Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FAQ: Sending Nyamtaivan to the States

RELATED ARTICLE: End of May Update

Who is Nyamtaivan?
Nyamtaivan (pr. Nyim-ta-vin) means "Sunday's Calm." Nyam comes from the Tibetan for Sunday, and taivan means calm.

She is 16 years old with a bright affect, hard-working attitude, and is very mature with a sense of wide-eyed optimism. For the past 4 years, she's received perfect 100% grades in nearly every single class, and she has been the top student at her school since 2007.

Not only does she excel at academics, she's also somewhat of a track and field star and enjoys spending time with her many friends. She's a student leader and a glowing an example of politeness, respect and empathy. To know her is to like her.

Since we began our fund raising efforts, her placement agency New Voice has also taken a shine to her. She's been profiled in the Mongolian newspaper "Unuudur" (Today), and the Mongolian Education Channel has begun a 4-part story on her.

Leslie and Nathan pose in the Bayankhongor American Culture Center
with the province's head methodologist [left], Nyamtaivan's mom [center] and Nyamtaivan.

Why Nyamtaivan?
Nyamtaivan came to Nathan in March 2010 and said she wanted to study abroad, but she didn't have any way to pay for it. She explained that the education system in Mongolia is too limited for her, and if she could study abroad it would help her achieve her goal of being a lawyer and interpreter, so she can put her skills to use changing the Mongolia education system.

We want to help for many reasons.
  1. Motivated, hardest working person we know
  2. Wants to be part of education change in Mongolia
  3. Networking in Mongolia and USA
  4. Comes from a poor family, fewer opportunities
  5. Mom is a single parent
  6. Adult sister has a disability
  1. Nyamtaivan has stood out to the Peace Corps volunteers because of her inquisitive nature, her ability to speak English as well or better than most teachers, and her drive to make a difference. We want to help her study in the states because we know she will do great things for herself, her family, and her country if given the opportunity.

  2. Among the motivators she explained to us is that she wants to be a part of education change in Mongolia. She wants to raise the standards and practices of education for the next generation. To do this, she needs to know how other systems work.

  3. Corruption and nepotism rule the workforce, so we want to give her the ability to work around and through the system by getting a good education, becoming connected with more Americans, and becoming connected with the affluent Mongolians who have studied abroad.

  4. Study abroad programs are only available to rich kids in the capital. She comes from an extremely poor rural family, and the reality here is that hard work is usually not enough. There are no scholarships for people like her to study abroad.

  5. Her mom is a 48 year-old single parent who works as a janitor in a retail section of the market.

  6. Nyamtaivan also has a 25 year-old sister with a mental disability that prevents her from working, so Nyamtaivan helps look after her when she's not at school or studying with friends.
We can't do all the work for her, but we can give her a start.

How will money be raised?
Among the 7 of us Peace Corps volunteers in Bayankhongor, we will each raise $1,143. Divided in this way, our minimum goal of $8,000 can be achieved with a little hard work and from the generosity of friends and family who also want to turn the opportunity into a reality for Nyamtaivan.

Who is in charge of the money?
Leslie and Nathan Chamberlain are in charge of holding and dispersing the money from the Paypal account linked to StudenttotheStates@yahoo.com. They will pay the placement agency New Voice.

What will the money go toward?
The money we raise will be used for her airfare, tuition, visa and placement costs through the agency.

Tuition: $5-6,000 (we'll know exactly how much when she's placed)
Airfare: $1,300 (approximately)
Placement cost: $1,200 ($600 already paid)
Required spending money: $1-2,500 (100-250 for each of the 10 months in USA)
Visa: $131 (Nyamtaivan's mom will pay as her contribution)

What is New Voice?
New Voice is a placement agency that sends over 200 students abroad every year who are required to have a minimal English fluency and be able to pay the fees. They also place university students. To read all about New Voice, you can go to their Web site.

This one of the only possible placement agencies for a child with a rural upbringing. All other placement agencies we saw were only for kids in the capital. Few programs even work with Mongolia. For example, there is to AFS that placed Europeans in our high schools when we were growing up.

What is Paypal?
Paypal is an online merchant service owned by Ebay that can also be used for donations and paying back friends. All you have to do is create a username and password, plug in the numbers of the credit card you want use, and then make the donation. The money will come from your credit card through Paypal, unless your Paypal account already has money in it.

If you already have money in your Paypal account, there are no transaction fees. However, it does charge 2.9% for each credit card transaction for the incredible convenience.

Click here to donate now!

What if I don't want to use a credit card to make a donation?
You can send a check to Leslie and Nathan. Please email nathan_chamberlain@yahoo.com for details.

What do I get if I donate?
Besides the satisfaction of helping a special kid achieve her dreams, we want you to get a little something too, so here are the suggested giving levels.

Help send Nyamtaivan to the States by giving:


Added to Nyamtaivan’s email update list*


Get a personal email and picture from Nyamtaivan


Get a postcard from Nyamtaivan

$108 (1 month’s salary)

Hand-painted Mongolian card

$216 (2 months’ salary)

Hand-painted Mongolian card & 1 felt handicrafts

$324 (3 months’ salary)

Hand-painted Mongolian card & 2 felt handicrafts

$432 (4 months’ salary)

Hand-painted Mongolian card & 3 felt handicrafts

$540 (5 months’ salary)

Hand-painted Mongolian card & 4 felt handicrafts

$1,300 (Est. airfare)

Tax incentives (negotiable)

*All donors will be added to her email

Although the items we ship to you are valuable for many reasons, they do not cost much.

What is the deadline for the fund raising?
Our fund raising goal is to be finished by May 31, 2010. The bill is due in August, so we will continue to raise money until then and even after if we need to. But we are all volunteers and have many other projects we focus on that also demand much of our time in our community. Additionally, most of us will be finishing our Peace Corps service this summer with camps in the countryside throughout June and July, so we won't be available to continue the day-to-day fund raising efforts.

In short, we hope you'll make your donation sooner rather than later, though a few of our friends and family have pledged to help by sending money each month until August, which we encourage and can certainly accommodate as well.

How can I stay in touch with the project as it develops?
If you give money, you'll receive periodic updates from Nyamtaivan on her progress. You can also join the Send Nyamtaivan to the States Facebook group for more pictures, videos and written updates.