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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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”

Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: A New Health Center

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 scholarship student advances her learning – and helps others learn too

Lady Pazmiño, a university student who received a scholarship from The Tandana Foundation, wrote the following letter. In the letter, Lady describes what she accomplished during a semester last year, including an impactful new role she took on as a teacher for children with learning disabilities, and shares her thanks for the support of her academic journey.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Friendship is a Journey Together

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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Forming multicultural friendships between North American and Ecuadorian students

To say that connecting with the students at the Ulpiano Navarro School in Quichinche, Ecuador, was a privilege would be an understatement. The experience taught us sophomores at Sharon High School to look at life from a new perspective and pave a path of awareness about the people in this diverse world.

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All about the new “mural of my dreams” at the La Joya Special Education School

In November 2021, Tandana finished creating a mural with and for the students at the La Joya Special Education School in Otavalo, Ecuador.

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A creative scholarship student reflects on the 2021 school year

Hello everyone, I am happy to say hello in this new year. I want to say that I have been studying virtually for three semesters, that is, since the pandemic began. It has not been easy at all, but I have gotten used to it. In 2021, I finished one semester in April and started a new one in June.

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What we learned about tukti: the endangered Andean Walnut traditionally valued by Kichwa communities

Ecuador is home to an incredible diversity of plants, with about 17,000 species distributed between the Pacific coast, the Amazon, and the Andean mountains. The Andes region is the most diverse of the country and is precisely where the Quichinche parish, home to the partner communities of the Tandana Foundation, is located. One of the most iconic species from this area – and of all the Ecuadorian Andean region – is the Andean walnut locally known as tukti (in Kichwa), nogal or cedro negro (in Spanish) or Juglans neotropica (scientific name). Tukti is a slow-growth, broadleaf tree that can reach up to 30 meters in height. It can be found throughout the Andes in Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia where it inhabits forest between 1,400 meters and 2,200 meters of altitude.

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Exploring cultural similarities and differences through food                            

Traveling to another country is always a special experience because it means discovering a new place with its own culture, its art and its traditional dishes. Local gastronomy is an integral part of a journey of discovery and can easily reveal the habits and customs of a society. But even if you choose to eat in the best restaurants abroad, deep down you will still miss the authentic approach to the local food culture.

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The important work accomplished through the Community Health and Well-being Program in 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to change the planning in the Community Health and Well-being program, since the mobile medical clinics in the communities have been canceled. In no way can we think that for this reason the cases of diseases have decreased; it is quite the opposite. They have increased because people in the communities do not seek timely medical help due to the fear of becoming infected (by the coronavirus).

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Tandana receives $13,000 in grant funding and donations for its Community Health and Well-being Program

The Tandana Foundation recently received a $3,000 grant from the Altrusa International Foundation Inc. – an organization committed to improve the economic well-being and quality of life through the foundation’s commitment to community service and literacy – for its Community Health and Well-being Program in Ecuador. Along with the Altrusa grant, Tandana also received a $5,000 donation from the Mancos United Methodist Church in Colorado and $5,000 from Dr. Tom Scott for this program.

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Grateful: Making my dream come true thanks to a Tandana scholarship

My name is Fernando Javier Lascano Trujillo. I was born in the community of Gualsaqui, which belongs to the Quichinche Parish in Ecuador, where nature, animals, and the unique landscapes make each of us live deeply grateful to the Pachamama (Mother Earth).

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Two perspectives: The student and teacher experience of Tandana’s ESL program

The remote English as a Second Language (ESL) internship offered by The Tandana Foundation is a way to connect university students in the organization’s scholarship program in Ecuador with interns who want to teach English. Interns and students are paired based on their availability and meet once or twice a week for about an hour. Together, they work together to decide what material they would like to learn and practice and the class is tailored to their shared interests and needs. 

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About the Cutambi community and how Tandana supported the construction of its community center

The following narrative about the Cutambi community in Ecuador and the construction of a community center there was shared by Fausto Montalvo, the community’s president, and Fabiola Matango, a community member.

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A letter of thanks from a Tandana Scholarship student motivated to teach others in her family and community

Dear Tandana Foundation:

Best regards to all who participate in this beautiful foundation. You do not understand how grateful I am right now, and I will always be proud to have been part of The Tandana Foundation and its scholarship program.

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