In light of International Women's Day, Mrs. O. Uurdmandakh shared her story with us, she is a woman who returned voluntarily to Mongolia from Belgium in 2022 with the support of IOM.

She was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar and gave birth to her daughter at the age of 20. Having become a mother at a relatively young age, Uurmandakh has had a variety of jobs. While working for a travel company, she learned videography, editing, and creating various advertisement videos. This is where her love for filmmaking started.

"I became enthralled with filmmaking because you can convey what you want to say not only to the minds of the audience, but also to the heart and soul of a person through sound and images."

Although she didn't have proper training or education, she learned how to film and record videos, driven by her determination and dreams. So far, she has made over 10 short films and video content including “Manuukhai”, a feature length film where she worked as an editor, and “Father’s Shadow”, a short film depicting human relations and their impact on children. Because she gained a lot of experience by making all these projects, she had the opportunity to formally study film directing at Zokhiomj University. There she completed her studies in 2020 and fulfilled her dream.

Films Manuukhai and Father's Shadow

Due to the poor economic situation in Mongolia and concerns about the quality of education, Mrs Uurmandakh decided to send her daughter to Belgium in 2019. Her daughter’s biological father from Belgium was willing to take her in and raise her. As a mother, she was worried about her daughter and wanted to see her living conditions in person, so she went to Europe the year after. She lived and worked in Belgium for two years while doing various odd jobs. All the while she could spend time with her daughter and see how she was integrating into her new family and new life in a foreign country. After two years, she was fully satisfied with her daughter’s condition, so she decided to return to Mongolia and work in her new profession.

After returning to Mongolia with the support of IOM, Mrs Uurdmandakh was able to receive financial assistance for a microbusiness startup. She used the funds to buy filming equipment. She says that now, the equipment is essential for her daily work and served as a huge support for her. In the beginning she was struggling to make progress in the film industry. The assistance has given her a push for the opportunity to fulfill her big goal of making her own full-length film and making it available to the public. She sees many successful women in the film industry as actresses and behind the scenes staff. She is especially happy that female directors have been gaining recognition for their great work.

"I sincerely hope that the films I am planning to make will touch even one person's heart, help them find themselves and light the fire of life."