Ethical Volunteering, According to Elisa


Elisa is LLI’s volunteer communications manager, a new internship management position established in 2017. Elisa hails from Torino, Italy, and is an expert at our volunteer application process. She works alongside Anthony, On-site Volunteer Program Manager, to welcome volunteers to Huaycan.

What does ethical volunteering mean to you? Why is it so important?

To me ethical volunteering is synonymous of positive impact on the local community. It doesn’t matter if you are volunteering in your hometown, or miles far away from your own country. Volunteering ethically is putting first the community needs and focus on that, not on your personal interests. The priority is listening  and then acting consequently. This is so important because you make sure that you are working on the real needs of the people you are helping and this is one of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering: doing something sustainable and useful.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing a volunteer should do before coming to LLI (or to volunteer abroad in general)?

Leave all your beliefs at home and enjoy day after day what a new cultural and geographical environment can offer you and let it (positively) change you.  

What is your average day like, as LLI’s volunteer communications manager? What’s your favorite part of your role?

As Volunteer Communications Manager I spend half of my time in taking care of the communications with potential and incoming volunteers and half in helping out into the programs.

This is exactly what I love of my role, I have the chance of woking both behind the scenes and being on the spotlight working with the participants of our programs.

But the real favorite part of my role is about the volunteers, and seeing the way each person little by little gets more and more confident and used to the new environment where s/he starts working. I love seeing how people connect, make friendships, exchange culture, open their minds, experience something new… This is another very important part of the volunteering: positively impacting your life.


What’s your favorite LLI program? Why?

It can sounds obvious, but I really don’t have a favorite LLI program. I think that all of them are important in supporting the local community from different point of view and different aspects: women’s empowerment, education for young kids and youth are all equally essential for the community development. And I think that LLI, thanks to the work of a great number of amazing people, is doing a great job! Would you like to be the next member of our wonderful team? Check us out here!

Join LLI’s volunteer or internship team! We have many positions available to start throughout the year. Want to get in touch with Elisa directly? Email her at



Meet Yeni, LLI’s Education Expert!

Those who have stayed up-to-date with LLI’s latest news in the past 2 years know we’ve made a conscious effort to grow our staff, specifically with the intention of improving our programs, but also incorporating more local management. Last August, we hired Anthony to run our volunteer program and started making plans for what 2018 could bring.

Fast forward to January 2018, we hired two new Peruvian staff members to our management team: Francheska, our new Huaywasi Program Director from Lima, (more on her and Huaywasi here!) and Yeni, our new Education Programs Manager from Huaycán. Recently, we did a Q&A session with Yeni to get to know her a bit better. Check it out below:

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Tell us about yourself, Yeni! What are you all about?

My name is Yeni Delgado, I am 25 years old, I live in Lima – Peru. I went to Enrique Guzmán y Valle University and I got there my bachelor´s and Master´s degree (titulo de Licenciada) in Education as a foreign language Teacher.

I have been working the last four years with Kids and Teenagers, teaching them Basic English. I love being a teacher because I want to make a difference and positive impact in each students’ life. Also, being a teacher is an invaluable contribution.

When I was teenager I had an amazing teacher at high school who made a big impact in my life and now she is my source of inspiration as a teacher to continue my career in education. I am so proud of her and I always thanks her wherever I see my wonderful teacher Sara Monrroy. (Sara is also a women’s program participant! Hola Sara!)

You’ve been involved with LLI for a while now. Like Anthony, you also started out as a participant. Tell us a bit how you got here now to work with LLI?

Yeni (far right), with her English class in 2012. And who’s that on the far left? Anthony, LLI’s Volunteer Program Manager 🙂

I started with LLI as an English student from 2012 to 2014. I am so thankful with LLI because I improved my English Skills a lot with International English Native Speakers, I learned Basic French. English became to be my favorite language, I used to go to Club conversations every Sunday, and I had private English tutoring lessons that LLI offered me for free.

Also I am thankful with each volunteer who gave me his/her precious time to teach me, wherever they are, I ask God to bless them and take care of them.

From 2014 to 2016, I started to work as a volunteer with programs named “girls empowerment” and “women’s empowerment” along with international volunteers, I worked as an art assistant teacher, English Translator and I taught Spanish to some international volunteers.

This year I am so excited to join LLI again, I am working as the Education Programs Manager and I am ready to give all my effort for the betterment of Light and Leadership along with local and international volunteers.

What does education mean to you?

Education is important in our life, the only thing that helps us to differentiate what is wrong and what is right. Without education we can’t can’t reach our destination, that’s why Education is the only gateway to success.

We are excited to work with Yeni in the coming months and years! We are grateful to have her time, talents and ideas brought to the programs. Welcome, Yeni!

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Join LLI’s Team! Opportunities available in 2018

Searching for an internship abroad in Peru? Looking to join an ethical volunteering team?

Light and Leadership has hosted over 350 talented and ambitious international volunteers, coming from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets. Interested in joining us? We hope so. We’re in search of our next program managers, those who commit 12 months of working with LLI in exchange for free room and board. Could this be you? Check it out below:

Kids’ Program Manager – Starts July 5th, 2018

Love kids and speak strong Spanish? Love education? Our Kids’ Program Manager oversees day-to-day operations in our Kids’ Center, an education space for kids ages 7-12 years old. The manager is responsible for coordinating class schedules, answering parents’ questions, holding parent meetings and “parent hours”, stepping into classes to help teach when needed, and more. This position requires an advanced Spanish speaking level, interest in working in youth development, and a 12 month commitment in exchange for free room and board. You can often find a full description of responsibilities on our page. 

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Teen Program Manager – Starts March 14th, 2018 or August 2018

Our Teen Center Program Manager runs the day-to-day operations of our teen center, plans special events like movie nights, culture nights and more, builds rapport with teen participants, and more. Work directly with teen youth and local and international staff and volunteers in one of the best environments possible! This position requires an advanced Spanish speaking level, interest in working in youth development, and a 12 month commitment* in exchange for free room and board. You can often find the full description of the position on
*6 month commitment required for the March 14th start date.

Volunteer Communications Manager – Starts August 1st, 2018 

LLI’s volunteer communications manager gets the best of both worlds: recruit and coordinate incoming volunteers to uphold the integrity of our volunteer program while also assisting in our education programs at the front desk of our children and teen programs. Gain experience in what it takes to run an ethical volunteering program and get hands on experience within our education programs as well… we think it’s a win-win! Intermediate Spanish preferred, 12 month commitment required in exchange for free room and board. You can often see the full description of this position on our page.

If you’re ready to apply, get in touch with Elisa, volunteer communications manager, at Send

BOO. Halloween at the TC!

The scariest holiday, Halloween, has now passed and  we at LLI celebrated it together with teens, kids and volunteers. The annual Halloween event took place in the Teen Center, both for the kids and the teens… everybody was in scary costumes, of course!


We started preparing the Teen Center for the Halloween party days before the event. It took us a long time to decorate the center, but it would have been much harder without the help of our teen participants! Starting at 10 am of the celebration day, the Center was full of teens that were eager to help with making sure everything was perfect for the Halloween party. Together we created a haunted house for the kids and put on halloween decorations the teens had made days earlier.

‘’The teens played a huge part in organizing and executing our Halloween Event. They especially enjoyed planning the Haunted House and scaring the Kids Program participants. I’m really proud of the teens for working so hard to put something together that would really get the kids excited.’’ – Giovanna, Teen Program Manager


Everything was finally ready when kids started to arrive. We had a lot of things prepared to them: the kids could get their face painted by the teens, do an art project with our art teacher, experience the haunted house full of teens ready scare them, or just spend time at the center enjoying snacks and each other’s company.

The Best Costume Winnter!

When all the kids were picked up by their parents, it was the time for the teens to enjoy the party of their own, which they had truly deserved. We started by playing Halloween-themed group game. After the game it was time to publish the winner of the costume contest. The competition was tough since many teens had put a lot of time and effort in their costumes. One of them was voted as the best of them all, and we wrapped up the evening with a scary movie that made sure it truly felt like Halloween.


The day was a success! Feedback given by the kids and teens were all positive, and we’re all looking forward to next Halloween. Thank you to our teens, kids and volunteers for making for making the Halloween party possible!

Blog Post written by Julia Salmi, Teen Program Volunteer

Spotlight: TC Guitar Classes

As a Teen Center participant, you are free to attend any of our classes we offer at the center. At the moment we have English, knitting, art and guitar classes. We want to give teens the possibility to share their interests and talents with other participants by letting them teach a class, and thus, they turn into a volunteer! If teens have an idea, time and can handle responsibility, they’re ready to take on their own project or class.

‘’Estoy muy emocionado por todas las clases que vienen y por todas las personas que conoceré.’’ // I’m excited about all the classes that are still to come and all the people I will meet.”

Following that idea, the guitar classes we have twice a week are happening all thanks to a Teen Center participant Rildo. Rildo first found his passion in guitar when an international LLI volunteer was teaching classes at the center about two years ago. Rildo kept participating in the classes, and now he knows how to play guitar well enough to teach a class of his own.

Rildo started by giving private classes every now and then and later, about three months ago, he started the official classes regularly. At first only few, maybe one or two, people came to Rildo’s classes. After a while more teens started to get interested and come to see if they too could learn how to play guitar, and nowadays there is 5 to 6 people in every hour-long class, held Mondays and Tuesdays.

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It’s easy to see that Rildo enjoys teaching music. Even though he’s one of the teens, during the classes others respect him and see him as a real teacher. When asking his students what they think about RIldo’s guitar classes, the feedback is only positive; the passion Rildo has towards guitar has transmitted to them as well!

What is Rildo’s favorite thing about playing guitar? He says he loves composing music of his own and the feeling connected to others when he is playing in a group. His favorite thing about teaching is that he feels himself useful and important when other teens learn to play guitar thanks to him.

In the future Rildo would like to work with music professionally, which he will achieve without a doubt if he maintains the same passionate attitude he has now. Go Rildo!

Blog Post written by TC Volunteer Julia Salmi

Two Big Moves!

You might have noticed there have been lots of positive changes happening at LLI: we’ve hired more staff (including more locals), become much more efficient internally, and now we’re making two big changes…

1) LLI has moved! This move is a really good one: we moved our education center (formerly known as the Kids’ Center) from the main street, Quince de Julio, back to our old neighborhood in Zone D. We’re no longer battling noise from the main road and have already attracted new women’s program participants now being back in our old stomping grounds. It’s a stones-throw away from our volunteer house and our teen center too, making this an ideal location for staff and volunteers alike. It also has a giant classroom, perfect for yoga classes, parent meetings, homework hours and more.


Want to know the bonus? LLI gained some serious office space. By that we really mean it: LLI now has four offices, one meeting room and two storage rooms, all above our new Education Center. Former interns and volunteers know what this means to us (and might have twinge of jealousy?)–it’s big news for us and was a long time coming. Needless to say, we’re all happy.


2) Our Executive Director, Lara, is moving! It’s true–some of you may have heard a few rumors, but our E.D., after nearly a decade in Peru, is jumping across the gulf of Mexico pond back to her native city of Chicago, IL (USA). Lara will focus on sustainable funding in Chicago–fundraising, getting more grants for LLI and growing LLI’s Fair Trade Project, Huaywasi. She’s definitely looking forward to connecting with current and upcoming donors alike about all the good things LLI is up to, and most importantly, where LLI is headed.

But don’t worry… LLI’s programs will still keep working for the Huaycán community with the guidance of our new on-site Managing Director, Emma.  Emma comes to LLI with a strong background in global management and non-profit project administration experience, in Peru, the U.S. and elsewhere. We’re in good hands.

When is this big move happening? Emma has just recently joined us and Lara will stay in Peru until late Peruvian Summer (about April or May). We look forward to lots of new ideas, growth and positive change for LLI’s future!

University Fairs, Resources, and more: LLI’s Higher Ed. Project!

The teen center is now in its third year and we’ve seen it grow exponentially ever since August 2014. As we’ve gotten to know the teens better, we started to notice a gap in our programs and a need that was present among teens: How do I get a scholarship? Where can I look for info about universities? What is it like to be an engineer?

Fast forward to 2017, we now have a Higher Education project! This project, which is run by a local staff member Marvin, includes assisting teens with questions about higher education, providing information on schools and scholarships, taking trips to events like career fairs in Lima, and, starting last week, workshops on Sundays. Teens and their parents can book an appointment with Marvin and they can discuss together about the teen’s future plans. Marvin himself studied philosophy of education and he’s currently working in a secondary school as an educator and the evenings he spends teaching at a University.  You’ll see him working in the teen center with us now about two or three times a week.

Meet Marvin! You’ll find him either at the Teen Center or the office.

During he’s time working at the center, Marvin has become familiar to all the teens: they recognize him in the hallway and are already asking questions regarding scholarships, choosing a career, etc. Some of the teens have already reserved an appointment to meet Marvin with their parents, something we hope all teens will do during their tenure at our programs.

Our leadership program is even getting involved. As a new leadership module, Marvin is starting to lead workshops where the teens can learn about working life. Throughout the module, Marvin will teach the teens about learning what skills teens already possess, the difference between vocation and profession, and how one should choose a career. The last session of this new module will involve doing something more practical, like creating a personal CV.

Marvin’s thinks that LLI teens are very much willing to build their future and keep learning. As we know, being a teenager can be stressful and teens have a lot of things on their minds… and getting a higher education some day is one of them. The fact that Marvin offers LLI teens an opportunity to achieve their goals is very important. He can’t choose a career for anyone, but he can lead them towards a good education. And because the teens are so full of enthusiasm, they are already halfway there.

Higher Ed project participants at a University Fair last month.

In Huaycán, there are many challenges parents and teens alike face regarding sending their children onto higher education: finances, lack of information and resources and general misinformation all pose problems for parents, but we are so happy to have Marvin and the Higher Education project working toward better futures for LLI teens! Gracias Marvin!

Blog written by Julia Salmi, LLI volunteer

Teen Leadership: Human Rights

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On Sunday evenings, a group of teens gather each week to discuss, debate, and learn about a range of important topics. This module’s theme has been Human Rights, so last two Sundays the topics were Death Penalty and Women’s rights. Heavy stuff, yes… but the teens were ready.

We approached the Death Penalty in the form of a debate. Teens were divided into two groups, one in favor of and the other against the argument that Death Penalty should be legal in Peru (it’s currently illegal here). Both groups were given 20 minutes to search information from internet so that after that time they would be able to defend their given opinion.

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The result was great! Everyone was engaged and it wasn’t difficult at all to create natural discussion about a topic as difficult as death penalty. It was evident teens had done a great job searching information: they knew how to respond the other group’s arguments and base their responses on facts. Even though we were running out of time, the teens wanted to keep going. All in all, the debate was very successful.

The following Sunday we talked about Women’s rights. We started the event with a game where everyone could tell what they wanted to do when they grow up. They could also think if the career they chose was as suitable for women as it was for men.

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We imagined a world where women were in charge of everything and where the roles between men and women were put upside down. This really clarified and made more realistic the theme we were dealing with. Feminism and women’s rights may come across as difficult and controversial topics, but our teens tackled it well. The conversation turned tense at times, with a mix of opinions present. However, we learned from each other which is the most important!

Blog post written by Julia Salmi, LLI teen program volunteer.

Stay tuned for more updates on our leadership program! Learn more about our teen program at

New Updates, New Video: Women’s Empowerment Program

LLI’s women’s program has had a great year thus far and we’re looking forward to more! Here’s a quick update on what all has been going on, plus check out the new video at the end of the post to see it all in action:

1) We’ve offered three certificate courses (going on four very soon) in the areas of financial education, nutrition and women’s health. Each course has been 4-5 weeks long and requires steady attendance to receive a certificate at the end. It’s been an excellent addition to our educational repertoire!

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2) English classes: comin’ up! These classes are top of the list of what our participants ask for and the course has 
been in the development since the beginning of the year. This course will last 8 weeks in total and will be offered on Sundays and Tuesdays. Check out what our Women’s Program Manager, Caroline, has to say about the new certificate course, which started this week:

“English is always a highly sought-after class and very well attended, so we are excited to announce the new certificate course in English for the Women’s Program! The new English certificate course focuses on basic conversation abilities as well as listening and speaking skills.  We have been busy adapting the curriculum to best fit the needs of the women, and are super excited to start this class twice a week!”

3) We’re only in September and we’ve already seen over 80 women come through our programs. This is exciting to us–we’re confident we’ll reach 100 by the end of the year, expanding educational opportunities to more and more women!

As promised, check out the new video to see it all in action:

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Huaywasi is Hiring!

Join Huaywasi & LLI as our Huaywasi Program Director!

Huaywasi is searching for the next Program Director for our growing fair trade artisan project! Huaywasi (why-wa-si) is an extension of the Light and Leadership Initiative’s (LLI) Women’s Empowerment program. Profits from Huaywasi sales are directly invested in our women’s empowerment program, making it 100% sustainable and accessible to more women each year.


We’re in search of a new program director, someone to take the reigns of the project on-site in Huaycán, Lima, Perú. Our program director works directly with seven female artisans, ensuring our program grows and becomes even more sustainable for our organization and the artisans. Here’s a full list of responsibilities:

  • Work directly with Huaywasi artisans to place monthly orders, give feedback and complete artisan payments.
  • Hold quarterly meetings between artisans, interns, and the program director.
  • Oversee production, design and quality control for each product within the required timeline
  • Manage utilizing the shopify platform
  • Create and execute a marketing strategy for and for in person sales in Lima.
  • Manage up to three interns within the program, delegating tasks and encouraging a positive work environment.
  • Work at pop-up shops, fairs, etc in Lima, Peru.
  • Export products to the US (training provided)
  • Communicate with the Women’s Empowerment Program manager about artisans and educational needs
  • Report directly the Executive Director on a weekly basis
  • More duties may be assigned as the program grows.

We’re searching for someone who…

  • Has an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Is passionate about fair trade, women’s empowerment and education
  • Has an understanding of the North American consumer, but also an insight into traditional Peruvian culture.
  • Has a strong design background—is confident sketching, constructing and overseeing the design process from start to finish
  • Speaks near fluent or fluent Spanish.
  • Is ready to grow a project: we’re at an exciting point with Huaywasi!
  • Is able to live in Huaycán, Lima, Peru with a stipend to cover housing costs and then some.
  • Is a U.S. or Peruvian citizen (or has the legal right to work in Peru)

The benefits:

  • An opportunity to lead a fair trade project, while being a part of a high impact non-profit.
  • A living stipend to cover costs while working with Huaywasi
  • Free meals on work days (Friday through Tuesday)
  • 3 weeks paid time off a year

This position is a contract position for 18 months, with the possibility of extension and begins on January 15th, 2018. We cannot offer flight stipends at this time.

Please do not apply if you do not meet the Spanish language requirements.

How To Apply

Please send your resume and cover letter to Lara DeVries, Executive Director, Learn more about us at and