Soil erosion has been a major challenge facing farmers in the Bandiagara District of Mali, and a primary area of focus for the village-run Olouguèlèmo Association. To assist the environmental association in combating erosion, The Tandana Foundation brought in a specialist who taught members a new prevention technique – building stone contour lines to control the flow of water. The stone contour lines have been highly successful, and as described below, even surprised long-time farmers in their effectiveness at increasing crop yield. Continue reading “Discovering there’s another way to fight soil degradation”
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”
Creating and leading The Tandana Foundation has been a great experiment, based on commitments to certain values and on hunches about how we can work together in positive ways. Over the last thirteen years, I’ve heard a lot about what this work means to people and seen its effects in communities, and all of these experiences have helped me understand better what exactly it is that we are doing together. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had during the last year to synthesize and articulate the philosophical foundations, the experiences, and the changes that emerge when we approach collective work in a personal way. I’ve gathered these thoughts and observations in my thesis for a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Skidmore College. Continue reading “Tandana’s founder explains the importance of organizations taking a personal approach in new thesis”
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”
The Olouguèlèmo Association has been actively organizing and implementing projects to conserve and restore the biodiversity and environment across the Wadouba Township of Mali. Nineteen communities are now a part of the association, which receives support from The Tandana Foundation in the form of funds, training, and other resources. In the following blog, Moussa Tembiné gives a summary of the Olouguèlèmo Association’s work and describes the positive results of their activities. Continue reading “The many impacts of the Olouguèlèmo Association’s environmental protection work”
For nearly a decade, Susan Koller has been a beloved team member of The Tandana Foundation, helping to spread awareness of the organization’s mission and share stories on this blog and with the media. As Susan leaves Tandana to pursue a cause very close to her heart, she has composed this blog to reflect on her time with the organization and how its philosophies influenced her decision to pursue her next impactful endeavor. Continue reading “Reflecting on my time with Tandana, ready to tackle another great challenge”
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!”
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”
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”
Thanks to the support of dozens of purpose-driven individuals, The Tandana Foundation was able to raise enough money to increase the number of people who will be able to participate in three programs it organizes with communities in rural Ecuador and Mali. During its annual Friends and Funds Raiser event, Tandana raised thousands of dollars, which the nonprofit will use to welcome more students into its scholarship program in Ecuador, and more women into its literacy and numeracy and student-mothers programs in Mali. Continue reading “Overwhelming generosity enables Tandana to expand programs”
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’”
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”
In June of 2019, the Rolling Hills Garden Club of Dayton, Ohio, received a First Place Community Enrichment Project or Program Award from Garden Club of Ohio, Inc. (GCO), an organization of 4,348 individuals in 148 clubs across the state of Ohio. The Rolling Hills club earned the award in the extra small clubs category for its adoption of The Tandana Foundation and taking the GCO’s theme for 2018-19, “Plant America: Give and Grow with GCO,” a step further by extending its impact beyond American borders to Ecuador. Continue reading “Rolling Hills Garden Club of Dayton Ohio receives statewide recognition for supporting The Tandana Foundation”
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 Foundation, Jefferson 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”
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”
The Tandana Foundation has partnered with villages around the Bandiagara District of Mali to establish Savings For Change groups in their communities. As a result, thousands of women have benefited from the micro-loan program, including Fatouma Kouriba, who provides an update on the SFC group in Dimbily below. Continue reading “The progress of the Savings For Change group in Dimbily”
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’”
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”
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”
In April 2018, the Tandana Foundation partnered with the residents of Kilegou to create a garden at the elementary and junior high school. To support their efforts in establishing the school garden, Tandana provided the community members with a fence, tools, training, seeds, and water containers, helping to solve the water problem during the driest months. The students are now growing many vegetables, some of which they sell to earn money for their notebooks, pens, and other school supplies. Read the thoughts of the school’s director and a student about the impact of the garden below. Continue reading “The impact of the Kilegou school garden”
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”
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”
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”
Not every organization or individual who promises to help a group of people delivers on that promise. The Tandana Foundation, however, has earned the reputation that the organization can be trusted after continually following through on the projects it has collaborated on. In the following, Sara Tembine describes how she and other women in her village were deceived, and how her knowledge of Tandana’s work led her to argue in favor of her village partnering with Tandana on several projects. Continue reading “A trusted partner in Mali”
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”
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!’”
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 provided a start-up revolving fund for six women’s associations in Bandiagara District of Mali last fall. Each of the groups recently collected their first reimbursement for materials used in their income-generating enterprises. In the blog below, three women from these groups share their thoughts following this first repayment that has refilled the operating fund. Now, each group can use its fund to buy more materials and continue earning income. Continue reading “Six women’s associations reimburse their revolving funds, ready to continue earning with their enterprises”
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.
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”
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”
Hi, my name is Maria Cristina Silva. I am from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Through my life, I have worked with several non-profits in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., India, and Ecuador. I was invited by Anna and Hope Taft to share with you my insights about my experience with the Tandana Foundation, as an Ecuadorian that worked with them. I think it is important for you to get a good idea of what it means to support Tandana in any way you can, so I will start by sharing a personal story. Then, I will tell you about Ecuador, then wrap up sharing what I saw Tandana does in the mountains of my country. Continue reading “What I saw working with Tandana in Ecuador”
The communities the Tandana Foundation works with are as diverse and unique as the projects we partner with them on. In this blog post, Antonio Andrango, president of La Banda, provides a look into his community today and insight into its history and origins. Continue reading “Inside the community of La Banda”
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”