From right-left- Suvd Bold, National UN Volunteer Specialist, Humanitarian Affairs officer, stands with Tapan Mishra, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, and Naran Otgonbayar, Administrative Assistant calling for an end to child labour (in Mongolian sign language).
Suvd Bold (right), national UN Volunteer Humanitarian Affairs Officer, stands with Tapan Mishra (centre), UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, and Naran Otgonbayar (left), Administrative Assistant, calling for an end to child labour (in Mongolian sign language.

"Persons with disabilities can do anything!"

Suvd Bold grew up with a disability and always hesitated to speak about it. While growing up her left eye, due to abnormal visual development, had reduced vision called Amblyopia (also refers to as lazy eye). She was picked on and jokes made on her disability. However, Svud stayed determined to not let this restrict her ambitions. Her motto? "Persons with disabilities can do anything!"

Suvd Bold serves as a national UN Volunteer Specialist Humanitarian Affairs Officer with the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Mongolia. Her UN Volunteer assignment is under the Talent Programme for Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, funded by Sweden

When Suvd joined UNV eight months ago, it was a dream come true.

Being part of the UN family was my dream. When I was in university, I used to read about the work of the UN and its contribution to development, and this inspired me to become a changemaker one day. --Suvd Bold, national UN Volunteer Specialist

Suvd's reflections from her past frame her thoughts on breaking the stigma attached to disability. She recalls her experience of using a public bus in Mongolia in 2016 with a government supported card for persons with disabilities.

When the bus driver noticed that I was using a bus card for persons with disabilities, he shouted at me. I felt humiliated as everyone around started looking at me and I had to explain my health condition throughout the journey. --Suvd Bold

In recent years, Suvd says that the Mongolian Government has made progress to support persons with disabilities through diverse initiatives that include equal access to education, housing, a monthly stipend to persons with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities, free public transportation, medical insurance, reduction in income tax, among other benefits. Nevertheless, she feels there are areas that need improvement such as disability friendly infrastructure for people who use wheelchairs, their access to transportation and to public toilets.

Societal prejudice played a major role in Suvd's experiences in public as she says there are many disabilities that cannot be seen right up front. 

Due to this assumption, I used to hesitate to say that I am a person with disabilities because some people would not believe me. --Suvd Bold

After completing her bachelor's degree in Law from Savitribae Phule Pune University in India, Suvd worked in Mongolia for a few years with the government and also with the Mongolian Bar Association. Later she pursued a master's degree in International Law at the University of Sydney.

In 2021, her dream almost came to fruition as she was informed of her candidature to join UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Mongolia. The inclusive environment in her UN Volunteer assignment made her feel at ease and she started talking about her disability without any shame or fearing any stigma. 

I started feeling that I am a human being just like the others. The 'Leaving no one behind' approach of the UN makes it possible for persons with disabilities to contribute to the SDGs. -- Suvd Bold

Suvd's assignment with UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Mongolia includes organizing the monthly Humanitarian Country Team meetings. These meetings aim to share information with humanitarian organizations, prepare for potential disasters, provide capacity building to the government, international organizations and counterparts.

In 2022, together with partners, the Humanitarian Country Team supported the Mongolian Government to establish shelters accommodating 1,590 people in need in four different areas in Ulaanbaatar city. These shelters were meant for vulnerable people such as persons with disabilities, single parents, the elderly and orphans. 

Volunteering makes me happy because I am contributing to the society and to Mongolia's development. Through volunteering with the UN, I have lived my dream. I proved to myself and to the people around me that disability should not be a barrier. I encourage other persons with disabilities to always look around you and seize any opportunity you come across. --Suvd Bold

Tapan Mishra, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, applauded the partnership with UNV, through which Suvd contributes to the UN mandate.

We didn't have a dedicated staff in Resident Coordinator's humanitarian role previously. We were spending resources on consultancies or assigning these duties to another staff with other job responsibilities, and it was not efficient. We are delighted to host a UN Volunteer and acknowledge that Suvd is not only a committed professional who focuses on her humanitarian role, but she has been an excellent team player and has supported us in important priorities such as the completion and signing of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Mongolia. --Tapan Mishra, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia

Suvd's determination to break the stereotype and stigma attached to persons with disabilities has not only made her live her dream, but it also paves the way for others to follow suit. People with disabilities can do anything, she says. And they certainly can!

Suvd's disability didn't prevent her from performing her duties. She is the true definition of Inspiration in Action and passionate about volunteerism as a dedicated UN Volunteer. I consider her a UN Volunteer star who brightens other persons with disabilities. --Tapan Mishra

Suvd Bold, National UN Volunteer Specialist, Humanitarian Affairs officer holds a placeholder at the UN 75 celebration
Suvd Bold, national UN Volunteer Humanitarian Affairs Officer, at the UN 75 celebration. ©UNV, 2020