This scholarship student proves it’s never too late to achieve your dreams

The opportunity to pursue higher education can be an important factor in whether people are able to pursue their dream jobs. That opportunity has been a long-time in the making for 35-year-old Elvia Magdalena Muenala López, a recipient of a scholarship from The Tandana Foundation in Ecuador.

In the letter below, hear from the nontraditional university student about how the scholarship is opening doors to landing her dream career as an educator in her community.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Numɔ Digu Toru

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Tandana embarks on pilot program to support internally displaced students in Mali

Today, many people across Mali are living in a climate of concern, mistrust, and sometimes open conflict amid terrorism and violence. Hundreds of school-age children have fled their homes with their families and sought refuge in cities and towns. Even in the relative safety of the towns, they are experiencing incredible challenges, including the ability to continue their education.

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My unforgettable experience as a Tandana volunteer intern

I came, I saw, and we planted a lot of plants. I am an Antioch College student who was able to take part in the return of The Tandana Foundation’s first in-person volunteer internship since 2020. I arrived on a sunny day to meet  Tandana team members Gaetan, Margarita, and Vero, and my host family. They were more than excited to welcome me to Ecuador. In that first week, I learned a lot about the places I would be staying and working in.

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This scholarship student and soon-to-be lawyer is ready to help his community

In exchange for financial support for their education, recipients of The Tandana Foundation’s post-secondary scholarships are required to contribute their skills in the form of service to benefit their community. For scholarship recipient Fernando Lascano, community service is at the forefront of his mission to become a lawyer.

In the letter below, Fernando shares about his University journey, along with thanking Tandana and his sponsors for enabling him to pursue his dreams through education.

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Members of the Tandana community discuss desires and goals for next year

As the calendar turns to 2023, so do thoughts on what the new year will bring. There are certainly many projects in process or on the horizon for The Tandana Foundation and its community partners in Ecuador and Mali. 

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Members of the Tandana community reflect on a meaningful year

From providing access to clean water in Ecuador to building a new health center in Mali, The Tandana Foundation and its partner communities have accomplished a lot together in 2022. 

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Learn about the blooming school gardens in Saredina and Ondogou

The Tandana Foundation helped support the creation of school gardens in the rural communities of Saredina and Ondogou, Mali in late December 2020. Both gardens have been highly successful, bearing many fruits and vegetables that are providing nourishment to the students while also allowing them to earn money for school supplies and teaching them about gardening.

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Exceeding expectations: Results of the pond expansion work in Mali

As a food crisis worsened in the Dogon Plateau of Mali earlier this year, residents joined together to expand a number of stock ponds by hand at sites across four sectors of Wadouba Township. Their work was part of an inventive food security plan developed by the village-run Olouguelemo Association in partnership with The Tandana Foundation to expand the ponds so that more water could be conserved during the rainy season and used for gardening and livestock. 

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The abundance of the Tegou school garden

The Tandana Foundation helped support the village in creating a garden at the school in Tegou, Mali. Students at the school are tending the garden, and it is already producing a variety of fruits and vegetables, including manioc – an important source of carbohydrates.

Below, hear from several of those involved in the Tegou school about how the garden is not only providing the students with nutritious food, but also teaching valuable lessons and generating income to purchase needed school supplies.

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Help write a storybook ending to the Inguincho water project this Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29

Like any great story, the quest to bring clean drinking water to the families of the San Juan de Inguincho community in the highlands of Ecuador has many enthralling chapters. The chapters contain tales of inspiring heroes, such as the dedicated community members, including Inguincho Water Board President Rodrigo Tuquerrez, and passionate volunteers – most notably Rockey Anderson, the expat technical expert – along with several plot twists and conflicts that even the most engaged reader may not have seen coming.

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First aid stations in Mali are increasing attendance, improving health, and supporting teachers

When thinking about barriers to education, worrying about getting injured biking to school and not being about to receive treatment nearby may not be top-of-mind. However, in rural Mali, young students not having reliable access to basic medical care at their school has caused many to miss class, repeat a year, or even dropout entirely.

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The thrill of visiting the Gualapuro water project in person

I recently returned from my first visit to Ecuador. I had the opportunity to be a member of The Tandana Foundation Gardening Volunteer Venture. I am thankful I made the trip. The week provided many memorable moments, none of which exceeded the “special visit” arranged by Founding Director Anna for me to visit the community of Gualapuro.

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Four Ash B. Varma, M.D. scholars report on their experiences over the past year

Helping to fill a void for trained healthcare providers in rural Mali, several students in the Ash B. Varma, M.D. Scholarship Program are well on their way to becoming needed medical professionals. Thanks to the scholarship support, the students, who are enrolled in professional training programs, are learning important skills and gaining experience caring for patients.

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Water is life: Community water projects at Panecillo and San Juan de Inguincho

The Tandana Foundation’s Gardening Volunteer Venture team hit the ground running on its first day of engagement with communities around Otavalo, Ecuador. After a thorough orientation (and marvelous Ecuadorian lunch), we began activities with a brisk hike up to the highland village of Panecillo, where we met with the president of the local water board and the project operations technician who have recently completed a crucial phase of a new sanitary system that brings fresh water down from the mountains and into the homes of families in five communities. 

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How Mateo heard for the first time

As Community Health and Well-Being Coordinator for The Tandana Foundation in Ecuador, I have the chance to work with many patients and support them in accessing all kinds of important medical treatments. I want to share the story of one young patient that made a great impression on me. Mateo Torres is a three-year-old boy from the community of Agualongo, who could not hear, speak, or walk when I met him. 

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Meet Ñusta – A Tandana Scholar

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Building trusting relationships to advance the mission: Meet Tandana’s new Development Director

Rick O’Hara is no stranger to The Tandana Foundation, having served as a board member since the organization’s inception 15 years ago. But, in May, O’Hara stepped down from the Tandana board to take on a new, more public-facing role as its first Development Director.

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Hear stories about the benefits of the Sal Health Center to children

Since the Sal Heath Center was opened in Mali earlier this year, many patients from around the Sal Sector’s five villages have been receiving needed medical care. Many of those patients have been children, who previously lacked access to local and reliable healthcare. The center, which was made possible through the efforts of village residents in partnership with The Tandana Foundation and its generous donors, is now providing care to those children and relieving the danger and worries associated with traveling to far away health centers.

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‘The women of the Sal Sector welcome with great joy the arrival of the Sal Health Center’

The new Sal Health Center in Mali is now providing women with access to prenatal and maternity care as well as routine and other necessary procedures, including recently starting free vaccination clinics for children and infants. Safe and reliable access to these services was long-desired by the Sal Sector’s residents before the center’s opening, as women used to travel long distances or rely on irregular visits by vaccination providers to receive such care. It was also one of the major motivations behind a great effort undertaken by The Tandana Foundation with the sector’s five villages to construct the center.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Weaving Friendships

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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A standing ovation: Tandana’s Summer School returns in-person to great success this year

After being held virtually for two years, The Tandana Foundation’s Summer School program in Ecuador returned to in-person instruction this year. Among those happiest to be back in-person was Hank Fincken, who has taught a theatre course to students during seven iterations of Tandana’s Summer School.

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The need for a school in the village of Dani

The village of Dani in the Bandiagara District of Mali has 240 students spanning six grade levels and three teachers assigned to deliver their education; however, there is no elementary school for the students and teachers in Dani. As a result, the teachers have to find space wherever they can to conduct their classes and educate their students outside a classroom environment.

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Finding answers to a severe medical issue, while also helping a family

The following story was written by Virginia Sánchez, the Community Health and Well-being Coordinator for The Tandana Foundation in Ecuador, about a patient she assisted in getting needed medical care.

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The positive feedback on the urgent pond expansion work in Mali

With a food crisis worsening in their region, residents of villages around the Dogon Plateau of Mali have taken up shovels and other tools to expand a number of stock ponds by hand so that more water can be conserved during the rainy season and used for gardening and livestock. Their efforts toward food security are part of an innovative plan being carried out by the village-run Olouguelemo Association and supported by The Tandana Foundation, which has launched a campaign to raise an additional $28,000 to allow for more ponds to be expanded.

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Tandana introduces new Public Health Volunteer Venture in Ecuador this fall

The Tandana Foundation is shifting to a new format for its health and well-being-focused volunteer and intercultural learning program in Ecuador. The new program, called Public Health Volunteer Venture, will allow participants to support public health initiatives in rural Ecuadorian communities, such as leading health education activities and helping with clean water projects that prevent disease, along with immersing themselves in the local culture.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Tandana Tantanakuymanta

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Tandana launches fundraising campaign to help communities in Mali combat urgent food crisis

A combination of geopolitical events, political instability and violence, and the effects of climate change is causing a food crisis to intensify in Mali. The impact of this food crisis is being especially felt in the remote Dogon Plateau of Mali, where many people have fled to escape conflict in other areas, and staple grains such as millet have disappeared from markets.

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Hear from six more Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D. Scholarship students

Last year, The Tandana Foundation welcomed 18 motivated and inspiring students into its first cohort of students in the Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D. Scholarship Program in Mali. Made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D., the new scholarship program helps students from rural Mali learn professions that are very needed in the rural communities, such as healthcare and agrofrestry.

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When you support a woman to be a teacher, you support much more

The school in Andjine, Mali has three teachers assigned by the government, but the number of students in first through sixth grades at the school keeps growing. Salimata Karembe, who is from Andjine and trained as a teacher, began volunteering to help the school. Now, she is contracted as a local teacher for the third and fourth grades. The Tandana Foundation covers half of Salimata’s salary, while the parents pay the other half, so that she can continue at the school. Salimata also participated in Tandana’s women’s literacy and leadership programs and is a great role model for the students.

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A scholarship recipient who is determined to be a prestigious businesswoman

My full name is Cindy Belen Perugachi Sinchico, and I am from the community of Yambiro. I am studying advertising at the Tecnica del Norte University in Ibarra. I am 19 years old, and I am of indigenous nationality (Kichwa). With all my heart I hope that you and your whole family are doing very well, and also that all your dreams and goals become possible because with the help of God everything is possible.

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The expat volunteer helping Tandana bring clean water to rural Ecuadorian communities

Rockey Anderson knew he wanted to make a positive difference when he retired; however, building water systems in rural Ecuador had never crossed his mind.  

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Quichinche-Sharon Exchange Part 2: Celebrating a successful collaboration and enriching cultural exchange

This year, The Tandana Foundation organized a virtual exchange program connecting Sharon High School students in the U.S. with students at the Ulpiano Navarro School in Quichinche, Ecuador.  Through the program, the students from both schools were able to learn about each other and also work together to improve the Ulpiano Navarro School’s building.

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Quichinche-Sharon Exchange Part 1: Celebrating a successful collaboration and enriching cultural exchange

This year, The Tandana Foundation organized a virtual exchange program connecting Sharon High School students in the U.S. with students at the Ulpiano Navarro School in Quichinche, Ecuador.  Through the program, the students from both schools were able to learn about each other and also work together to improve the Ulpiano Navarro School’s building.

Continue reading “Quichinche-Sharon Exchange Part 1: Celebrating a successful collaboration and enriching cultural exchange”