incubator

Why I started the nonprofit organization, “Save Infants”.

In early 2009, I saw a picture on Facebook of a little boy asking for donations to help him get medical treatments in South Korea because he couldn’t get treated in his native Mongolia. Afterward, I started to notice more pictures and banners of children asking for similar such donations on the websites that I visit regularly. I wondered, Why can’t these children be treated in their home country? How underdeveloped are Mongolian hospitals that many of the patients must seek medical treatments abroad?

After doing some research, I realized the situation was worse than I imagined it would be. Not only did the hospitals have a shortage of crucial surgical units, but they also had a lack of basic medical equipment such as patient monitors. And because there weren’t enough rooms or beds, children were lying on the cold, hard floor in the hallways of the hospitals even during the harsh winter season.

My initial impulse to help each child whose picture appeared on social media was replaced with my ultimate determination to improve the situation for ALL the children in Mongolia. I started talking to everybody I knew and persuading as many as I could to collaborate with me. I reached out to Mongolian communities around the world and drove with a friend all around the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with people and collect donations for patient monitors for the Children’s Hospital in Ulaanbaatar.

Many people were supportive; however, some were suspicious of scamming when I first started a fundraising campaign on Facebook in January 2010. Nonetheless, the campaign was successful and we managed to collect a little over USD 8,000 in a few months, thanks to supporters from all over the world. I was overjoyed watching the video of the acceptance of the patient monitors by the medical staff of the hospital.

Although it was an incredibly rewarding experience for me, I planned to end the campaign, called “Save Infants,” due to the hardship of fundraising. But, by then, the group of people who had organically teamed up with me and had given their best effort to achieve the goal encouraged me to continue the cause.

Thanks to their kind support, Save Infants was officially registered as a non-governmental organization in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on March 18, 2011. Since then, our non-profit organization has effectively implemented 8 projects, raised public and government awareness, raised over USD 165,000, and developed a team of 35 volunteers across 5 sites worldwide.

Highlights include developing and executing 6 plans, as a result of USD 74,000 in donations, for critical medical equipment to the Neonatal ICU Maternal and Child Health Center in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The hospital ward provides crucial services to 1,000+ newborns, including those born premature, annually. The donated equipment has been credited for saving countless infant lives.

In 2014, Save Infants was granted USD 100,000 from Samsung Electronics to fund the Child Burn Prevention and Safety Program. With this grant, we were able to purchase 39 medical devices and surgical units to heal 610 surgery patients and 6,700 burn patients, and publish the Burn Care Handbook for doctors and nurses in 2015.

In my roles as founder, project manager, and team motivator, I, along with my team, have learned a great deal about running successful fundraising campaigns and have grown as leaders. But, most importantly, the conditions in Mongolia’s children’s hospitals have improved immensely, and we plan to accomplish a lot more in the coming years!