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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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.

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The revitalization of an important cultural practice in Mali

Indigo dyeing is proving to be a profitable way for women to earn money across the Wadouba Township of Mali, with many dyers in the new women’s associations supported by The Tandana Foundation becoming successful businesswomen. The resurgence of indigo dyeing in the region has led to the revitalization of another culturally significant activity that had fallen out of favor with the younger generation. Hear from one woman about the outcome below.

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The Olouguelemo Association advances towards the goals of water access and food security

As the Olouguelemo Association continues to grow its membership, the organization continues its efforts to tackle a wide-rage of environmental challenges across the Wadouba Township of Mali with support from The Tandana Foundation. Two important issues that the village-run association is taking on are lack access to water and food insecurity. Below, hear from village residents about important advances that several of the association’s recent projects supported by Tandana – the rehabilitation of two wells and anti-erosion contour lines – have made toward providing access to water and food security. 

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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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In Mali, women are thriving as community leaders and entrepreneurs after participating in important Tandana-supported programs

Women across many villages in rural Mali have become powerful community leaders and successful businesswomen following the leadership and governance training in the workshops organized by The Tandana Foundation. While they learn skills to be community and business leaders, they are  also increasing their confidence, independence, success in economic activities, and recognition as agents of local decision-making. Many of them have also joined the women’s associations supported by Tandana to conduct their income-generating activities.

Four inspiring participants of the leadership workshops share their personal stories below.

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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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A new grain bank promises to supply millet between the harvests in Nounou

In many villages across the Bandiagara Township of Mali, it has become impossible to harvest enough millet to last through the year. During the difficult rainy season, many families have run out of their own harvest, just when they need the most calories for hard work cultivating the next crop. Village residents have to travel long distances to purchase grain at exorbitant prices. To overcome these difficulties, the Nounou community has long-desired a grain bank, and they recently partnered with The Tandana Foundation to open one. Below, hear about the need and benefit of the new grain bank from Dene Tapily, who is a member of its leadership committee.

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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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Hear about the ‘perfect harmony’ and success from the Komberou women’s association

The Tandana Foundation has supported the creation of many women’s associations to support women with their income-generating activities throughout the Bandiagara District of Mali. Below, hear from one participant from Komberou about how successful their association has been compared to other associations that have been started in her village but lack the oversight and camaraderie found in the Tandana-organized groups.

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Disrupting injustice through Tandana’s women’s literacy classes in Mali

The positive results of the literacy, numeracy, and women’s leadership courses supported by the Tandana Foundation continue to spread across the Bandiagara District of Mali as more and more women participate in the programming. Below, hear from one participant about the benefits she has experienced and how her knowledge allowed her to stop an injustice.

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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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