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Guiding the young on their path to education

Lkhamaa Yondon is a proud woman. She has worked for the last three years at Oyu Tolgoi’s training department with the noble task of organising more than 200 Oyu Tolgoi scholarships for young Mongolians to study at domestic and international universities. The students, their parents, siblings and relatives, are deeply grateful to Oyu Tolgoi for this programme. It is right that our Lkhamaa and her colleagues in the Training department are the ones to receive this appreciation.

Yo.Lkhamaa is a native of Ulaanbaatar. Her father served all his life working as a welder in the army. Her mother worked as an accountant for many years in private companies. She is the middle sibling in a family of seven children. She graduated from the Capital City Secondary School No. 40, followed by the Faculty of Mongolian language at the Foreign Language and Culture School of the Mongolian State University. She also has an MA with honours from the University of Humanities.

A hardworking student, in the tenth grade of school she won a bronze medal in the Mongolian language national Olympics and was rewarded with a place at the Mongolian State University. While there she won scholarships covering her tuition fees for each of her four years of study. During her first year, she was granted a scholarship by the Japanese "Khasabe" foundation before winning a place to study in Japan in her third year. After learning Japanese and returning to Mongolia, she enrolled in evening English class at the School of Foreign Language and Culture.

After graduation, she worked in many jobs, always searching for the perfect role. While working for five years as an English teacher, and as a police first lieutenant, she continued to strive to improve her English. Looking after her baby at home, she would spend all night studying. After unsuccessfully applying for a place to study for a PhD in Australia, she won a prestigious Hubert Humphrey Fellowship to study in the United States. "After a long wait, I received a letter from the US Embassy. My hands were shaking. This was the largest scholarship I had ever received so I was very excited. The work was challenging and required a lot of effort,” recalls Yo.Lkhamaa. She studied academic English at the University of Oregon and then went to study at Boston University for a year. She was the youngest among all the students who came from many countries around the world.

Yo.Lkhamaa lives with her husband and their three children. Her husband is an engineer at the Water Supply and Sewage Authority and her two older children are elementary school students. Her youngest is only seven months old. Yo.Lkhamaa applied for jobs with Oyu Tolgoi four times before she finally joined the company in April 2012.

“My job helps people. I am blessed to guide young people to university so I consider myself very lucky. The saying goes ‘Fate helps those who help themselves.’ If you set yourself challenging goals and put in the effort needed, then you will reach your goal,” she says. “I love to read books. I can’t spend a day without reading. I read in English to improve my English skills. I advise young people to read and listen to English every day. Working with foreigners represents a great opportunity to learn many things. Use this chance.”

“To master English, you need to learn to read and write as well as listening and speaking. If you keep reading, your writing skills will improve as well. If you listen, your speaking progresses as well. You won’t go far if you only focus on memorising grammar. Language is a communication tool after all.”

This is the story of our colleague - a hardworking woman whose efforts brought her success and helped her realise her dreams of a brighter future.

About Oyu Tolgoi LLC (www.ot.mn)

Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mongolia's largest copper and gold mining company, is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. Located in the South Gobi, Oyu Tolgoi commenced shipment of product to customers in July 2013. Oyu Tolgoi is managed by Rio Tinto, which is investing global expertise and cutting-edge technology to help develop Mongolia’s mining industry and ensure Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s most advanced mines. For Oyu Tolgoi, nothing matters more than safety. The business operates under the principle that if a job cannot be done safely, it will not be done at all.

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