In 2020, 225 out of 294 women earned passing scores on their final exams in the literacy courses organized by The Tandana Foundation in Mali. At 76.5%, this number is slightly lower than the original goal of 80%, but it is still quite impressive considering that the women missed two months of classes due to the pandemic. Despite the challenges of the last year, both the students and teachers rallied to make the classes as successful as possible. In addition, 80 of the best students are now participating in women’s leadership workshops in 2021.Continue reading “Overcoming traditional barriers – and a pandemic – to gain literacy, numeracy, and leadership skills”
Playing with cousins and neighborhood friends in the town river, a player on several basketball teams, her high school’s best chemistry student, and a traditionally clad member of an Andean dance troupe, María Belén Cachimuel’s early years suggested that she would use her many talents to become a versatile woman with a clear role in her community. She began by helping her family to make and sell crafts in the Plaza des Ponchos, a famous local handicrafts market. At thirty, recently graduated from law school and learning the practical side of her profession on the job, she is fully living up to expectations. Her long-term goal, though, was decisively shaped by the time she spent volunteering for Tandana’s twice-a-year medical clinics for underserved people in outlying indigenous communities around Otavalo, Ecuador.Continue reading “Belén and the Medical Clinics”
Mónica López is a young woman with a strong faith in God, as evidenced by the t-shirt she wore to our interview, featuring a representation of the Lion of Judah. Like the Lion, her faith has given her the strength and determination needed to succeed. The following is Monica’s story, told in her own words, and excerpted from the interview.Continue reading “How faith, family, and funding opens doors”
Thanks to sponsorship by the O’Donnell Visiting Educator Program and the Center for Global Studies at Whitman College, Associate Professor of Biology Leena Knight and Founding Director of The Tandana Foundation, Anna Taft (Whitman ‘02), organized a course titled Health in Ecuador and Mali: Pandemic, Race, Culture that took place remotely this fall for Whitman College students.Continue reading “Bringing global perspectives and multiple forms of knowledge to higher education”
To continue to support education in Ecuador, The Tandana Foundation worked especially hard this year to offer its annual summer school program despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.Continue reading “It was a success: Tandana’s first virtual summer school in Ecuador”
Cristina Fuerez and her younger sister Margarita were born and raised in a traditional, mudbrick cabin on a small farm near the village of Panecillo, Ecuador. Small and dark, having only a single room without windows, plumbing or electricity, the house still stands high on a sloping parcel of hillside that their paternal grandfather managed to secure, in a two-year legal struggle. In the 1960´s, he was forced to walk the seventy miles to Quito several times to obtain the necessary legal papers, when Ecuador finally abolished sharecropping serfdom, known as huasipungo. Many of his indigenous neighbors didn’t manage it and lost the land they had occupied for generations. That grandfather’s spirited defense of his rights, despite obstacles, lives on in his granddaughters. Continue reading “Independence through education and determination”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Tandana Foundation has been supporting our community partners in Mali through conducting education about prevention measures, assembling and distributing hand-washing stations, and providing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to a hospital and local health centers. Members of the Tandana team have also recorded a radio broadcast with public health information that has aired across the Bandiagara District. Below three community leaders share the impact of this work and express their gratitude for the foundation’s support. Continue reading “The impact of Tandana’s COVID-19 response in Mali”
The Tandana Foundation organizes and supports a number of women’s programs in the Bandiagara District of Mali, including literacy, numeracy, and leadership courses and income-generating activities. The following blog contains a recent update from a literacy and leadership student who shares a story of what she was able to accomplish through participating in the courses. Continue reading “Newfound confidence and abilities”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
A language is an important part of any culture, along with the identity of its people. The ability to speak, read, and write allows a community to communicate with one another and conduct business and everyday transactions. Despite being told otherwise, Sophie Sorgho learned that Tommo So, a language spoken by the Dogon people of Mali, has great value thanks to her participation in literacy classes organized by The Tandana Foundation in her village. In the following, Sophie shares her story. Continue reading “Tommo So – a language of unimaginable value”
Cellphones are an important means of communication for many people around the world, but being able to use them requires the ability to read what is displayed on the screens. In a recent conversation, one prospective student speaks with Kessia Kouriba, a literacy teacher for The Tandana Foundation in Mali, about her desire to take the Tommo So literacy classes in order to be able to operate her phone. Continue reading “The importance of literacy for using cellphones”
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.
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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’”
Through the generous support of its donors, providing scholarships is one important way the Tandana Foundation assists promising students in pursuing their educational aspirations. Each student’s story is unique, along with their future career goals. In the following, Sisa Pacari Fuerez López recounts her family’s struggles to pay for the children’s schooling, and shares how Tandana’s scholarship has helped ease their financial burden and enabled Sisa and her siblings to continue advancing in their education. Continue reading “Easing the financial burden of education”
After women in the village of Kansongho told the Tandana Foundation that they would like to learn literacy and numeracy skills, so that they could keep records for their businesses and be independent in the marketplace, Tandana began the Tommo So literacy program in 2012. When women in neighboring villages saw what women in Kansongho were learning, they too, asked to participate, and that demand has continued to spread. To date, Tandana has provided classes to 1,117 women in 29 villages thanks to support from Dining for Women. In 2018, the foundation added women’s leadership workshops for former literacy students from each village to its offerings and supported these leaders in creating official women’s associations. Each new association was invited to submit a proposal for an income-generating enterprise, and the ten best proposals were selected to receive funding. The following letter was written by Assatou Goudienkile, on behalf of the women from the village of Nounou, explaining how their participation in the literacy and women’s leadership programs has helped them become self-reliant. Continue reading “‘We see clearly, we hear, we walk’”
My name is Joseph White and I’m a student going into my fourth year at the University of Cincinnati. I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Africana Studies and Sociology. I’m the first in my family to attend college, so a lot of my time at the university has been spent building a network of people that are already doing the things that I want to do. My success begins on a small scale. A college education is not the standard in my family. Continue reading “Language barriers and Tandana”
My name is Gladys Estefania Torres Imba. I am 20 years old and I live with my parents and my three brothers, 3 kilometers from the city of Otavalo, in the community of Panecillo. I am the only daughter in my family . My father is a bricklayer and my mother is a housewife. She did not have the opportunity to go to school, and my father only went to school until third grade, which is why he works in that profession. However, they have worked hard so that my brothers and I can receive an education. All my brothers are studying at school. One of my brothers receives a scholarship from the Tandana Foundation, just like me. Being the only daughter, I am the first in the family that is going forward with university studies.
During a series of workshops on women’s leadership sponsored by The Tandana Foundation and made possible through support from Dining for Women, participants learned how to form and lead women’s associations and also shared their experiences in leadership. In rural regions of Mali, women are rarely well represented in township councils. To encourage more women to seek these community leadership positions, Oumou Kansaye used examples from her experience in politics to inspire other women during one of the workshops. In the following, Oumou Kansaye tells her story, including desribing a speech where she argued for the equal treatment of female leaders from rural communities. Continue reading “Advocating for gender equality in local elections”
In a very remote area, approximately 25 kilometers from the city of Otavalo, a small community called Padre Chupa is located, which is home to more than 40 families.
The following is a letter written by Kessia Kouriba, a teacher in the women’s literacy program sponsored by the Tandana Foundation with support from Dining for Women in partnership with the Alpha Formation Traduction et Conception Documentaire au Pays Dogon (AFTCD/PD), a technical linguistic service in Bandiagara, Mali. Kessia highlights the importance of women taking leadership roles and overcoming traditional gender barriers, just as she has done.
Hello members and supporters of the Tandana Foundation, Continue reading “A woman leading by example to inspire others”
Elé is from the village of Dianweli, about 7 km from Yarou-Plateau. He attended secondary school in Bourgouma, 3 km from his village. He is certified with a technician’s diploma (BT) from the professional school of Kayes in western Mali.
Elé composed the following passage about his experience as a subidized teacher and how the Tandana Foundation teamed with the local residents to ensure he was able to receive payment for his work and stay teaching in rural Yarou-Plateau. Continue reading “Joining together to keep a special teacher in rural Mali”
Being able to read words and understand numbers help women in Mali shop at the market independently and succeed in their work. The Tandana Foundation has partnered with members of 30 villages to establish literacy and numeracy classes – thanks to support from Dining for Women – that teach women to read, recognize numbers and count, improving their abilities to support their families. Below are comments from two women whose lives have changed through their participation in these classes. Continue reading “Teaching literacy to empower women in Mali”
Saminay is a high school that is located approximately 15 miles from Otavalo, in the community of Inguincho. The surrounding mountains allow a beautiful and unique view, which provides the surrounding area with peace and tranquility in the midst of nature. Continue reading “Supporting innovative education at Saminay school”
Por Mario Esteban Perugachi Perugachi
Soy Mario Esteban Perugachi Perugachi, tengo 29 años. Mi familia está conformada por mi esposa, mi hija y yo. Actualmente vivimos en la ciudad de Quito por motivos de trabajo, pero nosotros pertenecemos a la comunidad de Agualongo, lo que queda aproximadamente a 5 kilómetros de la ciudad de Otavalo. Para la mantención de mi hogar y mis estudios, trabajo haciendo mantenimiento de jardín. Aunque requiere mucho esfuerza y por el momento soy el único en la familia que sigue los estudios, estoy orgullosamente estudiando con el apoyo de Tandana y la motivación de la familia. Continue reading “Meet Mario: A Scholarship Student Excelling in His Studies”
Por Yarick Santiago Méndez Fuerez
Mi nombre es Yarick Santiago Méndez Fuerez. Tengo 21 años. Vivo en la ciudad de Quito por cuestiones del estudio, pero soy de la comunidad de Motilón Chupa, la cual se ubica a 35 Kms. de la ciudad de Otavalo. Mi familia se conforma por tres hijas, tres hijos y mis padres, yo soy el segundo hijo y el primero de la familia que estoy en la universidad. Continue reading “Meet Yarick: A Scholarship Student Who Is the First in His Family to Attend University”
Por Rosa Saravino
Mi nombre es Rosa Saravino soy Directora de la Escuela Intercultural Bilingüe “Ati Pillahuasu,” que pertenece a la comunidad de Panecillo. Yo no soy de esta comunidad pero trabajo más de 30 años en este lugar y conozco a la mayoría de los padres de familia y ellos a mi. Esta escuelita empezó con dos profesores en el año de 1980 más o menos y con una cantidad de 15 estudiantes aproximadamente, estas clases para los primeros estudiantes de la comunidad funcionaba en una casa comunal muy antiguo, en un solo aula, con sus mesas y sillas improvisadas, conforme aumentaron mas estudiantes, la comunidad ha logrado conseguir una casa con dos aulas, después una casa más, así poco a poco la escuela se ha construido con ayudas por parte del gobierno, de otros fundaciones y organizaciones. Continue reading “Parents and Volunteers Build a Wall to Protect Bilingual School”