About Tandana


The Tandana Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers intercultural volunteer experiences, scholarships, and support for community initiatives in highland Ecuador and Mali's Dogon Country.  Its volunteer programs provide visitors to Ecuador or Mali the unique opportunity to be guests rather than tourists, to form intercultural friendships, to participate in a rich indigenous culture, and to make a difference in the lives of new friends.  Its scholarships allow rural Ecuadorian students to continue their secondary and higher education and require reciprocal service to their communities.  Its community initiatives support villagers in Mali and Ecuador as they work toward their dreams.  


The Tandana Foundation is not about "helping the poor" 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 initiatives is a great way to make friends.  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.  "Tandana is to unite together, be together, struggle together. This is what you have done and what you are doing.  Tandana is not a sleeping word or a dead word.  It is a living word," explained our friend Matias Perugachi.


The Tandana Foundation has no religious or political affiliation, and we welcome all to participate in a spirit of respect and joining together.