‘One of the best trips I’ve ever had’

A student group from Bellbrook High School in Bellbrook, Ohio, traveled to Ecuador for a volunteer trip organized by The Tandana Foundation earlier this summer. During the trip, the students were able to participate in many cultural learning opportunities, including those based in indigenous Kichwa traditions and clothing, along with fun excursions to natural wonders around the highland region. In addition, they completed work on a service project at a local school in Tangali, where they also played in friendly soccer matches with local students. Below, one Bellbrook student, Hanna Bridges, reflects upon her time in Ecuador and why she hopes to return one day. Continue reading “‘One of the best trips I’ve ever had’”

An ambitious approach to the future

It’s always nice to hear from the students that receive scholarships thanks to the support of donors to the Tandana Foundation. In the following, Maria Belen Cachimuel Anrango, a university student from Ecuador, shares what she has been doing in school this year, what she’s learned, and her plans for the future. Continue reading “An ambitious approach to the future”

Looking at life in a new way

Thirteen students, including two team leaders, and a university representative from Northeastern University joined the Tandana Foundation in highland Ecuador for a week-long service project earlier this year. To earn a spot on the trip, the NU students, who were all first-year students involved in a year-long service project in Boston, had to complete a competitive application process. While in Ecuador with Tandana, the passionate student group worked with community members to dig out a new water catchment system. The trip was highly successful, as much progress was made on the water system, but also on the relationships built between the NU group and  local residents. Below, one student, Emily Laliberty, reflects on how the trip impacted her after returning to daily life in the United States. Continue reading “Looking at life in a new way”

The impact of the Kilegou school garden

In April 2018, the Tandana Foundation partnered with the residents of Kilegou to create a garden at the elementary and junior high school. To support their efforts in establishing the school garden, Tandana provided the community members with a fence, tools, training, seeds, and water containers, helping to solve the water problem during the driest months. The students are now growing many vegetables, some of which they sell to earn money for their notebooks, pens, and other school supplies. Read the thoughts of the school’s director and a student about the impact of the garden below. Continue reading “The impact of the Kilegou school garden”

Motilón Chupa, the newest addition to the Tandana family

The Tandana family has been growing larger every year, and the foundation currently works with about 20 different communities in highland Ecuador. One year ago, a new community named Motilón Chupa joined our family. Motilón Chupa is a small community of less than 250 people that is located near Padre Chupa. Continue reading “Motilón Chupa, the newest addition to the Tandana family”

Tandana’s global team

While the Tandana Foundation’s official headquarters is near Dayton, Ohio, its members are located around the world. From the mountains of Colorado to the highlands of Ecuador, across the Atlantic Ocean to rural plateaus of Mali, Tandana truly has a global team. Despite being separated by geography, the team is connected by a sense of purpose and commitment to carry out the foundation’s mission. Aided by Whatsapp chats, Zoom meetings, and countless email exchanges, the operations team successfully works together to support the communities it partners with in Ecuador and Mali. Read about some of its members below, including how they got involved with Tandana and what they like most about working for the organization. Continue reading “Tandana’s global team”

Tandana’s collaboration in Padre Chupa

The Tandana Foundation has been working with the community of Padre Chupa, Ecuador, for many years. Starting in 2013, the community began requesting support on various projects, and since then they have collaborated on numerous projects from donating seeds and a gas stove to painting the ceilings of the school. Read on to learn about all the projects Tandana has worked on in Padre Chupa. Continue reading “Tandana’s collaboration in Padre Chupa”

A trusted partner in Mali

Not every organization or individual who promises to help a group of people delivers on that promise. The Tandana Foundation, however, has earned the reputation that the organization can be trusted after continually following through on the projects it has collaborated on. In the following, Sara Tembine describes how she and other women in her village were deceived, and how her knowledge of Tandana’s work led her to argue in favor of her village partnering with Tandana on several projects. Continue reading “A trusted partner in Mali”

A new opportunity for life

Below, Virginia Sánchez, Patient Follow-up Coordinator for the Tandana Foundation, shares the story of Richard and how generous Tandana donors were able to assist him to hear.

In November of 2015, we (Tandana) had the opportunity to learn about Richard, a young man from the community of Panecillo, in the parish of Quichinche, Ecuador, who, through his mother, desperately sought support from a non-governmental organization to obtain a left foot prosthesis, but first let me tell you his whole story. Continue reading “A new opportunity for life”

‘We will forever remember you, Agualongo!’

 

Sixteen teenage girls from the Traveling School (TTS) recently participated in a cultural learning experience in highland Ecuador, put on by the Tandana Foundation. During their weeklong stay at the end of February, the group of high school students lived and volunteered in the community Agualongo and continued their studies as part of a semester of travel to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Continue reading “‘We will forever remember you, Agualongo!’”

A top student shares his big goal and past accomplishments

Tandana scholarship student Yarick Santiago Méndez Fueres has a big goal – earn a spot in a student exchange program in the U.S. As he describes in the following blog, he feels capable of achieving anything he sets his mind to, as he’s already achieved many academic accomplishments this past year. Yarick is a great example of how scholarships can assist motivated students to pursue their educational dreams. Since he wrote this letter, Yarick earned an internship in Montana, where he is working on the logistics of perishable products with a dairy and produce company.

Continue reading “A top student shares his big goal and past accomplishments”

Six women’s associations reimburse their revolving funds, ready to continue earning with their enterprises

The Tandana Foundation provided a start-up revolving fund for six women’s associations in Bandiagara District of Mali last fall. Each of the groups recently collected their first reimbursement for materials used in their income-generating enterprises. In the blog below, three women from these groups share their thoughts following this first repayment that has refilled the operating fund.  Now, each group can use its fund to buy more materials and continue earning income. Continue reading “Six women’s associations reimburse their revolving funds, ready to continue earning with their enterprises”

It’s all about the relationships

Volunteer trips can take many forms. Sometimes volunteers make lasting connections with local people, and other times they leave without building a lasting relationship. As Karen Graves explains below, the volunteer trips organized by the Tandana Foundation fall into the first category.  In the following blog, Graves shares her experience volunteering in Ecuador with Tandana, where she developed many friendships working alongside community members, as part of the Ohio Master Gardener trip this year. 

Continue reading “It’s all about the relationships”

Setting a good example, moving her family forward

An education promises a myriad of opportunities. However, affording to go to school is not always easy for many families around the world. In Ecuador, the Tandana Foundation assists families in sending their children through secondary school and to universities thanks to the generous support of its donors. In the following, one scholarship student, Blanca Zulema Espinoza Pillajo, shares her story on how the financial assistance has impacted her life, allowing her to complete her studies, set a good example for her younger siblings, and the chance to help move her family forward. Continue reading “Setting a good example, moving her family forward”

Finishing school, even with a baby

The Tandana Foundation’s student mothers program helps girls from rural villages in the Bandiagara District of Mali attend middle school, even if they become mothers. To go to schools in the city, girls must find families to host them, but if they get pregnant, the families usually send them back to their villages and they have to drop out of school. Through this program, Tandana trains families to explain that they can still host the students even if they are young mothers. In addition, it also provides food and basic medical supplies for the babies, so they are not an additional cost to the families. Tandana currently supports 10 student mothers, assisting them in staying in school despite the challenges of motherhood. Below one of these student mothers, Mariam Doumbo, shares the many benefits this program has offered her.
Continue reading “Finishing school, even with a baby”

What I saw working with Tandana in Ecuador

Hi, my name is Maria Cristina Silva. I am from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Through my life, I have worked with several non-profits in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., India, and Ecuador. I was invited by Anna and Hope Taft to share with you my insights about my experience with the Tandana Foundation, as an Ecuadorian that worked with them. I think it is important for you to get a good idea of what it means to support Tandana in any way you can, so I will start by sharing a personal story. Then, I will tell you about Ecuador, then wrap up sharing what I saw Tandana does in the mountains of my country. Continue reading “What I saw working with Tandana in Ecuador”

Inside the community of La Banda

The communities the Tandana Foundation works with are as diverse and unique as the projects we partner with them on. In this blog post, Antonio Andrango, president of La Banda, provides a look into his community today and insight into its history and origins. Continue reading “Inside the community of La Banda”

Evaluating the success of our women’s program in Mali

The Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise (formerly known as the Women LEAP program,) which was launched by the Tandana Foundation with support from Dining for Women, has been highly successful. The project’s goal is to promote women’s economic independence and participation in local decision-making in the Bandiagara District of Mali by improving their literacy, numeracy, and association management, democratic governance, and leadership skills. Continue reading “Evaluating the success of our women’s program in Mali”

Eyes opened through hearing

Maria Rosa Castañeda is one of many patients who have benefited from the Tandana Foundation‘s Patient Follow Up Program in rural communities of Ecuador. After seeing a doctor during a Tandana mobile clinic, she was referred to a specialist for her hearing impairment and ended up having surgery that changed her life. In the video, Maria describes her struggles stemming from not being able to hear before receiving the surgery, and the emotional moment when she woke up from the surgery being able to hear. Watch the video to see the incredible emotions Maria shows, and read a transcript of what she said in the blog post below. Continue reading “Eyes opened through hearing”

Hear from participants in the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program

The Tandana Foundation’s Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program has touched the lives of more than 1,000 women in Mali. As the program continues to grow, thanks to its proven success, increasing demand, and support from Dining for Women, Foundation Beyond Belief, and others, it’s always nice to hear from the women who are a part of the program. The following blog contains the testimonials from three courageous women about how the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes, leadership workshops, and Savings for Change initiatives have impacted their lives. Continue reading “Hear from participants in the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program”

A journey of health care and fun in the mountains of Ecuador

The Tandana Foundation has a health care program called the Healthcare Volunteer Venture (HCVV)- a program in which the foundation brings  groups of volunteers (both skilled and unskilled in the medical field) from the United States and Canada to provide a phenomenal mobile clinic in some of the indigenous communities of Highland Ecuador. The program happens twice a year, and the foundation held its 23rd and 24th mobile health care clinics in April and September of 2018.

Continue reading “A journey of health care and fun in the mountains of Ecuador”

Tandana funds six women’s association enterprises in Mali

As part of the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise Program, the Tandana Foundation used part of a grant from Dining for Women to provide startup funding for six new women’s associations’ business proposals in the Bandiagara District of Mali. These women’s associations are now starting income-generating activities, including making nutritional seasoning balls out of néré seeds, raising sheep, transforming cotton into cloth and indigo dyeing.  Continue reading “Tandana funds six women’s association enterprises in Mali”

Caring, Respectful, Responsible Intercultural Relationships; Wisdom; Process and Goal: Part 10

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Caring, Respectful, Responsible Intercultural Relationships; Wisdom; Process and Goal: Part 10”

A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse

Visiting the picturesque highlands of Ecuador enriched by the local culture, and inspired by living and working with community members is sure to cultivate creativity. Such was the case for a participant of a recent Health Care Volunteer Venture trip organized by the Tandana Foundation. While sharing her medical skills as part of a team providing medical care to local residents, Dr. Swati Biswas crafted a poem about her experience as a HCVV volunteer, which she presented to the group on the last day of the trip. In the beautiful lines of poetic verse below, Swati creates a unique picture of life in Ecuador, as she reflects on all that she has seen and done, and the people she met along the way. Continue reading “A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse”

Caring and Compassion: Part 9

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Caring and Compassion: Part 9”

The roots of intercultural collaboration and friendship in Mali

Volunteers and residents of Kansongho celebrate restoration of the well

Every story of friendship has a beginning. For the Tandana Foundation and the Bandiagara District in rural Mali, the story began when Tandana’s founder Anna Taft first visited the Kansongo village in 2007. Despite initial hesitations, this friendship blossomed into a mutually beneficial relationship, creating unanticipated opportunities for intercultural learning and much more. The following blog post describes how this friendship grew into a great collaboration between the American foundation and the local community, along with the impact of their joint efforts. Continue reading “The roots of intercultural collaboration and friendship in Mali”

Respect and Responsibility: Part 8

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Respect and Responsibility: Part 8”

We began at zero

As a fun project, students enrolled in the Tandana Foundation’s summer school created a video sharing their classroom experiences. The video showcases the students’ personalities, along with what they learned in the English classes, as they switch back and forth from Spanish to English. In the following blog post, Hank Fincken, who led the students in the making of the video, provides behind-the-scenes insight into its creation. Continue reading “We began at zero”

Experiencing gratitude and Greater awareness of what it is to be human: Part 7

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Experiencing gratitude and Greater awareness of what it is to be human: Part 7”

More motivation to reach my dreams

 

Students who receive scholarships from the Tandana Foundation each have their own story on how this financial aid is impacting their lives today and for years to come. One of these students, Alex Francisco Quilumbango Perugachi, shares his story of how scholarships have motivated him and his siblings to try harder in school and gain knowledge to be successful in their future careers.  Continue reading “More motivation to reach my dreams”

Sharing, Promise-keeping, Forgiveness: Part 6

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Sharing, Promise-keeping, Forgiveness: Part 6”

‘Long live the Tandana Foundation’

In rural Mali, the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes, along with the recently launched leadership workshops, which are made possible thanks to the support from Dining for Women, continue to have extremely positive impacts on the women who participate in them. Below, three women share their stories of how these programs, which have been established in many villages by the Tandana Foundation, have changed their lives for the better and have assisted them in becoming community leaders. Continue reading “‘Long live the Tandana Foundation’”

Making my own story in Otavalo

Participating in volunteer trips to different countries enables live encounters with diverse cultures and communities. During one of the Tandana Foundation’s recent Health Care Volunteer Ventures trips, a young participant learned first hand how these personal experiences can broaden a person’s understanding of the world beyond what they may be used to. She shares her unique story of volunteering in Otavalo, Ecuador, in the following blog post. Continue reading “Making my own story in Otavalo”

Tandana is unity

The Tandana Foundation is a network of diverse people and communities across the world. It is the strength of this network working together that allows Tandana and its partners to achieve community goals, while fostering caring intercultural relationships based on mutual respect and responsibility. On the last day of a recent Gardening Volunteer Venture trip to Padre Chupa, Ecuador, Teresa Marrinan reflected upon her understanding of who Tandana is. In the following blog post, Teresa describes all the people whom she encountered and learned from as a gardening volunteer with Tandana, including its founder Anna Taft, and how she now feels forever a part of this extended network and Tandana itself. Continue reading “Tandana is unity”