Luz del Mundo
Luz del Mundo is a home/child minding centre in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, run
by Gabriela Rojas Llave. Local children attend and are offered English
classes as well as other extra curricular activities such as theatre,
cultural studies. There is no cultural centre in Santa Cruz and the aim of
these classes is to provide the children with a rich knowledge of their
culture and enable them to demonstrate what they learn to others through
Gabriela, the director provides them with lunch and all of their learning
materials, birthday and Christmas parties/presents, haircuts as well as
encouragement and the loving support that they need.
What kind of children attend Luz del Mundo?
Children of single parents living in absolute basic living conditions who
are in real need of an escape from their ordinary lives in order to
broaden their horizons and hopefully prevent the fall into the delinquency
and ignorance that unfortunately becomes the reality for a lot of the ones
who are brought up in these poor areas.
Gabriela Rojas Llave is the director of Luz Del Mundo
My name is Gabriela Rojas Llave, I'm the daughter of a single mother and
thanks to god, my mother taught me to cultivate love towards others. After
I finished my secondary school, I took a course that would enable me to
work and create a beneficiary foundation for the children in my
neighbourhood. I had previously worked in a home for poor children where I
was witness to things and situations that would change my life and way of
thinking forever. I realized that until then I didn't know what the
importance of life was and since then I realize how wonderful a gift it is
to be able to give and help people. I am myself a young mother of two
daughters and have a loving husband; I adore my family and it's tough as
we only get to spend a few hours in the week together since my husband
works 7 days a week.
I live in a neighbourhood that is considered by many the most poor and
dangerous in the city which isn't so far from the truth but what people
forget to realize is that there are so many children living here who have
the right to a better future and life. They are children from the zone,
children of friends, neighbours. They fill my life with happiness and love
and they deserve the best from life. I am currently studying law and I
look forward to finishing as a recognised professional and dedicating my
life to improving the lives of the children who are being raised as I was
but perhaps without the luck that I had for the love and support of my
mother. The things I want to see from this institution are the following:
* I want other poor areas of the city to be able to see and implement
similar learning activities and opportunities to their children and
together change the minds of our future in a positive way.
* I want to achieve my dream and vision in our own institution and build a
more comfortable dining area, a proper classroom, a library and an area
for the babies and smallest children to enable their older siblings to
leave them happily whilst they participate in classes.
* To build a small and modest theatre where we can host interschool
Bolivian culture and dance performances.
* To involve other people from the zone to conduct classes in language,
arts, computation, and manual work as well as someone to act as a nanny
for the youngest children.
* To change the image of the poorest neighbourhoods in Santa Cruz and
transform them into rich cultural areas where the people strive for a
I intend to make it the work of my life to achieve these goals.
LDM Highlights in 2012
We've accepted about 15 new children, aged 2-12, to Luz Del Mundo in 2012.
Many of the LDM regulars now attend school in the morning, which means
they don't attend during the week, but come in on Saturdays and at
lunchtimes, which means that there can be between 45 and 70 kids at the
Right now (December 2012), since it's holiday time, there are more
children attending and because for the last 3 months we've had quite a few
musically-talented volunteers, the children have been learning to play
musical instruments, especially the guitar, piano and drums.
As for special celebrations, we celebrated "El día del niño", Children's
Day, where the kids were invited to the cinema by a local company that
supports LDM. Then, there was a cake and a party for El día de la amistad.
In October Ina, one of our volunteers, took all the kids for a ride in a
sight-seeing bus as well as inviting them to the zoo, which was very
Right now, We're getting ready for Christmas, which is going to be the
10th anniversary of the Luz Del Mundo foundation.
In terms of infrastructure, a lot has happened. The whole of the centre is
now roofed, which means more shade and space for the kids to play. The
ground has been covered with cement, with special holes for the rainwater,
so it drains more easily and looks nicer. Recently the bathroom was
refurbished and fitted with water-saving taps while the laundry space and
children's sink were moved, which essentially means that almost the entire
lot is a playground.
There were some accidents - one of the stoves caught fire while the other
gave out due to old age. Again, thanks to Ina's initiative, LDM was able
to purchase a brand new stove that we hope is going to serve for many
years to come. We also managed to buy a fairly cheap back-up stove, so the
lunches can be cooked even quicker now.
This year we had more than 35 volunteers, from Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, Canada, the US, the UK, France, Holland, Australia and Sweden
amongst others, they devoted their time and energy to the children of LDM.
We are very grateful for their help and truly hope that they enjoyed the
experience as much as we enjoyed their presence.
In the last couple of years the number of children attending LDM had increased significantly
and we are now more reliant than ever on external funding.
We are very grateful for any such donations to
support our work and help in the operation of the Centre.
can donate using most types of funds transfer, if you're not sure which
service to use, please consider using
www.xoom.com, which we have found to be cheap
and efficient (you register your debit/credit card in Xoom, and make a
transfer to a local bank that Gabriela can collect).
If you are happy to use Xoom, please get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and we will send you the address and bank details to transfer to.
Thank you for your support.
We need volunteers to help with teaching English
and we would also welcome volunteers with a background in music, theatre
or any other skills that could help our organisation.
The Centre is open 4 days per week, Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat, for 4 hours in the morning only (the children go to school around mid-day).
As a volunteer expect to play with the kids, teach English, Computers, help the children with their homework,
help in running the centre, etc. Activities initiated by the volunteers are very welcome.
It’s not essential that volunteers are qualified teachers, we would prefer native English speakers
for teaching English, however a high level of English as a second language would be OK. The level
of the kids is very basic and one of the most important things that they learn is pronunciation
since in many cases these classes are the only chance they get at hearing English when they don’t
have television or stereos in their homes.
Volunteers should be aware that while working with us they may be the only foreign volunteer on-site.
Volunteers need to be independent and capable of organising their own work, unsupervised.
The Centre is located in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the city and you will hear warnings from local people
about the dangers of venturing into this part of town. We encourage volunteers to generally dress-down and not draw
attention to themselves when working or travelling to the centre. None of our volunteers have had any problems so far
and obviously we are keen to keep it that way.
We would prefer volunteers to have basic Spanish speaking skills and we would like you to
stay with us for at least 4 weeks, though it's not essential.
Volunteer assistance is very much appreciated and there are no fees or participation costs
to volunteer with us. However volunteers will need to organise and pay for their
own accommodation and support themselves financially while working with us.
A ballpark figure for living costs in Santa Cruz is USD$80 per week.
Although we can answer any specific questions you may have,
we can only accept volunteer applications from people who are
already in Bolivia or those on the road in a neighbouring country.
We can accommodate between 1 and 4 (maximum) volunteers at any one time.
Please check our volunteer availability calendar before applying:
Please note that we are a grass-roots organisation and we can't
take volunteer 'bookings' weeks/months ahead of time.
To apply please contact our volunteer coordinator Stéphanie and let us know:
o A few lines about yourself
o When you are going to arrive
o How long you can stay
o What you can help us with
Our email address is:
On arrival in Santa Cruz, we suggest you book into hostel jodanga:
Luz Del Mundo is a 20 minute bus ride from the centre of town.
Learning Colours with Gabriela
Mary; English Class
At the Zoo - 2012 .
Our new wash basin!
Children's Day 2009 at the Cinema
Merry Xmas 2012 !
Opening day - our new Classroom.
Luz Del Mundo - 2008
More Luz Del Mundo Photos