To empower individuals of various cultural backgrounds with an increased awareness of the world, other cultures, and themselves, and with 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.
he Tandana Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers cross-cultural volunteer opportunities, scholarships, and support for small community projects in highland Ecuador and Mali's Dogon Country. Tandana coordinates service projects and volunteer vacations that offer visitors to Ecuador or Mali the unique opportunity to be guests rather than tourists, to form cross-cultural friendships, to experience a rich indigenous culture, and to make a difference in the lives of new friends. Its scholarship program allows rural Ecuadorian students to continue their secondary and higher education. Its community projects help villagers in Mali and Ecuador realize their dreams of improving their communities.
The Tandana Foundation is not about "helping the poor unfortunates" or imposing a developmentalist worldview or any particular religion. Rather, our goal is to create and nurture real and responsible relationships among people of different cultures. Giving and receiving are inherent parts of those relationships, and contributing to community projects is a great way to make friends. Any foreigner who has worked in an Ecuadorian minga (community work day) knows how that works on the ground! We come to learn and to share.
Tandana comes from a Kichwa root meaning "to gather together" or "to unite" and represents the spirit of our work.