After his sponsored child, Munkh, is seriously burned in an accident, 16-year-old adoptee Zack Myers launches a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Munkh’s hospital costs. He’s not sure he’ll meet his goal. But as more people read Munkh’s story, his Go Fund Me goes farther than he expects!
The relationship began at the Red Stone Informal School during Holt International’s heritage tour to Mongolia last summer. The school is located in the poorest district of Ulaanbaatar, and provides education, meals, hot showers and other supports for about 40 children, ages 6-12, each year. For these kids, the school is a welcome refuge from the many challenges of growing up in deep poverty.
At the school, my son, Zack, met 8-year-old Munkh. Munkh lives with his grandparents, who are not able to provide the level of care and mentoring that a growing child needs. Zack gave Munkh a frisbee that he had brought to donate to the school, and taught Munkh and his classmates how to play. Soon there was candy all around, and Munkh’s younger brother joined us.
As we were leaving, Zack decided to give Munkh the new Seattle Seahawks baseball cap that he was wearing. I took a picture of Zack with the two boys — Munkh, shyly holding his frisbee filled with candy, with his brother by his side, wearing the beautiful green cap.
After we returned to Boston, Zack decided that he wanted to sponsor Munkh. Now age 16, Zack had just gotten his first job, and started to put money aside. We eagerly looked forward to the sponsorship reports, knowing that Munkh would benefit so much from whatever extra help that we could provide.
Munkh’s needs were unexpectedly intensified this past winter, when we learned that he had been badly burned by the stove in his home. Burn accidents in the home happen frequently in the ger district of Mongolia where Munkh and his family live. Like many families, they live in a traditional Mongolian ger heated by a coal stove that sits low to the ground and is continually in use — both for cooking and heating. After falling on the stove in the night, Munkh was hospitalized for significant burns on his hands and legs. Saddest of all, no family members visited him when he was in the hospital. In addition to the pain and discomfort, it must have been a very scary experience.
The Holt Mongolia staff kept us updated on Munkh’s condition. We knew that Munkh needed medical checkups while he healed, as well as a new stove for the ger. We wondered — how could we help?
It was Zack’s idea to run a GoFundMe campaign. We estimated costs, and Zack set his goal at $1,500. We weren’t sure that we would ever be able to raise that much, and we knew that we needed to do it quickly!
At first, friends and family contributed. But soon, enough donations came in from people who we didn’t know. People who were touched by Munkh’s story, and who were able to help us make life a little easier for this one child. Within a month, Zack had reached his goal — raising enough funds to cover Munkh’s medical checkups, medications, therapy and other needs. And maybe even a new stove.
It took a chance meeting and the spark of kindness to energize my teen into action. But once energized, he created a GoFundMe campaign that inspired others to act — bringing together friends and strangers to provide hope to one small boy with very limited prospects.
“It’s nice,” Zack says, “that people would do this for someone they don’t know.”
Karen Myers | Acton, MA