Updated: May 20
Altantungalag Munkhjargal, called Tunga, has been working with BOOKBRIDGE since 2009. Having studied arts in Berlin for 5 years, Tunga is the incarnation of a bridge between cultures. She knows both mentalities, Asian and European, and has built up our country organization in Mongolia. After fostering social entrepreneurship for more than a decade, Tunga now feels as an entrepreneur:"BOOKBRIDGE has helped me to become who I really am". Learn more about Tunga's path in this interview.
Share with us 3 important facts that people should know about you. One of them should be a fun fact if you like :)
I studied 4 years fine art. Unfortunately, I haven’t been painting since my graduation even I was pretty good at it at that time :)
One of my dreams is being a full-time artist with my own atelier when I am retired.
I’m an outdoor person. I do hiking, running, camping, photography while absorbing the energy from nature.
Why did you decide to engage in BOOKBRIDGE? What was your motivation?
All started back in 2011. That year, I came back to Mongolia after having lived over 8 years abroad. Shortly after my return, I met Carsten and Lisa from BOOKBRIDGE through the network of “Mongolisch-Deutsche Brücke“, an NGO based in Ulaanbaator that supports graduates in Germany to reintegrate in their home country.
I immediately liked the vision of BOOKBRIDGE empowering local communities by providing quality education. I felt I could finally do something meaningful and help others.
To support BOOKBRIDGE projects in the Mongolian countryside, I first traveled to the provinces of Bulgan, Govi-Altai, Zavkhan and Khuvsgul where I met wonderful people, learned more about living in the country-side and its economic and educational challenges. I experienced many heart-warming moments.
Most importantly, I realized that what we do at BOOKBRIDGE impacts thousands of young people in rural Mongolia. To see a tangible goal and impact encouraged me to move away from my artistic, abstract world to the reality of social projects. I had a team of wonderful Mongolian and international people from the start on to work with me that made a big difference.
Tunga (pink jacket) leads our programs in Mongolia. On this picture, she opens a learning center in Khovd with our 16th Capability Program.
Which highlight or moment in your work with BOOKBRIDGE do you remember?
The most recent highlight was the 10-years anniversary of BOOKBRIDGE that we celebrated in 2019 Arvaikheer, Mongolia, where the first learning center was established in 2009. I was so amazed by the students’ performances, initiatives and achievements. That was a rewarding and proud moment for me as I saw the impact of 10 years of hard work of my team.
Which impact did BOOKBRIDGE have on your life?
It turned out that I made a lucky twist in my professional life. Inspired by the entrepreneurial idea of BOOKBRIDGE, I studied business administration and got interested in education to become a certified teacher. BOOKBRIDGE helped me to become who I really am.
During my career at BOOKBRIDGE, I was always challenged with the setup and development of education-related social businesses in Mongolian rural areas: making our social enterprises financially self-sustained while offering valuable services to the community. Today, the social enterprises are operating successfully, changing the life of thousand of young people. Last year, my colleague Amar and me became social entrepreneurs ourselves and set up our own social enterprise in a Ger district of Ulanbaatar.
Important part of our team: Tunga (red t-shirt) with other crazy BOOKBRIDGE folks during the 10th anniversary celebrations in Mongolia in 2019.
With almost 20 social enterprises across Mongolia, I learnt a lot about project management, time management and self-management. I started with administration and finances but soon my tasks expanded to leading and supporting our projects, coaching our social entrepreneurs, teaching and developing our programs.
When I started to work for BOOKBRIDGE I was an employee. Today, I am an entrepreneur.
At BOOKBRIDGE, I can try out many things without being constrained by the strict rules and hierarchies big companies have. Being backed by a great, international team helps me to deal with challenging situations and gives me the confidence to do steps in new, unknown directions. BOOKBRIDGE gives me a great framework to develop my professional skills.
When doing my master in business administration, I could apply the theory I learned in my work life. This way, I could combine theoretical knowledge with hands-on practical experiences in our projects.
Thank you Tunga for sharing your experience and your learnings with us. We are proud that you are part of our BOOKBRIDGE Family!