Needed: YOU! Volunteer Needs Coming Up!

LLI is searching for Volunteers! Join us in a wide array of opportunities, from fashion design to English teaching to working with teens and events. Check out our current opportunities listed below, from June 2018 and onwards and get the full run down of our volunteer program here.

Kids’ Program Manager

Looking for an internship and a long term commitment with LLI? We’re searching for a strong Spanish speaker who has experience working with kids, preferably in an education setting. Join us in late July and commit 12 months! Email for the full position description and to apply.

Reading program

Join us in our reading program as a lead reading program volunteer! Help us manage our library, which offers kids the opportunity to read books at our education center several times a week. Encourage a reading for pleasure environment, share your passion for reading and help improve students’ reading comprehension! At least intermediate Spanish skills are preferred. There are opportunities available to help in other programs as well, in addition to this placement. Ready to apply? Do it here.

Dates: Either from 4th of July – 29th of August or 29th of August – 5th of December (or both!)

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Sports/Phys. Ed teacher

Be ready to get involved with our physical education program! Do you have experience in the physical education field, either playing, coaching or working as a professional? This could be the placement for you! Help our LLI kiddos learn new skills and teamwork, all while being healthy outside! At least Basic Spanish skills are strongly encouraged for this placement. Join us and apply here.

Dates: either 25th of July – 29th of August or 29th of August – 5th of December

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English Teacher

The Light and Leadership Initiative is in need of English teachers to start in late August. You’ll be teaching several English classes a week to kids and teens in our after school programs, plus play games, read, and do other fun activities with our students! Previous teaching or tutoring experience is a big plus for this position, though no matter what you’ll receive bi-weekly lesson plan support and check-ins from our amazing local staff. Apply now, limited spots available!

Dates: 29th August – 5th December

Chess teacher

Description: Chess is one of LLI’s longest running programs and has one of the most dedicated groups of students. LLI works with students ages 7-12 years old and teens ages 13-17, teaching skills ranging from the absolute basics to more intermediate/advanced skills, depending on the group of students. Apply here!

Dates: 29th of August – 5th December

Teen Program Assistant

Do you speak intermediate Spanish and enjoy working with teens? This placement might be just right for you! Join our teen center program and help out in everything from leading special events (like movie nights or culture nights, pictured!), assisting with our leadership program, running our front desk, and of course, hanging out with some of the coolest teens on the planet. Join us by applying here.

Dates: Flexible. Join us in June, July, August or onwards! Ideal commitment is minimum 8 weeks.

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Huaywasi Fashion Design Intern

Did you know LLI has a fair trade project, called Huaywasi? We’re calling all fashion designers to join us in Huaycan and learn first hand what it takes to design and work alongside some amazing female artisans. High beginner Spanish is strongly encouraged as you’ll be working with our Peruvian artisans and staff. Ready to apply? Do so here.

Dates: Flexible. Join us in June, July, August or onwards! Ideal commitment is minimum 8 weeks.

Questions? Contact Elisa, Volunteer Communications Manager, at We hope to see your application!


LLI Turned 9. With Muchos Caramelos.

On Sunday, June 3rd, LLI celebrated nine years of dedication to education within the Huaycán community. Hundreds of kids, teens, little siblings, parents and women program participants (some of whom are mothers to our participants!) came out to enjoy day filled with fun and lots and lots of candies and despite the Peru soccer match on at the same time, we had a HUGE turnout!

Each year, LLI plans the anniversary surrounding a theme. We’ve done themes anywhere from “Around the World” to “Under the Sea” and now, “Candyland.” With a goal of keeping it light and focused on fun, you can tell by the photos it turned out to be the perfect theme.

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Kids ages 7-12 were invited to participate in 12 stations, including a photo booth, a sponge race, a math machine, the classic face painting and more. Teen participants helped out as volunteers, alongside both international and local volunteers.

After passing through all the activities and receiving lots of candy, families enjoyed music performances by teen participants (Rildo and Samanta), a skit done by teen actors on the importance of brushing teeth (of course! Featuring Saraly, Brayan T., Maycol, Brayan Q., Ronaldo, Alessandra, Dayvis and Samanta) and we were all delighted by an impromptu story telling performance by two kids’ program participants (siblings Juan Diego and Maria).

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Then, thanks to our MC Elisa (Volunteer Communications Manager), we presented awards in each of our Children’s, Teens’, and Women’s programs. Winners are listed below:

Children’s Program

photobooth-6Leadership: Erick R. and Yasmin O.; Positive Attitude: Viky C. and Jomar S.; Best New Participant: Fhabian G.; Mother of the Year: Herminia V.

Teens’ Program

Leadership: Nicol C.; Positive Attitude: Bryan R.; Best New Participant: Deyvis E.

Women’s Program

Best Attendance: Viky C.; Entrepreneur of the Year: Kheilairis R.; Woman of the Year: Jessica T.

Plus, we were able to recognize our Local Volunteer of the Year: Cristofer C. 

Congrats everyone! 🙂

More pictures, including lots of greats from our photo booth, can be found on our Facebook page.

Very special thanks to all the donors who helped us make our anniversary fundraising goal, providing t-shirts to all participants and volunteers of the day, plus providing some extra funds for activities. THANK YOU!

LLI’s Turning 9! :) :) :)


This year the Light and Leadership Initiative is hosting our 9th anniversary on June 3rd and keeping it light and fun, our theme this year is CandyLand! Kids are sure to enjoy an afternoon of games, prizes and… candy of course.

We are currently working to raise $999 (for the 9th anniversary, makes sense 😉 ) in order to fund our activities (all chosen to be in the theme of Candyland, such as cookie decorating, a cake walk or the candy ring toss) and ensure every one of the participants receives an annual anniversary t-shirt. Kids (and teens… and adults) adore these tees–they wear them throughout the year and are proud to display themselves as participants of Light and Leadership!

This year’s t-shirt has been designed by one of our teens, Angela Pujay. Additionally, this year’s t-shirts will be manufactured by two artisans from our fair trade project Huaywasi, which ensures each artisan earns a fair wage in a safe working environment (in this case, their homes!). Herminia (left) is screen printing the anniversary logo and Guillermina (right) is handling the t-shirt construction!


It’s been so much fun organizing it: we have an anniversary committee made up of international volunteers from all over the world. The committee is really excited to see all there hard work slowly come to life and the excitement of the kids is even bigger. The kids have never behaved as well as just before the anniversary (they wouldn’t risk not being able to go!).

Are you able to help us make it to $999? We’re in the home stretch: even $10 or $20 will make a difference! …and stay tuned for the photos of the big day!

Donate Here!

Changin’ It Up: LLI’s Women’s Program

2018 has brought some pretty cool changes to LLI’s Women’s Empowerment Program. After seven years of offering a wide array of educational workshops to women, we decided in late 2017 to re-evaluate, reflect and re-charge based on conversations had with the women’s program participants themselves. The result? An amazing new certificate program that offers women hands-on, professional training. Read on to learn more from our very own women’s program manager, Sandra Bjarnadottir, who joined us this February all the way from Iceland.

1) What does the program look like now?

This year we are focusing solely on finance education. The goal of the program is to increase women’s capacity for personal money management and to increase women’s capacity for starting and managing a small business. The finance program lasts from April to November and finance classes are given every Sunday from 5:30 – 7:30. The program is divided into obligatory courses and optional courses and in order for the women to be able to receive their certificate at the end of the course they have to take all of the obligatory courses and a certain amount of the optional classes. In addition to the business classes we offer both computer and English classes as part of ways to achieve their certificate.

Attendance has been full in courses, especially the required courses, with 30 women showing up every time. We’re now heading into our second round of registration for a new cohort of women to start in July.

“I am part of the Women’s empowerment program because I want to learn finance techniques to be able to start my own business. The classes are very important and interesting. Each class has been a revelation for me.” Jessica, a current program participant and previous participant from past years. Jessica is seeking to open her own restaurant of traditional Peruvian food (yum!).


2) Why was the decision to change gears made?

In October 2017, we had a vision meeting with participants and volunteers of the women’s program to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our program, the interests of our participants, and to brainstorm ideas for what our program should focus on in the future. The consensus was that the women were most interested in classes in finance and business and that our program was particularly strong in these types of classes. Also, many of our participants were interested in starting or improving their own small business. Our goal is always to listen to our participants, so we decided to offer classes that will give them the tools to develop a strong business plan and earn extra income for themselves and for their families.

In addition, we really liked the fact that this program would fill a void in terms of what resources are available to women. There are similar organizations in our area offering psychological or medical support to women, but none we could find were focusing on women’s professional skills like we’ve done in this program.

“I think the program is very interesting and every class we learn something new and are able to socialize with friends. We are studying finance to become leaders in our homes and community.” Eloteria, a newly joined participant and small business owner

3) Share your experience up until now working with the women, with Peruvian professors, etc.

These past few months have definitely been a big learning experience for me. Life in Peru has a different rhythm than back home and adjusting to that has been challenging but very rewarding. Working with the women has been absolutely amazing, each and every one of them is so kind, strong and inspiring and I feel very fortunate to get the chance to work with them for an entire year. We have an excellent group of finance professors and students that are all working together towards the same goal.

“Being part of LLI s empowerment program in Huaycan has been a very inspiring and challenging experience for me. It was my first time teaching, however, I learnt a lot from these strong women that take time away from their family to study. I will, without a doubt teach at the program again, there is nothing more enriching than being able to share experiences and knowledge with people that are so eager to learn. Thank you LLI for inviting me to participate in this wonderful project!”Andrea, one of the program’s finance teachers


4) Anything else you’d like to share?

My favorite part about working as program manager of the women’s empowerment program is definitely when I get the chance to interact with the women of Huaycan directly. I’ve been so lucky these past few months to be able to participate in data collection for the program as well as promoting the women’s finance classes. Both of these projects have involved going to the streets and markets of Huaycan to talk to the women and try to get them engaged with the work we do at LLI. In my opinion the most important part of my job is to personally get to know the women of the community in order for me to understand what they want and need from the courses we offer at LLI. 

To an amazing year, keep up the great work women of Huaycán!

¡Fuerza a todas las alumnas mujeres de Huaycán este año!

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!