Luther Graduate is “Promoting Peace Through Music” in Mongolia
Temuulen Erdenebulgan "˜21 is using music to promote peace and create safe spaces for children in his home country of Mongolia. Erdenebulgan was selected for a 2020 Davis Projects for Peace grant for his project titled "Promoting Peace Through Music: Music is the Language of Magic." His project was delayed for one year due to COVID-19 but is now up and running in the city of Ulaanbaatar.
"My project's main goal is to create a safe space where children can learn to play musical instruments. I strongly believe that learning how to play music can provide some peace, build a sense of community and security, help heal scars, physical and otherwise, and help people to deal with stress and difficulties in their lives. Lastly, and most importantly, I believe music can help individuals cooperate with others and maintain their own peaceful lifestyles," says Erdenebulgan.
Erdenebulgan partnered with Lantuu Dohio, a non-profit organization based in Mongolia. Their mission is to eradicate human trafficking and protect children from violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation.
In 2017, Lantuu Dohio started a project called Magic Mongolia 1, where they constructed a building dedicated to helping children of abuse in Ulaanbaatar. In December 2019, the organization finished their second location Magic Mongolia 2 in one of the poorest areas of Ulaanbaatar where hundreds of volunteers fight to end abuse, poverty, and human trafficking locally.
"Since Magic Mongolia 2 has a library, kindergarten and a cozy children-friendly environment, children ages 8-14 often come here to study, socialize and spend their time together away from abuse, poverty and poor education," said Erdenebulgan.
Approximately 50 kids take part in music lessons at Magic Mongolia 2. Staff members teach workshops for piano, drums, guitar, violin and a traditional Mongolian instrument called "ytga." Teachers will record instructional videos to make available for children to watch anytime. Erdenebulgan works on the project remotely from the United States. He meets weekly with music teachers and his project partner over Zoom.
The $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant was used to purchase 19 instruments for Magic Mongolia 2 and to hire music instructors. Erdenebulgan plans to further this work by creating the Magic Music for Peace Fund. The fund will be used to connect students to quality music schools in Ulaanbaatar and to support volunteers.
For Erdenebulgan, this project is personal as he attributes his own success to 13 years of piano education. "I would say that playing piano has made me a more kind and peaceful person," he said. "In the long run, I hope it does the same for these kids so I can live in a place where every child has access to the bare necessities of security, education and love. Everyone has magic inside them, magic to make the world a better place."
Davis Projects for Peace was established by Kathryn W. Davis on her 100th birthday to fund selected students with $10,000 to create and build peace anywhere in the world.
Erdenebulgan graduated from Luther College in 2021 with a degree in computer science.
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