I worked for six months as the Women's Program Manager for the Light and Leadership Initiative from January through June of 2014. LLI is an organization where the focus is the work that the volunteers do as opposed to the money they spend to come volunteer. LLI truly relies on the initiative and enthusiasm of volunteers, which makes it a great experience for those who want to learn what it's like to work at a grassroots non-profit.
As the Women's Program Manager, I organized workshops on financial education, nutrition, and artisan skills, given by Peruvian organizations and students, to groups of women in Huaycán. I also managed LLI's artisan program, taught basic computer and literacy classes, and helped with the community gardening project. I loved the women I worked with and left wishing I could have stayed longer.
Huaycán is a developing community, meaning there are some challenges to living there, but LLI does a lot to make volunteers feel safe and is very responsive to volunteer concerns. Living in Huaycán is an important part of the experience, allowing people to be a part of the community they hope to serve. The volunteer coordinator does a great job making sure volunteers feel at home and providing organized opportunities to explore other parts of Lima.
I would highly recommend LLI to anyone who wants to have a real impact, meet amazing, dedicated people, and learn about life in an urban developing community in Peru. I will never forget my time there!