Mission Manduhai 2019 Update

The 2019 tour consisted of 14 people. We traveled 2,600 km with 2 vans and performed in 11 villages of Zavkhan province, which is west of Ulaanbaatar, During the performance we handed out 3,000 brochures in 3 versions.


We left Minnesota on Aug 12thearly morning and came back Aug 29th.  After we landed in Mongolia we slept a few hours in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment and went to the National Center against Violence, where we presented Mission Manduhai’s $1500 donation for operation of the Domestic Violence hotline. In the afternoon we met the Mongolian performers and rehearsed the show. Then we shopped for supplies for the tour.


While we traveled there were no major problems, just little problems like flat tires, the van’s engine overheating and needing some repairs. Also, a couple of villages’ cultural centers couldn’t be opened because the person who has the key was gone somewhere. We ended up performing outside, which worked great. 3 villages had no electric so we used a generator. Mostly we slept in the places we performed, on stage with sleeping bags.  Most roads were not paved between villages, so we had a bumpy ride.


When we returned to UB, Mission Manduhai visited an NCAV domestic violence shelter house. We distributed gifts, performed and visited residents, including many young children.


Helen Rubenstein, the lawyer and expert on domestic violence who went with me gave a training session to the NCAV.  Mongolia has adopted a new, stronger domestic violence law in 2016 and is working hard to implement the new law. One provision of the new law requires the creation of batterer rehabilitation program. The training session was attended by NCAV advocates, social workers, and also the director of a program for men.  


The day before the group flew back home, Helen went with NCAV staff to a meeting at the United Nations office to discuss funding for a future project to improve Mongolians response to Domestic Violence.


Along with performing in the remote countryside to bring the information to the nomadic herders, this year’s tour also laid the foundation for ongoing work that can bring systemic change to keep women safe and hold offenders accountable.


Mission Manduhai is already looking forward to the next tour to bring circus performance and the message of nonviolence to another rural province of Mongolia.




“Batterers program” workshop report 


The workshop venue: National Center Against Violence 

Date: 10:00am-3:00 pm 15 August 2019 

Presenter: Helen Rubestein 

The participants: NCAV psychologist, social worker, lawyer, Darkhan city NCAV branch coordinator, a social worker from child helpline 108 center, a coordinator from “Men and Healthy Family Center” NGO. 

The workshop agenda: theories on domestic violence, principles and types of the batterers programs, good practices of the batterers programs in different countries, new method, and information.

The workshop participants impression: 

Sundermaa, a coordinator of NCAV Darkhan city branch office: Thank you so much for spending your valuable time from far away. I have found of important informaton and knowledge. I do deliver a batterers program in Darkhan city. . 

NCAV Social worker Nyambayar: thank you so much, i learned new concept of domestic violence theories, and approach 

an attorney Batjargal: thank you, it is useful knowledge for our work 

Undrakh, a manager of temporary shelter house program NCAV: As NCAV former diretor Enkhee said us “you are all angels”, Helen you are an angel who arrived here to give us wonderful knowledge. thank you so much, we will use it in our work. 

NCAV social worker, Doljinsuren: the workshop was significant what we were need, thanks a lot 

NCAV legal counselor Sanchir: we do deliver a training on domestic violence. also, we used to running behaviour change training for perpetrators. so, this workshop was useful. 

Men and healthy family center, Tsaschiher: our center works with pepertrators, and has been working with NCAV on delivering the batterers program. I am so glad for participated in such training and learned a new method.

social worker child helpline 108 center Shurentsetseg: thank you allowed me to attend the training. our center works with children, but of course it requires to work with their family as well. thank to this workshop, I learnt a method dealing with perpetrators, and theories on domestic violence. Тhe workshop was significant to my work. 

NCAV program manager and lawyer Baigalmaa: thank you Helen, for coming so far and run such important workshop for us. Goordinated community Response was interesting. also, I found out that the batterers program runs focus into perpetrators not for victim centered.




Statement from Helen Rubenstein


In August 2019 I had the extraordinary opportunity to accompany Mission Manduhai to Mongolia. Although this was my fourth trip to Mongolia it was truly the trip of a lifetime! I first traveled to Mongolia – and first met Chimgee – when I conducted a monitoring study on the implementation of Mongolia’s domestic violence laws for The Advocates for Human Rights in 2013. I had worked closely with the National Center Against Violence (NCAV), a Mongolian organization that provides services to women who are victims of domestic violence, and works to improve the government response to the violence. 


I was excited to see my old friends at NCAV and had arranged to do a training for them when we got to Ulaanbaatar. But it was when we left UB that the real adventure began! It was such a pleasure to travel with our young circus performers as we drove over rough or non-existent roads, tried new foods, and encountered extremely basic living conditions. They greeted each new experience enthusiastically, collecting stories to last a lifetime. 


What moved me most, though, was Chimgee’s leadership and enormous energy. The way she took care of every detail of the trip, and maintained her cheerful attitude, regardless of car breakdowns, lack of electricity at the venues where we were scheduled to perform, or other challenges. More important, I was awed by Chimgee’s passion and commitment to her mission, to Mission Manduhai. Having been a victim of extreme domestic violence herself, she is dedicated to educating women in Mongolia about their rights and the services available to protect them against violence. In every town her focus was on providing educational materials, Including in one town, where we were unable to perform, she went door to door handing out brochures, cards and posters. 


I am so grateful to Chimgee for the chance to be part of Mission Manduhai, to witness the gratitude of the crowds who came to see the circus performances and, incidentally, learn about women’s right to be free from violence. Her commitment and my memories of the trip will continue to sustain my own work to end violence against women. 


Helen Rubenstein 

Senior Counsel 

Global Rights for Women


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