South America

South America – Current Programs


  • Strengthening Community-led Development and Food Security in Rural Ecuador
    STATUS: Current
    TIMEFRAME: 2010 to 2015
    TYPE OF PROJECT: Education and the Alleviation of Poverty

    Ecuador – Chimborazo & Cotopaxi

    Our work with Groundswell International and Ekorural in Ecuador

    Goals & impact

    We’ve been helping to improve food production in the highlands of Ecuador since December, 2010. We believe stronger, community-managed agriculture is the key here. Better seed systems and water management will give families higher-quality crops. And market linkages between family farmers and urban consumers need to be enhanced to build a healthier local food economy.

    Highlights & Details

    In rural communities, families are generating new income as a result of improved agricultural practices and strengthened linkages between the farms and the urban markets. To reduce risk through diversification, we’re experimenting to determine the high altitude potential of various new seed and crop types. With better business in mind, we’re promoting self-sustainability through revolving credit mechanisms and start-up funding. And, finally, we’re conducting research to understand the impact of culture, including gender roles, on the success of agriculture here. Most of the farm work is carried out by women. A Canadian volunteer team of 14 worked alongside the local Ecuadorian farmers and participated in the community market seed exchanges.




  • DESEA Peru - Medical Trips
    STATUS: Current
    TIMEFRAME: 2011 to 2015
    TYPE OF PROJECT: Health and Education

    Peru – Sacred Valley – Lamay

    DESEA Reduces Maternal, Infant, Child Mortality
    Our work with DESEA has helped many children in the Andes.

    Goals & Impact

    The people of the Andean Mountains near Cusco, Peru suffer from gastrointestinal, parasitic, and diarrhea-related diseases. There are also high rates of maternal, infant, and under-five mortality in the area. DESEA Peru provides comprehensive community health solutions to rural communities near the the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Peru. Their three pronged approach of Clean Water, Community Health Workers, and Community Health Programs has had a significant impact on the overall wellness of people in these communities.

    DESEA continues to expand their impact into new communities with a focus on the installation of water filtration systems, anemia testing and follow up, dental camps, and sexual health programming, plus their successful Community Health Worker program.
    Overall, more than 4000 people have been impacted by the committed work of Sandy, Sandra, the DESEA staff, and the Community Health Workers (CHW). DESEA continues to grow its partnerships with local NGO’s and the government to further their work and capacity building in the area.

    Highlights & Details

    DESEA’s emphasis on education and training of local health care workers combined with culturally-appropriate solutions has improved health outcomes, especially in maternal and child health. Increased awareness of water filtration and hygiene/sanitation education for households and schools has had an immediate impact on the health of children and their families.

    Since 2012, a team of Canadian volunteers have participated in a two week medical campaign for more than 200 to 300 community members, providing pap tests and addressing acute health concerns.

    Each year our volunteer teams partnered with DESEA volunteers and staff to see 200 to 300 patients in 6 to 8 remote Andean communities.


    Our 2011 trip to the Sacred Valley (featuring Andean music from friends Wiñay Taki Allyu):

  • DESEA Peru - Biosand Water Filters
    STATUS: Current
    TIMEFRAME: 2011 to 2015

    Biosand water filters play a vital role in stopping the cycle of bacterial and parasitic infections and parasitic infections and diarrheal disease. DESEA has proven that it’s three-prong approach of clean water, community health workers training, and public health programs is achieving significant improvement in health outcomes.

    Presently 425 biosand water filters have been installed in 7 remote communities.

    In 2014, Sandy Hart completed a construction and installation manual for DESEA’s PVC biosand water filter design. The biosand filter is especially well suited for remote locations to which heavier concrete filters cannot be carried.


South America – Completed Programs


  • Veronica
    STATUS: Current
    TIMEFRAME: 2009- 2015
    TYPE OF PROJECT: Education

    The foundation has been providing financial support for the education of Veronica to pursue a degree in medicine at a University in Quito, Ecuador. Veronica has maintained her grades to the equivalent of a B and above throughout the six years the foundation has helped support her goal. The Foundation is pleased to continue to sponsor Veronica’s education, partial living expenses and medical supplies to enable her to help others when she graduates.

    Veronica has graduated from medical school and will spend a year in rural care.  She then hopes to continue studies to specialize in surgery.

    “You changed my life,” Veronica wrote to Mary Tidlund.  “Now I would like to change other people’s lives too.”

  • Volunteer Medical Teams
    STATUS: Completed
    TIMEFRAME: 2000, 2002
    TYPE OF PROJECT: Health and Education

    Volunteer medical teams worked in the rural areas of Otavello in partnership with Casa Mohanda and Esmeraldes Ecuador.



  • Medical Trip

    STATUS: Completed
    TIMEFRAME: 1999 to 2000

    Dr. Violet Shadd and Tidlund organized a medical project in the villages along the Rio Napa a tributary of the Amazon. The foundation organized a base camp in Mazan, Peru. Each year a clinic was then set up and a clinic in a one room school in the small village of Bello Horizonte. Hundreds of children and adults were treated at the school and the clinic by a medical team composed of Dr, Violet Shadd from Canada, Dr. James Flores medical director of the Mazan clinic and a dentist, Eduardo from Mazan. We also had the assistance of a microbiologist, and nurses Yvette, Grace, Karen, Maria, Glorias, Llunely, Clara and Silva from Peru.

    Many thanks to the Peruvian Medical Team, and to Dr. Jose Cabanillas for organizing accommodation for us at the Isulu Biological Research Station. The clinic was successful in treating many Peruvians in supplying pharmaceutical and educational materials.
    A partnership writing exchange program was set up with the grade two children at the Calgary Waldorf School in Calgary and the children in the school at Bello Horizonte in the Amazon.