A reminder that our power as humans lies in our relationships

 

It’s no secret that the life of a college student is hectic. This year, especially, I have become caught up in the hamster wheel of success and looking towards what is next. It seems like there are always essay deadlines and group project meetings. My Google calendar is filled with notifications and obligations. I have found myself asking, does my full schedule reflect how full my life is? Continue reading “A reminder that our power as humans lies in our relationships”

A look at the multiple phases of the community projects volunteers work on

The highlight of any Tandana volunteer venture is the community project. This is a project proposed by community members and then paired with an upcoming volunteer group that will best be able to contribute. As a Program Coordinator for The Tandana Foundation, it is one of my responsibilities to facilitate and organize the logistics of working on a project with community members and volunteers. We like to be upfront about what the expectations are for what a group can realistically accomplish during their stay. Continue reading “A look at the multiple phases of the community projects volunteers work on”

Ecuador experience an honor for volunteer gardeners

Earlier this year, The Tandana Foundation hosted a group of members from the Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers program. Pam Bennett, the Ohio State Master Gardener Program Director, wrote about about her experience on the trip in the Dayton Daily News. Her article is below. Continue reading “Ecuador experience an honor for volunteer gardeners”

Medical care from the heart that never gives up

When you live in the high Andes of Ecuador at an altitude of 9,000 feet, where your eyes are subjected to intense solar rays, cold winds blowing off the peaks, and the thick volcanic dust that that for thousands of years has grown the staple foods of corn and potatoes, a film can begin to grow over the eyes, rather like a cataract, severely diminishing your vision. Luz Maria Campos and her husband, Luis, began to realize that something was not right with her eyes, although they didn’t understand exactly what was wrong. Continue reading “Medical care from the heart that never gives up”

Its not work, it’s a lifestyle

I had been walking among indigenous communities and people of many different hues for some years when one day, on the slopes of the Tayta Imbabura, I crossed paths with a Yachak of the Kichwa Otavalo nationality who told me: “You have to plant seeds, wherever you step, wherever you go. You have to plant seeds. Always leave something of you wherever you go, and let others plant seeds in you wherever you go.” Continue reading “Its not work, it’s a lifestyle”

From hacienda to commune to cooperating farm families

Jose Sanchez is an indigenous farmer who grew up working in the fields of a newly formed commune and was optimistically helping organize the former share-croppers that had been liberated from huasipungo, ‘serfdom,’ in the 1960’s. He lives in Cotacachi, a town of 8,000 located a few miles from Otavalo, and with his wife maintains and manages (at a low salary) a beautiful guest house owned by an absentee landlord long resettled in Quito. His mother is still the owner of a small cornfield in the lands of the former hacienda, but it is not mechanized and doesn’t produce much crops or income. The net result of the ‘liberation’ of the sharecroppers is that they, as before the 1960’s, do all the work and yet remain quite poor. Continue reading “From hacienda to commune to cooperating farm families”

I learn to become more human while working to benefit others

My name is Veronica Pazmiño and, for around five years, I’ve been in charge of the scholarship program for The Tandana Foundation. Tandana for me is an opportunity, because I’m not just working with students, also, I’m supporting families, communities, and creating strong relationship with communities around Quichinche Parish in Ecuador. Continue reading “I learn to become more human while working to benefit others”

Tandana needs your help to support its community partners through the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading quickly throughout the world, affecting all of us in different ways. It landed quickly in Ecuador, started spreading, and is now on the doorstep of the communities The Tandana Foundation partners with. In Mali, it arrived later, but now, with a growing number of recorded cases, sharing information about the disease is urgent. Continue reading “Tandana needs your help to support its community partners through the COVID-19 pandemic”

Quichinche Hopers: Women Lawyers and Justice in Northern Ecuador

Hope Taft, former first lady of the State of Ohio and now President of The Tandana Foundation, believes in the possibility of changing society and people’s lives for the better. Her letterhead prominently features the phrase “Ohio Hoper.” Gladys Perugachi, an indigenous woman in the Kichwa-speaking region of Ecuador, is a kindred spirit, committed to a more just society, which in that country has been very slowly becoming a hard-fought reality. Continue reading “Quichinche Hopers: Women Lawyers and Justice in Northern Ecuador”

The value of others’ different experiences, appreciating life outside our own city bubble

I had the opportunity to experience a trip facilitated by The Tandana Foundation to the community of Gualapuro, Ecuador, for my first spring break of college as part of the Northeastern University Alliance for Civically Engaged Students (ACES). I was stoked to experience a new culture and meet new people, but in preparing for traveling something continued to bother me. Continue reading “The value of others’ different experiences, appreciating life outside our own city bubble”

Tandana to offer Virtual Ventures to Ecuador and Mali in April

With travel and social distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Tandana Foundation is launching a free series of Virtual Venture trips to Ecuador and Mali this April. Each one-hour video conference will have a different topic and provide participants with the opportunity to talk with Tandana’s staff and friends from its partner communities, watch videos, and hear about recent work the organization is doing in the countries. Continue reading “Tandana to offer Virtual Ventures to Ecuador and Mali in April”

Two patients’ stories from participating in Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Program

If patients require additional care or larger medical procedures, such as surgery, after visiting one of the health care clinics organized by The Tandana Foundation in rural Ecuador, they enter the organization’s Patient Follow Up Program. Through this program, Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Coordinator Virginia Sanchez helps patients obtain such care by helping them navigate the public health system and advocating for them. In the following videos, two patients in the program share their experiences and gratitude in receiving their needed medical care. Continue reading “Two patients’ stories from participating in Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Program”

This scholarship student is already achieving great accomplishments while still in school

Ahyni Shayarina Oyagata Torres is a hard-worker, president of her school’s student council, and the recipient of a Tandana scholarship. In the following letter, she shares her story and how the scholarship has impacted the lives of herself and her family. Continue reading “This scholarship student is already achieving great accomplishments while still in school”

Safe drinking water: ‘Something magical for our children’

Gualapuro is just five minutes from the Otavalo, city limits, a city of 32,500 in Ecuador, but it has never had clean drinking water. This indigenous community of about 350 people has a natural spring on its lands at the bottom of a cliff, a water source that is the clearest and cleanest in the canton. Since it is below the community, however, it would require pumping to get it up to the homes. So, instead of drinking pure, health-giving water, through countless generations the community has relied on the runoff from a swampy pasture near the town. Continue reading “Safe drinking water: ‘Something magical for our children’”

A creative chronicle of a volunteer’s trip to Ecuador

During a Tandana Foundation volunteer trip with the Ohio Masters Gardener group last year, Ed Gasbarre kept a journal chronicling what he did each day. From helping out on a farm to visiting with school children, and sampling the local cuisine, Ed creatively documented each experience with photos and drawings alongside his written description. Read excerpts from his journal below. Continue reading “A creative chronicle of a volunteer’s trip to Ecuador”

Lindsey Wilson College scholars share their service trip to Ecuador with Tandana via social media

Eleven students and two leaders from Lindsey Wilson College’s Bonner Scholar program recently traveled to Ecuador on a cultural learning and service trip organized by The Tandana Foundation. While living, working, and exploring the rural highland region, the hard-working group posted frequent updates on what they did each day onto their social media accounts. Below are the posts they shared with their followers. Continue reading “Lindsey Wilson College scholars share their service trip to Ecuador with Tandana via social media”

Forming bonds of friendship while working, playing together in Motilón Chupa

A group a students from ARCC, an organization that designs and operates programs exclusively for students, recently participated in a cultural learning and service trip with The Tandana Foundation in Motilón Chupa, Ecuador. During the week-long trip, the students were engaged with local community members through living, working, and playing alongside them via such activities as building a water tank, preparing pizza, and visiting with school children. As the group wrote in the following blog post, first posted on ARCC’s website, this engagement led to the creation of lasting bonds between themselves and the community members. Continue reading “Forming bonds of friendship while working, playing together in Motilón Chupa”

A scholarship student motivated to create a better world

Sisa Lissbeth Panamá Mármol is an ambitious student, pursuing a difficult major in mechanical engineering with a scholarship from The Tandana Foundation. She has likewise challenging long-term goals for herself – to combat the destruction of the environment. In the following letter, Sisa shares her story and thanks the Tandana donors who provided her with a scholarship to attend college and assist her in achieving her dreams. Continue reading “A scholarship student motivated to create a better world”

Making colada morada with my family!

Traditional food and drink are important aspects of a community’s culture. When volunteers travel to Ecuador and Mali with The Tandana Foundation, they are immersed in the local cultures of the communities they stay in, and often have the opportunity to not only sample the local cuisine, but also learn how to make it. In the following, Sarah Rothschild, Tandana’s Program Leader Fellow in Ecuador, shares the history and recipe behind a special holiday treat, called colada morada, prepared by her host mother, Mercedes Perugachi.
Continue reading “Making colada morada with my family!”

Showing her children what can be accomplished through education

University student Maria Cecilia Morales Tamayo has sought to set an example for her daughters on what can be accomplished when you have a goal in mind and the importance of education. In the letter below, Cecilia expressess her thanks to The Tandana Foundation sponsors who helped her continue her studies and complete her accounting degree by supporting her with a scholarship. Continue reading “Showing her children what can be accomplished through education”

A job teaching others, and learning so much in return

The Tommo So literacy, numeracy, and leadership classes organized by The Tandana Foundation have trained more than 1,400 women in rural Mali and impacted thousands of more lives. Besides empowering and changing the lives of the students in the classes, the program has also created new and transformative jobs as instructors for other community members and even previous students themselves. One instructor, Hama Kansaye, describes what he has learned as a result of being trained as an instructor, and how the role has impacted his life below. Continue reading “A job teaching others, and learning so much in return”

‘They help me, without me giving them anything’

The Tandana’s Foundation’s Patient Follow Up Program helps patients who have visited the health care clinics the foundation organizes in rural Ecuador to access additional care they may need from lab tests to specialists, surgeries, and eyeglasses. In the above video, one patient, Tania Fuerez, who utilized the Patient Follow Up Program, expresses her gratitude for the support she received from Tandana. Through the program, Tania was able to help gain access to surgery to remove a tumor in her jaw, which alleviated the pain and discomfort she was feeling. Continue reading “‘They help me, without me giving them anything’”

Summer school makes learning fun

The Tandana Foundation puts on a summer school program for secondary school students in Panecillo, Ecuador, every year. During summer school, the students learn English and other subjects through a variety of classes and activities that are part of the program. Continue reading “Summer school makes learning fun”

Many reasons to finish school

Finishing high school is important, but the fees associated with attending school are hard for many families in rural highland Ecuador to afford. Thanks to a scholarship from The Tandana FoundationJefferson Adrián Quilumbango Marcillo will be able to graduate. He explains the many things he believes education makes possible in the following. Continue reading “Many reasons to finish school”

Passion, education, and talent are a recipe for success

Not everyone finds their passion for what they want to do in life as a teenager. However, 15-year-old Elvis Rolando Marcillo Pinsag has already discovered his love of working in restaurants. In the following, Elvis explains how a scholarship from The Tandana Foundation is helping him continue his high school studies and work towards his dream of one day being a chef. Continue reading “Passion, education, and talent are a recipe for success”

‘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”

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 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!’”

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”