What I saw working with Tandana in Ecuador

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”

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Inside the community of La Banda

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”

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”

Eyes opened through hearing

Maria Rosa Castañeda is one of many patients who have benefited from the Tandana Foundation‘s Patient Follow Up Program in rural communities of Ecuador. After seeing a doctor during a Tandana mobile clinic, she was referred to a specialist for her hearing impairment and ended up having surgery that changed her life. In the video, Maria describes her struggles stemming from not being able to hear before receiving the surgery, and the emotional moment when she woke up from the surgery being able to hear. Watch the video to see the incredible emotions Maria shows, and read a transcript of what she said in the blog post below. Continue reading “Eyes opened through hearing”

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”

A journey of health care and fun in the mountains of Ecuador

The Tandana Foundation has a health care program called the Healthcare Volunteer Venture (HCVV)- a program in which the foundation brings  groups of volunteers (both skilled and unskilled in the medical field) from the United States and Canada to provide a phenomenal mobile clinic in some of the indigenous communities of Highland Ecuador. The program happens twice a year, and the foundation held its 23rd and 24th mobile health care clinics in April and September of 2018.

Continue reading “A journey of health care and fun in the mountains of Ecuador”

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”

Caring, Respectful, Responsible Intercultural Relationships; Wisdom; Process and Goal: Part 10

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Caring, Respectful, Responsible Intercultural Relationships; Wisdom; Process and Goal: Part 10”

A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse

Visiting the picturesque highlands of Ecuador enriched by the local culture, and inspired by living and working with community members is sure to cultivate creativity. Such was the case for a participant of a recent Health Care Volunteer Venture trip organized by the Tandana Foundation. While sharing her medical skills as part of a team providing medical care to local residents, Dr. Swati Biswas crafted a poem about her experience as a HCVV volunteer, which she presented to the group on the last day of the trip. In the beautiful lines of poetic verse below, Swati creates a unique picture of life in Ecuador, as she reflects on all that she has seen and done, and the people she met along the way. Continue reading “A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse”

Caring and Compassion: Part 9

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Caring and Compassion: Part 9”

The roots of intercultural collaboration and friendship in Mali

Volunteers and residents of Kansongho celebrate restoration of the well

Every story of friendship has a beginning. For the Tandana Foundation and the Bandiagara District in rural Mali, the story began when Tandana’s founder Anna Taft first visited the Kansongo village in 2007. Despite initial hesitations, this friendship blossomed into a mutually beneficial relationship, creating unanticipated opportunities for intercultural learning and much more. The following blog post describes how this friendship grew into a great collaboration between the American foundation and the local community, along with the impact of their joint efforts. Continue reading “The roots of intercultural collaboration and friendship in Mali”

Respect and Responsibility: Part 8

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Respect and Responsibility: Part 8”

We began at zero

As a fun project, students enrolled in the Tandana Foundation’s summer school created a video sharing their classroom experiences. The video showcases the students’ personalities, along with what they learned in the English classes, as they switch back and forth from Spanish to English. In the following blog post, Hank Fincken, who led the students in the making of the video, provides behind-the-scenes insight into its creation. Continue reading “We began at zero”

Experiencing gratitude and Greater awareness of what it is to be human: Part 7

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Experiencing gratitude and Greater awareness of what it is to be human: Part 7”

More motivation to reach my dreams

 

Students who receive scholarships from the Tandana Foundation each have their own story on how this financial aid is impacting their lives today and for years to come. One of these students, Alex Francisco Quilumbango Perugachi, shares his story of how scholarships have motivated him and his siblings to try harder in school and gain knowledge to be successful in their future careers.  Continue reading “More motivation to reach my dreams”

Sharing, Promise-keeping, Forgiveness: Part 6

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Sharing, Promise-keeping, Forgiveness: Part 6”

‘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’”

Making my own story in Otavalo

Participating in volunteer trips to different countries enables live encounters with diverse cultures and communities. During one of the Tandana Foundation’s recent Health Care Volunteer Ventures trips, a young participant learned first hand how these personal experiences can broaden a person’s understanding of the world beyond what they may be used to. She shares her unique story of volunteering in Otavalo, Ecuador, in the following blog post. Continue reading “Making my own story in Otavalo”

Tandana is unity

The Tandana Foundation is a network of diverse people and communities across the world. It is the strength of this network working together that allows Tandana and its partners to achieve community goals, while fostering caring intercultural relationships based on mutual respect and responsibility. On the last day of a recent Gardening Volunteer Venture trip to Padre Chupa, Ecuador, Teresa Marrinan reflected upon her understanding of who Tandana is. In the following blog post, Teresa describes all the people whom she encountered and learned from as a gardening volunteer with Tandana, including its founder Anna Taft, and how she now feels forever a part of this extended network and Tandana itself. Continue reading “Tandana is unity”

Olouguèlemo Association launches reforestation campaign in Wadouba, Mali

Thanks to the continuous assistance and advisory support from the Tandana Foundation, the Olouguelemo Association was able to organize, for the first time, a reforestation campaign in the township of Wadouba, Mali, in partnership with the town hall.

Here are the speeches recorded during the launch ceremony of the reforestation campaign in Wadouba, which took place on August 17, 2018. Continue reading “Olouguèlemo Association launches reforestation campaign in Wadouba, Mali”

Unpredictable Outcomes and Self-Reflection: Part 5

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Unpredictable Outcomes and Self-Reflection: Part 5”

A scholarship student looking forward to being a health volunteer

Scholarships enable students to go to school to learn skills in order to obtain jobs, but also to help others in their community. Below, Tandana scholarship recipient Joselyn Gabriela Almeida Bravo describes what she is learning in pursuit of a nursing degree and how she aspires to one day use this education to give back as a participant in Tandana’s Health Care Volunteer Venture program. Continue reading “A scholarship student looking forward to being a health volunteer”

Live Encounters and Experiencing Difference: Part 4

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Live Encounters and Experiencing Difference: Part 4”

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”

Moral Obligations and Meaningful Action: Part 3

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “Moral Obligations and Meaningful Action: Part 3”

Kindness and generosity in Ecuador

The following post was written by Chloe Willeford, a high school student who recently returned from a volunteer trip with the Tandana Foundation in Ecuador. 

One month ago, my group of eight other students, three leaders, and I touched down in Quito, Ecuador, to begin a three-week service trip helping Agualongo de Quichinche, a community outside of Otavalo. Little did I know that the trip would teach me and help me grow just as much, if not more, as it helped Agualongo.

Continue reading “Kindness and generosity in Ecuador”

First-Person Orientation and Reaching Out: Part 2

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 
Continue reading “First-Person Orientation and Reaching Out: Part 2”

Easing the financial burden of education

Through the generous support of its donors, providing scholarships is one important way the Tandana Foundation assists promising students in pursuing their educational aspirations. Each student’s story is unique, along with their future career goals. In the following, Sisa Pacari Fuerez López recounts her family’s struggles to pay for the children’s schooling, and shares how Tandana’s scholarship has helped ease their financial burden and enabled Sisa and her siblings to continue advancing in their education. Continue reading “Easing the financial burden of education”

Reaching Out to Others with a Personal Approach: Part 1 – The Tandana Foundation

The development project as an attempt to bring all societies “forward,” along a supposed continuum, is unjustifiable.  And yet there is much important work to be done that looks very much like, and is even called, “development.”  Without development theory as a guiding framework, why do we do this work?  I have tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings for Tandana’s work, describing how they led to the work we do, but even more importantly, to the way in which we do this work. 

Continue reading “Reaching Out to Others with a Personal Approach: Part 1 – The Tandana Foundation”

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”

Another village asks to join the Olouguelemo Association

From April 27-28, the General Assembly of the Olouguelemo Association – funded by the Tandana Foundation – was held in Andjine Nantanga, Mali. During the General Assembly, a delegation of villagers from Biné requested permission to join the fifteen villages that were already part of the Olouguelemo Association after witnessing the successful growth of trees in nearby protected forest areas, which members of the association came together to establish and oversee. The following are comments from the Biné delegates. Continue reading “Another village asks to join the Olouguelemo Association”

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”

Going beyond medical support

In the rural communities of the Quichinche parish, getting access to medical care is not always easy. Residents often wait long amounts of time to receive support and assistance through Ecuador’s public health system. Twice each year, the Tandana Foundation‘s Health Care Volunteer Venture teams and staff from the public health centers visit these rural communities to provide primary care to the local residents. Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Coordinator then works with the patients who are referred for additional care, advocating for them in the public health system. It is our goal that, through this process, patients learn how to use the system on their own. In the following videos and translations of their transcripts, three of these patients explain in their own words how the HCVV visits helped them receive needed medical support and more. 
Continue reading “Going beyond medical support”

‘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’”