Newfound confidence and abilities

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”

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”

Two Olouguelemo members from different villages share the association’s progress in its environmental protection efforts

Now 19 villages strong, the Olouguelemo Environmental Association continues to implement conservation and restoration projects throughout the Wadouba Township of Mali. The Tandana Foundation supports this village-run association by providing resources and teaching best practice techniques. Below, two members from different villages talk about the successful outcomes of their work so far. Continue reading “Two Olouguelemo members from different villages share the association’s progress in its environmental protection efforts”

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”

Grain banks help villages become self-reliant

In Mali’s Bandiagara District, food security is a major concern. Community members work hard, farming millet, peanuts, sorghum, cowpeas, and other crops, and yet decreasing rainfall and increasing pest problems have caused harvests to diminish. In most years, most families cannot harvest enough food to last them through the year until the next harvest. Cash income is very difficult to come by in the villages, so young people must then go to the cities to look for work and send money home so their families can purchase food.  The shortage is most acute during the rainy season– the busy agricultural period when they need the calories the most in order to work hard and also the time of year when the market price of grain is highest.  Continue reading “Grain banks help villages become self-reliant”

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”

What I’ve learned about creating beneficial volunteer programs

Intercultural volunteer programs are an integral part of The Tandana Foundation’s work and serve our mission of supporting the achievement of community goals and addressing global inequalities through caring intercultural relationships that embody mutual respect and responsibility. In the blogosphere, on college campuses, and increasingly in the press, critics of transnational volunteering claim that such programs can be detrimental to host communities or at least less positive than they seem. Some of the criticisms are valid to the extent that they apply to some programs that are irresponsibly conceived. Others misunderstand the purpose and miss the great value of intercultural volunteer programs that are organized well. Continue reading “What I’ve learned about creating beneficial volunteer programs”

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”

Recent updates from the women’s enterprises in Mali

Last year, The Tandana Foundation funded six women’s associations’ business proposals in the Bandiagara District of Mali. These women’s enterprises are now starting income-generating activities, including making nutritional seasoning balls out of néré seeds, raising sheep, transforming cotton into cloth and indigo dyeing. Below two women talk about their income-generating activities. Continue reading “Recent updates from the women’s enterprises in Mali”

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”

Becoming more respected, secure, and in harmony through the Savings For Change program

The women who participate in the Savings for Change program in Mali continue to experience the positive impacts of their work and their collaboration with each other. Through the program, which is supported by The Tandana Foundation, the women have been able to save money, repay their loans, and manage the costs of running their businesses. Below, two women share how the SFC program has benefited their income-generating activities as well as their villages. Continue reading “Becoming more respected, secure, and in harmony through the Savings For Change program”

Hundreds more women successfully complete literacy, numeracy program in Mali

Of the 290 women who took the test, more than 90 percent of participants earned satisfactory scores or better on the final evaluations in the literacy and numeracy classes organized by The Tandana Foundation as part of its Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program in Mali. These results exceeded expectations for the most recent cohort of women in the program. Continue reading “Hundreds more women successfully complete literacy, numeracy program in Mali”

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”

Discovering there’s another way to fight soil degradation

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”

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”

Tandana’s founder explains the importance of organizations taking a personal approach in new thesis

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”

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”

The many impacts of the Olouguèlèmo Association’s environmental protection work

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”

Reflecting on my time with Tandana, ready to tackle another great challenge

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”

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”

Overwhelming generosity enables Tandana to expand programs

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”

‘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”

Rolling Hills Garden Club of Dayton Ohio receives statewide recognition for supporting The Tandana Foundation

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”