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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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Nayeli’s Story of Healing

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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American and Ecuadorian students work together to raise money for music and art supplies for a school in Ecuador

After participating in a virtual exchange program organized by The Tandana Foundation, students from Sharon High School in Massachusetts in the United States were motivated to launch a months-long fundraising effort for and with their new friends at the Jaime Roldos Aguilera Intercultural Bilingual school in Urkusiki, Ecuador.

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Behind the scenes: Tandana’s Ecuador accountant’s work through the pandemic

As our commitment as a foundation is to help scholarship students, we have been opening the doors of the office so that students can come and use The Tandana Foundation’s internet and computers to do their homework.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Happy Birthday, Tandana!

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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Visual evidence of the impact of the Olouguelemo Environmental Association’s work

The Olouguelemo Environmental Association has grown to include 24 villages in Wadouba Township who work together on many initiatives to protect the environment and promote food security. One of their important efforts involves teaching how to use stone contour lines to prevent soil erosion and check runoff so that water soaks into the soil. They have built more than 10,000 meters worth of erosion control features. During the current rainy season, the effects of these contour lines are visually clear.

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The Tandana Foundation Celebrates 15 Years of Weaving Intercultural Friendships and Strengthening Communities

This year marks the 15th anniversary of The Tandana Foundation, an international nonprofit that partners with rural communities in Ecuador and Mali to foster strong intercultural relationships and support local initiatives. As Tandana has grown since its founding in 2006, the organization has continued to increase its global impact and strengthen its community partnerships in both countries.

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The play must go on: Tandana Summer School’s theatre instructor chronicles an unforgettable experience to put on the annual production this year

For the past six years, Tandana Summer School students in the theatre course taught by Hank Fincken have put on a play as a fun way to practice their understanding of drama skills they were introduced to throughout the summer. This summer, the course – and the play – were conducted virtually. In a series of Facebook posts, Fincken provided status reports of their work to make the play a success, including the challenges posed by Zoom and what he and the students learned from the experience. As he tells students, “Theatre is a team sport that needs no losers.”

At the end, be sure to check out the play that Fincken and the students performed. It was performed in Spanish and has English subtitles.

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Aaron DiMartino: the man quietly leading Tandana by ensuring everything goes right

The mission has always been at the heart of each and every role Aaron DiMartino, who is entering his sixth year as operations director of The Tandana Foundation, has held.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Environmental Programs

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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The impact of knowing that someone cares

Like the rest of the world, university student and Tandana scholarship recipient Jhanina Orbes’ life was changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the following letter, Orbes describes how, as she adjusted to online classes, she also learned to appreciate other aspects of her life more, including spending time with family and having the support of a Tandana donor to help her continue her studies.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Confronting COVID-19

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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The importance of the Gualapuro water project to its residents

For more than two decades the community members of Gualapuro, Ecuador, lacked access to clean drinking water. Without safe water in their community, many residents developed illnesses and had to buy drinking water elsewhere. However, the Gualapuro community never gave up on their dream of clean water. Finally, in December of 2020, the dream of safe drinking water came true upon the completion of a years-long project they worked on in partnership with The Tandana Foundation. In the following blog, four community members share their experiences before and after having clean water. At the end of the post, there is a video featuring many of the people involved in the Gualapuro water project.

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A look inside Tandana’s virtual ESL program

Learning a new language can be difficult for anyone. There are so many new words to learn and conjugations to memorize. Nevertheless, everyone in Tandana’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program this school year managed to learn and teach one another about their different languages and cultures.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Water

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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Looking back on 23 years of special connections

As The Tandana Foundation approaches its 15th anniversary, I’m taking a look back at the experience that planted the seeds for its creation so long ago—my first visit to Ecuador in 1998. Twenty-three years ago, I traveled to Otavalo as a volunteer with Global Routes and spent four months in the community of Panecillo. Many of the people I met then have become important members and partners of Tandana, while experiences with community work then led to future projects that Tandana has been involved in with many communities. And, I was introduced to some traditions that I continue to enjoy. In honor of this anniversary, I decided to pull out some photos from that time and reflect on how those special connections have developed over the years.

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Ninari Chimba: activist and role model

Through its partnerships with communities in Ecuador and Mali, The Tandana Foundation has learned about many inspiring individuals who are also working to make a positive difference in the places they live. The following blog post tells the story of one of those individuals: Ninari Chimba, an activist for the advancement of LGBT rights and environmental protection.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: The Opportunity of Education

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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How friendship saves cultures

Despite the pandemic restricting the ability to see one another in person, students at Sharon High School in Massachusetts in the United States and the Jaime Roldos Aguilera Intercultural Bilingual school in Urkusiki, Ecuador, have still become friends – sharing their cultures, favorite activities, and pets with one another by sending each other videos and participating in regular Zoom calls.

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A scholarship student successfully tackles a challenging semester of remote learning

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schooling in Ecuador switched to virtual formats. Students like Amauta Condorazo Quilumbango Espinosa, a Tandana Foundation scholarship recipient, had to adapt to this new way of learning. In the following letter, Amauta describes a recent semester at his university, including the courses he took and how he took advantage of extra free time to give back and help Tandana.

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A strong family committed to higher education and changing lives

When their youngest son, David, was five, the Cachimuel family moved to the Cotama indigenous community just outside of Otavalo. He played baseball and soccer with friends and swam in the nearby river.  The river – at that time crystal clear, but now seriously polluted by a factory – flows out of San Pablo Lake and cascades over the spectacular ritual falls at the famous craft village of Peguche. He attended a Catholic elementary school in Otavalo, learning from excellent secular teachers and attending mass on Sundays.  There was tension in the family, but shared affection remained strong. It was a happy childhood and a firm foundation for a thoughtful life, one centered on learning how to teach others to deal with the circumstances into which they are born.  Now 28, David has just completed a job in social work, counseling young people to continue their schooling; now he is looking for another job, working in a human resources department for a town or an indigenous community.

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Healthcare in Otavalo Canton, Ecuador

As a public health professional, I have always been interested in health care systems in Latin America, specifically with a focus on health disparities.

I have volunteered most of my life, while working full-time. I enjoy volunteering and have done so for many years. I had stopped for a while to reflect on my next opportunity, what I wanted to do next. Recently I came across The Tandana Foundation website and read about what they do and their mission. When I talked with Maria Jose, (the Ecuador Program Manager) I thought this was perfect for me as I would get a first-hand view of health care in Otavalo, the available resources, and types of care that the community receives.

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A dream come true: clean water in the community of Gualapuro

After many decades, clean water finally arrived in the community of Gualapuro, Ecuador. The following blog describes the long-time efforts to bring water to this community, including the partnership with The Tandana Foundation.

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