Mongolian Helmet Project

This is a guest post by Kara Estep
Peace Corps Volunteer in Community Youth Development Tsetserleg, Arkhangai (Mongolia)

Hello! My name is Kara Estep and I am a Peace Corps Volunteer currently serving in Mongolia  organizing a project to collect helmets for child jockeys to wear in Mongolian horse races. I was inspired by fellow Volunteer Alex Yang's helmet project in Sukhbaatar province and decided to replicate it here in the Arkhangai province where I live. AND one of my Mongolian colleagues actually brought up the idea without me even having mentioned it. How cool is that? Right now we have collected 89 helmets for this summer, but we still need a few more! Here I'd like to tell you a little bit about our project and how you can help...

What is the Mongolian Helmet Project?

Since long before the time of Genghis Khan horse riding has been a popular tradition amongst Mongolians. Even today horse riding remains an important part of their cultural heritage. In addition to the everyday use of horses by Mongolians, more formal horse races take place throughout the year. Some of the most dangerous races are during the winter when sub-zero temperatures create dangerous racing conditions. However, the biggest competitions occur every July at the Naadam Festivals taking place all over Mongolia. Every year more than 30,000 child jockeys ranging from the ages of 4 to 10 years old participate in 12 to 28 kilometer races. Unfortunately, on average, about 5% of these children fall off of their horses. Due to the lack of financial resources, lack of knowledge, and indifference, many of the children embark on these races without proper protective gear like helmets and pads, and sometimes even without shoes or saddles. As a result, every year many children suffer from severe lifelong injuries, and for some of the most unfortunate, death. Though measures have been taken on a legislative level, laws to provide the children with protective gear are rarely being enforced, especially in places outside of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

How You Can Help
  • Donate a new helmet.
  • Donate a used helmet.
  • Donate other protective riding gear.
  • Hang up a flyer at your local equestrian goods store.
  • Share this project with you local 4-H clubs and riding clubs.
  • Share this project with your friends and family.

Together we can help these children continue to participate in this century-old tradition without having to risk serious injuries or their life. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you!

To contact Kara or for more information please visit: