounding example. She’s the founder of a sewing and training group that was established in 2011 under World Vision Mongolia’s Economic Project.

 It evolved from a group of three people family-owned business to a big company.

 With two other groups, they created a “Value-added product manufacturers association,” employing 903 members.

 The “Value-added product manufacturers association” consists of family businesses, micro business owners, groups, and sister companies. 


Prior to 2011, Yanjmaa had moved to the city from the countryside with her family.

In order to make a living, she worked from dawn until sunset in a rented cellar room in a building with two other people and tailored clothes for customers.

“I had to leave my children at home,” recalls Yanjmaa. 

When she attended the “How to start-up a business” training by World Vision in 2011, she realized that she was not making any profits from her business. 

“That training was an eye-opener for me. I realized we could not keep going like we were, because we were unprofitable,” she says. “That is when we established New Zagal group, and applied the lessons we learned from the training into our business.”


The initial group consisted of five members, and during a Tailoring Exhibition, they decided to add a sister group with five additional members.

“When you have a small group, you usually do not have any of your products and designs to display. Thus, we realized that business was better with more people,” mentions Mrs. Yanjmaa. 

Things started to take off. The group started getting more orders and more people joined the group.

Yanjmaa says, “As your business starts doing better, you start paying more attention to your family, and also you start thinking differently. I started sending my children to kindergarten, school, trainings and club activities. Also, from the exhibitions, I realized some of our skills were lacking and I decided to get a certificate to teach about sewing technology so other people could make better products.”


With every step forward, her goals become grander.

“With World Vision trainings, I am where I am today. So, I wanted to help others establish their businesses,” states Yanjmaa.

Now, more than 100 people have enrolled and graduated from Yanjmaa’s sewing technology classes.

She proudly declares, “After graduating from my courses, I try to guide them to establish successful businesses by connecting them to potential partners and customers. They create groups consisting of five to seven people, and are within the umbrella of our Association. Now, we have 903 members at our Association, where the Association includes 10 groups, 10 companies and over 700 family-owned businesses.”

Written by Uelun Tuvshinjargal / World Vision Mongolia