A small needle that sews great fabrics: the success of the women indigo dyers of Sol Djeninke

Indigo dyeing is a major source of income for women in rural Mali. The Tandana Foundation has helped several villages create indigo banks to manage a revolving fund for the materials they use, similar to the cotton banks the organization has supported in other villages. The newest indigo bank is in Sol Djeninke. When it started, the leadership committee of the Sol Djeninke indigo bank participated in a workshop to learn how to manage their bank and also how to dye safely using both natural and chemical dyes. Tandana also provided the women with their equipment and supplies to get the new indigo bank up and running.  Recently they held their first annual meeting to reimburse the cost of the materials they used and evaluate the first campaign.   

Continue reading “A small needle that sews great fabrics: the success of the women indigo dyers of Sol Djeninke”

Changing minds and transforming lives through the Savings for Change, literacy, and leadership programs

Thousands of women have participated in the Savings for Change, literacy, and leadership programs, which are organized by The Tandana Foundation in partnership with villages across Bandiagara District, Mali. Whether it is contributing to savings funds, learning how to read and write, or exploring how to be a female leader, not everyone in the villages has immediately recognized the importance of having these programs available to women. Below, three women provide commentary on how the success of the participants is changing the way people think about the programs.

Continue reading “Changing minds and transforming lives through the Savings for Change, literacy, and leadership programs”

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.

Continue reading “Ninari Chimba: activist and role model”

Overcoming traditional barriers – and a pandemic – to gain literacy, numeracy, and leadership skills

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”

The early success of the women’s enterprises in Mali

In 2019, 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 four women talk about the progress they have made with their income-generating activities.

Continue reading “The early success of the women’s enterprises in Mali”

Belén and the Medical Clinics

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”

Reflections from women members of the Savings For Change program in Mali

This year, there are 30 new Savings for Change groups that The Tandana Foundation has helped form in eight villages in the Bandiagara District of Mali. Most of the new groups have 22 members, one group has 27, and two groups have 30 with a total of 681 participants. So far, the groups have collectively saved $3,064.06. The 30 groups, involving 789 women, that started in 2019 held their fund-sharing ceremony after a year of saving. The total funds divided up were $12,269, with each member receiving between $10 and $11.

Below, three women who have joined SFC groups share their thoughts on the success of the saving and credit program in their townships.

Continue reading “Reflections from women members of the Savings For Change program in Mali”

Two personal stories illustrate the value of community

By committing to create and nurture intercultural relationships, Tandana recognizes the value of community as a major driving factor of our work.

In Ecuador, the stories of two members of Tandana’s staff exemplify the way in which experiencing community -whether new or familiar- provides an incomparable opportunity for growth. Continue reading “Two personal stories illustrate the value of community”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Tommo So – a language of unimaginable value

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”

The importance of literacy for using cellphones

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 progress of the Savings For Change group in Dimbily

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 trusted partner in Mali

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”

Six women’s associations reimburse their revolving funds, ready to continue earning with their enterprises

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”

Finishing school, even with a baby

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”

Evaluating the success of our women’s program in Mali

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”

Hear from participants in the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program

The Tandana Foundation’s Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program has touched the lives of more than 1,000 women in Mali. As the program continues to grow, thanks to its proven success, increasing demand, and support from Dining for Women, Foundation Beyond Belief, and others, it’s always nice to hear from the women who are a part of the program. The following blog contains the testimonials from three courageous women about how the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes, leadership workshops, and Savings for Change initiatives have impacted their lives. Continue reading “Hear from participants in the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program”

Tandana funds six women’s association enterprises 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”

‘Long live the Tandana Foundation’

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’”

Taking risks to become female leaders

The Tandana Foundation, in collaboration with Alpha Formation Traduction et Conception Documentaire au Pays Dogon and support from Dining for Women, organized workshops about women’s leadership. During one of the workshops, after a module about the topic of the difficulties of women leaders, particularly lack of self-confidence, participant Aissata Kansaye, who was selected as the policewoman of the workshop, described one of her past struggles in order to encourage other women to take risks. Continue reading “Taking risks to become female leaders”

Reflections from Savings For Change members in Teguedou

Interested in learning what women in the  Savings For Change (SFC) program think of the impact of their participation? Below, three members from the village of Teguedou share their reflections on the  SFC program, which is a savings and credit program for women that the Tandana Foundation has helped establish in many communities in Mali. The goal of the program is to allow members to pool their savings and take out loans in order to assist them in starting or expanding micro-businesses. Continue reading “Reflections from Savings For Change members in Teguedou”

What we can do now

 

Organizing in work groups. Making phone calls independently. Teaching their children to read and do math. These are a just a few examples of what three women, of the more than one thousand women who have participated in the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes and recently launched leadership workshops, write about what what their participation in these programs – made possible thanks to support from Dining for Women,  assists them in doing. Below, those three women share their experiences before and after taking part in these programs, all of which the women asked the Tandana Foundation to help bring to their villages in rural Mali. Continue reading “What we can do now”

‘We see clearly, we hear, we walk’

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’”

Advocating for gender equality in local elections

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”

Assisting a health center in providing services to the community

Through its health program in Ecuador, The Tandana Foundation works with the Quichinche Subcentro, a rural health center in Ecuador, to support its work caring for the people of the parish. Tandana collaborates with its staff to visit the more distant communities, to follow up with patients identified during these visits who need additional care, and also to support the staff’s health education work. The following is the story written about a recent collaboration by the director of the Subcentro. Continue reading “Assisting a health center in providing services to the community”

Meet Tandana’s Savings for Change Trainer

The following is the story of Tandana’s  Savings For Change (SFC) trainer Moussa Tembiné. The SFC program is a savings and credit program for women that the Tandana Foundation has helped establish in many communities in Mali. Through this program, women are able to pool their savings and take out loans to assist them in starting or expanding micro-businesses.

Continue reading “Meet Tandana’s Savings for Change Trainer”

A woman leading by example to inspire others

 

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”

Teaching literacy to empower women in Mali

Tembel Bamia, President of the women of Assa

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”

Savings for Change Program Opens New Lives for Women

 

A Savings for Change Group Member

Voici quelques commentaires des femmes participants au programme Epargne Pour le Changement de la Fondation Tandana dans la commune rurale d’Ondogou, au Mali. Ces commentaires sont datés du 17 mars 2017. Continue reading “Savings for Change Program Opens New Lives for Women”

Indigo Bank Unites Women from Three Villages

the indigo bank management committee
The Indigo Bank Management Committee

Les Femmes de la communauté d’Ondougou, au Mali, teignent le tissu à l’indigo comme activité principale, activité réservée aux femmes d’une tradition particulière.  Elles cherchaient un accès plus facile aux matériaux utilisés dans le procédé de teinture, ainsi que la capacité d’acheter ceux-ci à crédit. Tandana les a aidées à créer une banque d’indigo, afin de gérer un fonds renouvelable pour l’achat de ces matériaux. Tandana leur a également fourni une formation concernant certaines autres techniques, afin que la teinture indigo traditionnelle reste compétitive vis à vis des procédés chimiques, plus dangereux et dont la popularité augmente dans la région, ainsi que pour leur permette d’exercer leur activité de teinture en toute sécurité. Elles ont choisi un comité de sept femmes pour gérer la banque, et les membres de ce comité ont reçu une formation en gestion et tenue des dossiers.  Ayant complété une session de cours d’alphabétisation de Tandana en langue Tommo So,  les femmes membres du comité ont donc été bien équipées pour assumer une telle responsabilité. Voir ci-dessous quelques commentaires des participants.

Women in Ondougou Township, Mali, dye cloth with indigo as their major business, which is reserved for women of a particular heritage. They wanted to have more access to the materials they use in the dyeing process and the ability to purchase them on credit. Tandana helped them create an indigo bank to manage a revolving fund for the materials they use. Tandana also provided training for them in additional dyeing techniques to help them keep traditional indigo-dyeing competitive with the more dangerous chemical dyeing-processes that are becoming popular in the region and to do their dyeing safely. They chose a committee of seven women to manage the bank, and the committee members received training in management and record-keeping. Because they had completed a session of Tandana’s Tommo So literacy classes, the committee members were well-equipped to take on this responsibility.  Below, you can see comments from some of the participants.

Las mujeres en el municipio de Ondougou, Mali, tiñen ropa con índigo, siendo su negocio más importante, el cual se reserva para mujeres de cierta herencia. Estas mujeres querían tener mayor acceso a los materiales que usan en el proceso de teñido y capacidad para comprarlos a plazos. Tandana les ayudó a crear un banco de índigo para gestionar un fondo rotativo de los materiales que utilizan. Tandana también les proporcionó formación en técnicas de teñido para ayudarles así, a mantener una condición favorable del teñido tradicional de índigo con el proceso químico más peligroso que se está popularizando en la región, haciendo el teñido de forma segura. Eligieron un comité de siete mujeres para gestionar el banco y recibieron formación en la gestión y registro. Ya que completaron la sesión de Tandana de clases de alfabetización de Tommo So, las pertenecientes al comité fueron bien preparadas para hacerse cargo de esta responsabilidad. Aqui en debajo se puede ver unas reflexiones de algunas participantes.

Mariam Yanogo:
Mariam Yanogo

Mariam Yanogo:

Je suis la présidente de cette association, d’abord mon remerciement  a vous, Moussa et Yembila, c’est grâce à vous nous retrouvons ici. Sans mentir je dis au fond de mon cœur, ces  trois villages (Kondiougou, Indell, Guinekanda), nous travaillons des mêmes activités mais on n’a jamais collaboré ensemble pour donner des idées et travailler en équipe et si vous voyez qu’aujourd’hui nous sommes ensemble c’est grâce au financement de la Fondation Tandana et ses partenaires. Selon mon information, le 1er magasin de stockage des produits de teinture dans le cercle de Bandiagara donc nous avons eu une grande chance pour avoir ce magasin  et avec cette grâce nous allons montrer  à la Fondation Tandana ce qu’on peut faire.

Mariam Yanogo:

I am the president of this association. First of all, thank you Moussa and Yembila (the trainer). It is thanks to you that we are here. Without lying, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, these three villages (Kondiougou, Indell, Guinekanda), we worked on the same activities without ever collaborating or sharing ideas with one another before, and if you see us together today, it is thanks to the financial support of The Tandana Foundation and its partners. According to my information, this is the first warehouse for indigo dye products in Bandiagara District. As such, we have had the great luck to have this indigo bank and with that blessing, we will show The Tandana Foundation what we can do.

Mariam Yanogo:

Soy la presidenta de esta asociación. Antes de todo, gracias Moussa y Yembila (el instructor). Es gracias a vosotros que estemos aquí. Sin mentir, os puedo decir desde el fondo de mi corazón, estas tres aldeas (Kondiougou, Indell, Guinekanda), hemos trabajamos en las mismas actividades sin colaborar nunca antes ni compartir ideas , y si nos ves juntos hoy, es gracias a el ayuda  financiera de la Fundación Tandana y sus compañeros. De acuerdo con mi información,  este es el primer almacén para productos de teñido índigo en Bandiagara. Y siendo así, hemos tenido la grandísima suerte de tener este banco de índigo y con esta bendición, le enseñaremos a la Fundación Tandana lo que podemos hacer.

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Ramata Balam, Gestionnaire du magasin de stockage de teinture:

Pour moi, c’est une grande histoire. Après mes études en comptabilité c’est la première fois de faire mon expérience en comptabilité. Je suis de Guinekanda et marié à Kondiougou, Après les études je me suis marié dans ce village et je pense souvent pourquoi j’ai étudié parce que j’ai tendance à oublier mes notions à 100%  je suis devenue une ménagère. Aujourd’hui grâce à vous et à la Fondation Tandana, je me sent que je suis utile et je commence à mettre en pratique mes études. Franchement je suis contente de cette initiative et c’est ma première fois de voir les femmes de ces trois villages réunir et travailler ensemble. Je vous demande d’être près de nous et c’est un début, nous n’avons pas d’expérience en gestion et c’est  une nouvelle équipe.

Ramata Balam, Manager of the indigo bank:

For me it has been a long journey to get to this point. Since I finished studying accounting, this is the first time I have done accounting work. I am from Guinekanda and married to a man from Kondiougou. After my studies, I got married in this village and have often questioned why I studied because I have almost forgotten what I studied, for lack of using it. I became a housewife. Today, thanks to you, The Tandana Foundation, I feel that I am useful and I have started to put into practice all that I have studied. Honestly, I am happy with this initiative and it is the first time I have seen the women from these three villages working together and united. I ask you to stay close to us since this is just the beginning. We do not have experience in management and are a new team.

Ramata Balam, Gerente del banco de índigo:

Para mí, llegar hasta este punto ha sido un largo camino. Desde que terminé de estudiar contabilidad, esta es la primera vez que trabajo como contable. Soy de Guinekanda y estoy casada con un hombre de Kondiougou. Después de mis estudios, me casé en este pueblo y me he cuestionado frecuentemente porqué he estudiado ya que he olvidado casi todo lo que estudié, por no utilizarlo. Me convertí en una ama de casa. Hoy, gracias a vosotros, la Fundación Tandana,  siento que soy útil y he empezado a poner en práctica lo que había estudiado. Honestamente, estoy contenta con esta iniciativa y  es la primera vez que veo a las mujeres de estas tres aldeas trabajando juntas y unidas. Os pido que os quedéis cerca nuestro ya que esto es solo el comienzo. No tenemos experiencia en gestión y somos un equipo nuevo.

Anta Napo:
Anta Napo

Anta Napo:

Je suis la trésorière, moi personnellement je ne pensais pas que ces trois villages allaient travailler ensemble, cher partenaire de notre association, la manière dont vous avez eu l’idée de nous soutenir avec les  produits naturelles bio, permet de pérenniser les anciennes pratiques et  beaucoup d’entre nous les jeunes filles ne savent pas ces pratiques donc c’est une forte opportunité à nous les jeunes et nous  comptons sur vous nuit et jour.

Anta Napo:

I am the treasurer. Personally, I never thought these three villages would work together. Dear partners, your idea to support us with natural, organic products has permitted us to perpetuate our ancient practices. Many of the young girls among us did not know of these methods and so it is a great opportunity for us and for the younger generation. We count on you night and day.

Anta Napo:

Soy la tesorera. Personalmente, nunca pensé que estas tres aldeas trabajarían juntas. Queridos compañeros, vuestra idea de apoyarnos con productos naturales y orgánicos nos ha permitido perpetuar nuestras prácticas ancestrales. Muchas de las chicas jóvenes no conocían estos métodos y por lo tanto es una oportunidad magnífica tanto para nosotros como para la generación joven. Contamos en vosotros día y noche.