Until 2002, we were classified
as Buryat in censuses It seemed as though the language would vanish as well... says Lyudmila Dugarovna Tsydenova, a history teacher at the Sorok Boarding School.

The Soyot language has literally come to the brink of extinction. Everything changed in early 2000s thanks to the work of renowned Russian linguist, professor Valentin Rassadin. After many years of research, Rassadin developed an alphabet for the Soyot language in 2001, followed by the first Soyot dictionary in 2006, and later by the first Soyot primer. The Sorok school started teaching the almost lost language at the same time, and the first teacher was a student of professor Rassadin, Sesegma Garmaeva.

In 2008, Sorok secondary school was reorganized into a State boarding school for Soyot children.

It has since become alma mater for many Soyot, highly skilled professionals in a range of industries and branches of the sciences in Okinsky District, across Buryatia and beyond.

Problem solved? Not yet.

Language is a living thing; it cannot stand still. We have established a platform, and now we need to keep growing, developing tuition and adding new forms of education. says Lyudmila Dugarovna.

In this respect, the grant that Sorok school won in a Nordgold social project competition was very useful.

«Syltys» museum

Our school also houses the Syltys museum. The largest part of the museum is dedicated to the ethnographic section displaying a variety of Soyot household items, tools and hunting equipment. says Zoia Nindakova, Director of Soyot Boarding School.

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Neither Sorok school nor the local administration service has the budget to expand the museum. Numerous exhibits, including an old child’s cradle, an historic woman’s dress, leather bags and bark jars, gradually lose their cultural and historic value due to a lack of special displays. School staff decided to participate in the grant competition and they were delighted to receive support, which enabled them to re-invest in the museum and bring new life to the many artefacts that it houses. Now that the finishing touches are complete, the renewed school museum of Soyot culture will welcome not only local students but also visitors from across the Okinsky District.

Support from large businesses is extremely important to us. And when it comes from such a respectable enterprise which employs a large number of people from the region, people understand the importance of our cause and treat us with much greater respect. says Zoia Nindakova

Nordgold believes that the traditional culture of indigenous peoples in the regions we operate regions is as valuable as the mineral deposits those regions contain. Many social projects that we support, in particular in Buryatia in the Russian Far East, focus not just on the preservation and development of local traditions, and sometimes on actually ensuring their survival .

«Zhargalanta» ensemble

Another project focused on restoring one more traditional local languageis underway in a different school in the Okinsky District, Burungolsky Dugarov Secondary School. This time it’s the language of music and songs.

In 2018, Gurzhap Batorov, then an eighth grader aged just 14, became a local celebrity. He won the Altargana International Buryat Festival grand prize on his first attempt! Gurzhap played a morin khuur, a traditional Buryat-Mongol stringed instrument resembling a small rectangular cello.

I heard someone play morin khuur in Ulan Ude, liked it and wanted to do the same. says Gurzhap.

However, the future international prize winner had to start with hand-cutting a bow from a twig as there was nothing like that in the village.

I got the morin khuur at school, but for the bow, I just bent a twig, fixed a horse hair to it, and there you go!

Besides morin khuur, the school had only two other traditional Buryat music instruments, a yatag and a yochin. And just one lesson a week in the schedule. There were far more students willing to play them. Teachers decided to establish a band, and so they needed new high-quality instruments and the funds to buy them.

Gerelma Batoevna Tsyrenova, a teacher of Russian language and literature in Burungolsky school, decided to take charge.

We submitted a grant application to the Nordgold competition We first thought 50 thousand roubles would be enough, but ultimately put instruments worth 93 thousand roubles on the list. says Gerelma Batoevna

So we couldn’t be happier when we found out the whole amount was approved — it was so unexpected! We needed to order certain instruments from Mongolia and had to wait for a few weeks. So we were even more excited when everything needed for our band finally arrived!

We are called «Zhargalanta» Our Zhargalanta band has two groups of seven students, senior and junior... says Gerelma Tsyrenova. It’s a great opportunity for them, learning a new instrument, while celebrating a great cultural tradition.


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In Taksimo at the Eastern tip of Buryatia, a local library was nominated to promote the interest to local history and culture. However, this required remodeling the library into a… games room!

Here a Nordgold grant was used to purchase several board games, including Shagai Naadan, Faces of Buryatia and Ulan-Ude Monopoly. They present a great deal of fun facts, and sometimes surprising facts, about the local area, and winning requires intelligence, patience and speed. Many children and parents quickly fell in love with the new approach to the study of their region.

We are always excited to visit the library. We love that apart from borrowing books and reading magazines, we can also play and rest here... says Svetlana, mom of Zhenya A.

And the new Igroteka game room takes us on an exciting journey across Buryatia, helps us get new knowledge and learn English with games. We will certainly recommend Igroteka to our friends! Anastasia, mom of Serezha S., borrowed a book on the history of Buryatia:
- I will certainly read it and refresh my memory of everything I know about our region, so that I am on top of everything.These games are very exciting and diverse; they help us become smarter and learn to focus. I think it would be great to play these games during school break: children could play and also learn something new! Shagai Naadan (shagai means sheep knuckle bone) has many variations. Games are available for all ages (3+) and groups of 2 or more. Each participant of the Faces of Buryatia trivia game can learn about history, culture, literature and the geography of their home. Ulan-Ude Monopoly is an exciting spin-off of the world-famous Monopoly localized to Buryatia. In this game, you can rent a section of Ulan Ude Aviation Plant and even list it on stock exchange.
- The library has always been a great place for intelligent, useful pastime, pleasant meetings and exciting activities; and Igroteka is more than just an alternatives to computers and phones — it is a safe space to train your mind and express your emotions.
- says Director of Muysky Municipal Library Taksimo Olga Belskaia. Muysky library staff made sure to select games that foster an interest in history, economics, geography and culture of Buryatia. And as soon as a player builds such an interest, all library resources are at their service.

These three stories are just some examples of what passionate, creative and proactive Buryatia people do for their land with support from Nordgold.Their energy, persistence and love for the history and culture of Buryatia is a constant source of inspiration. And Nordgold is proud to be able to make its own small contribution.

There following materials were used in the preparation of this publication:

Buryaad Unen Muyskaia Nov Аhа