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The Tandana Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Education, International, International Cultural Exchange, International Exchange, Preschools, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

Mission: To empower individuals of various cultural backgrounds with an increased awareness of the world, other cultures, themselves, and an expanded sense of their possibilities; To promote positive, caring interactions between people of different backgrounds and encourage consideration and lessening of global inequalities; To promote respect and responsibility toward one's self, all people, and the Earth.

Results: The Tandana Foundation received 501(c)(3) status in 2006 and has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments in the over 10 years in which it has been working in Ecuador and Mali. The Health Care Volunteer Vacations have seen and treated over 8000 patients. In Ecuador, 26 rural communities and in Mali, 35 different communities have received benefits from Tandana programs and services. Over 1,600 North American volunteers have visited Ecuador and contributed positively. Over 3000 native trees have been planted. Most importantly, these same rural communities still welcome Tandana staff and volunteers with open arms and enjoy collaborating with Tandana and its programs.

Geographic areas served: Otavalo Canton, Ecuador & Bandiagara Circle, Mali

Programs: The Tandana Foundation coordinates volunteer programs in Ecuador, which allow North Americans to volunteer their services to help in 25 rural communities in Ecuador, while learning about the local culture. These programs are focused on health care, agriculture, the environment, and providing intercultural homestay opportunities. Our long-term volunteer, internship and fellowship programs also allow North Americans to spend 2-12 months at a time in Ecuador and to provide English classes at elementary schools, assistance at rural health centers, assistance at a native tree nursery, IT support, and more. The Tandana Foundation provides funding for community initiatives in Mali with projects such as a water tower and irrigation system for community gardens, literacy classes, carpentry training, training of women's Savings for Change groups, and assistance and training for an eight-village association that has formed to protect the forests and promote soil conservation. Through our Ecuador programs, we have provided funding for community projects, including: additions to the school buildings, improvements to a community center and soccer field, a fence for a school, a new greenhouse for the UCINQUI native tree nursery, vacation courses for secondary students, and reforestation projects using native species. Currently The Tandana Foundation provides scholarships for up to 100 rural Ecuadorian students, which allow them to attend secondary school, and for up to 25 rural Ecuadorian students to attend university. We provide books, supplies, uniforms, transportation costs, and other fees.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with the Tandana Foundation in Ecuador for several years. They have helped us put together great programs filled with cross-cultural learning and exchanges with our university students. The staff are incredibly dedicated, thoughtful, friendly, and committed to the local communities. I love working with them every year!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Each trip I go on to Ecuador with the Tandana Foundation , whether it is for a Health Care Volunteer Vacation or Gardening Volunteer Vacation, I always come back to the United States feeling enriched by the experience. Each one is different because the mix of volunteers and communities and projects are different, but each strengthens the international friendships we are making, deepens my admiration of the staff Tandana employs, and promotes sustainability at all levels. Individuals gain skills they would not have otherwise, communities realize long held dreams of infrastructure, and everyone is invested in the projects and positive results. Tandana teaches everyone how to fish. From a volunteer traveler point of view, the accommodations are excellent, the care that staff give you is remarkable, and the language, money, electricity, food, present no barrier to offering a helping hand to local people and really getting to know their culture.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have participated in several of the Tandana Foundation's volunteer programs in Ecuador and can't say enough positive things about this organization. What impressed me most is the way that every project Tandana does is rooted in true collaboration with local communities. Volunteers, staff, and community members come together to not only complete a project, but also to share and learn from each other. Every trip I went on with the Tandana Foundation has made me a better person and the memories will stay with me for a lifetime.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved specifically with the medical trips to Ecuador with Tandana for the past 5 years and have been impressed with their overall organization, efficiency and continuous forward momentum for improvement. Despite it's relatively small size, it has made a massive and positive impact on the communities that it works with. As a medical provider who has worked with other international non-profits, it was (and continues to be) refreshing to not feel like I was being asked to work crazy long days in poor conditions without ever getting to know the surrounding community. It makes for a more rounded experience to not only provide medical care for a group of people, but to learn about their culture and customs. In addition, the staff that remains in Ecuador year round provides follow-up and ensures continuity of care after the volunteers leave. It's truly a wonderful organization to work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Tandana Foundation takes care to connect program participants to meaningful and mutually beneficial efforts in the communities it serves.

Donor

Rating: 5

A Foundation run by very enthusiastic individuals who have a passion for selfless service. Their integrity is incomparable, every dollar goes towards their mission of service. The philosophy of " teach how to fish " is very highly commendable.
The Medical Missions to remote villages in the Andes to serve the Native American population is very satisfying, I feel very proud of it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Tandana since 2008. I cannot think of a better group of people to do this important work with. I was so inspired after my first trip that I've returned year after year forming long lasting friendships with folks in both Ecuador and Mali. I believe in what Tandana stands for and I've been inspired and have grown as a person (and professional) during my time involved with this foundation.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have known the founder of the Tandana Foundation since high school, and you could not ask for someone with more integrity and kindness than Anna. As a result, the Tandana Foundation has the same values and has been able to win the trust of its partners in the communities. Tandana is built on long-term relationships and mutual respect, and so the volunteer vacations feel totally different than other international volunteer trips. Rather than being touristy or self-congratulatory, these trips invite volunteers to engage with and learn from the friends that Tandana has in the US, Ecuador, and Mali. I strongly endorse this organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

On every Tandana program, both participants and staff members receive a positive cross-cultural service and community building experience. The community members that we engage with and the projects that we support are incredible! I am so grateful that the Tandana Foundation exists in the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Going in as volunteer with the Tandana Foundation, you think that its just an internship that will give you experience for the future. What you don't realize is the kind of experience you are going to gain. Working with Tandana has been life changing for me. I have not only been able to live with and learn from a community in rural Ecuador, but I've been able to become a part of it. Between the family you live with and become a part of, to the support and love you get from the staff on a daily basis, you could not have asked for a better work and living environment. Every day, I learn something new, and every day I appreciate more and more everything this foundation has to offer.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Tandana is an incredible organization that works closely with those it serves to deliver sustainable programming and impressive results. As a volunteer with Tandana, you'll make friends, work on projects that are driven by the local community and get a whole new perspective of the world. Tandana staff have diverse backgrounds but are driven by a dedication and love for what they do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with the foundation for a week. I went in with many misgivings about what we would be doing and misconceptions about the nature of the foundation, and I couldn't have been more wrong. The foundation does good work educating participants and helping people to break down stereotypes, both in the communities they work in and in the communities they take participants from.

Melody C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My week working with the Tandana Foundation at Guachinguero helped reveal to me the beautiful nature of humankind, re-instilling a hope for mutual existence of all humans if we allow our minds to expand and find common ground.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Organized, money gets put to good use. Went to Ecuador with them.
-Omar

Janet153

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful time both weeks - the medical clinic and the gardening, both. The indigenous families that we worked with were so welcoming and generous. They were patiend with us when there was a wait for docs or dentists in the clinic. We learned to send entire families to the docs at the same time; it was a helpful way to keep all informed.

For the gardening experience, it was great to work side by side with the local families. The
local women dug the holes for our many, many trees after their husbands machelied the brush in the area. Matias, the local expert, placed the trees where they needed to go and we planted them - a regular assembly line!

What a beautiful place we worked in for two days!. There was a sulpher springs and a cave area where the formations were gorgeous. The stream was full of bright orange clay with springs appearing in many areas nearby. Water, water, water...

This area is considered old and sacred by the indigenous families we know. They have just
been able recently to access it again after a government agency moved in. Exciting for them.

Jazmine2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This foundation is one of the most caring and passionate non-profits I have ever worked with. They really allow you to see exactly what they do in the communities and give the opportunity to be hands-on with them! This is definitely a non-profit I could see myself working with for a very long time. The people are so nice and you can feel their genuine spirits. This foundation will open your eyes and humble you! I am so happy that I was able to share my experience in Ecuador with them! I didn't want to leave.

Robert189

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Tandana Foundation in Ecuador facilitated an experience that I will always remember! UC to Ecuador 2016!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tandana was far more than what I expected. It was an incredible experience, and I can't wait to participate again!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everyone who works for this organization is amazing. They did an absolutely fantastic job coordinating volunteer opportunities for our group!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After taking early retirement last year, I signed up for two weeks on a medical service trip to highland Ecuador with the Tandana Foundation last month. This exceptional organization has been active in the northern sierra of Ecuador for much of the last decade, establishing ongoing partnerships with a number of indigenous villages and contributing to efforts identified by the local communities such as healthcare, education, small business development and horticulture. The other volunteer participants had very diverse backgrounds and interests, came from many different states and provinces, of all ages, and all came with a desire to be of service to others and to learn and to share. Rarely in a rather long life have I met such fine people who have become great friends so quickly as we shared such intense and rewarding experiences together. This group cohesion was only possible due to the long experience and constant efforts of the Tandana leadership and staff to provide the necessary support and logistics, while making these trips exciting and fun for the participants. The TF is extremely skilled at finding and developing exceptional staff to fulfill their stated mission, to make the experience safe and enjoyable for all the volunteers, and to foster deeper cultural awareness between the local communities and those who sign up for these trips.
Each morning we took a chartered bus to a village higher in the Andean highlands, where our volunteer group- both lay and medical providers- set up in the local school or community center. The physicians, PA, and dentists provided free medical and dental care to children and adults, some of whom needed to be referred to local facilities or were followed up later by TF staff. Our group also recorded vital signs, performed basic lab tests, did vision screening, provided reading glasses, and our mobile pharmacy provided medications prescribed by the PAs and physicians. We ate very well, had a wonderful place to stay in Otavalo, and the volunteers had opportunities for activities later in the day such as visits to a master weaver, a local shaman, a cooking school, a maker of musical instruments, and outings to see waterfalls and hike around alpine lakes. The first week our group had a great time one night dancing in costume in an annual parade in a local village. The second week we went on a boat tour around a beautiful reed-fringed lake at the foot of Imbabura volcano.
Before signing up for this trip, I had heard glowing reports from several physician and PA colleagues who had been Tandana volunteers in the past. They described the trips in terms such as "an experience that will change your life", "this will remind you why you went into medicine in the first place", "I came back from this trip a better person, with more compassion, than when I left". I found all of these reactions to be accurate and true to my own experience. You will know that your money was very well spent, that you will never forget the people you met and the people you worked with, and that you have seen firsthand some of the best work that we can do for each other in this world.