During a recent trip to Cusco, I saw two lines of children walking along, laughing and chattering with their teachers as I rode into the Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa, where I’d be spending my first night in the Sacred Valley during an Aracari inspection trip. I asked why there were children there and learned that they were going to the Colegio Sol y Luna, located on the same property as the hotel.
Colegio Sol y Luna opened in 2010 through the Sol y Luna Association, which was founded by creators, Franz and Petit. Since that first class, the school has grown and now has 140 students, coming from various towns in the Urubamba Valley and the surrounding Andean towns and ranging from age 3 in initial to age 12 in the first year of secondary education. In the next year, Sol y Luna expects at least 20 more students and will continue to develop the secondary education as their students age into each new level. Some students who live in remote parts of the Andes and can only arrive to the school by walking are able to stay at the “Niños de Jesús” boarding home from Monday to Friday. There, they receive care and alimentation while they are at the school for the week away from their homes.
There are about twenty teachers at the school, and all have been trained at universities in Lima and are highly qualified for their positions. The curriculum at Sol y Luna, though it complies with the requirements of the Peruvian Ministry of Education, focuses on developing the self-esteem of its students, as well as encouraging them to read for fun. The students take classes in the arts and humanities, sciences and math and also spend ten hours a week learning English. During various workshops, the students at Colegio Sol y Luna can learn dance, circus activities and other foreign languages.
In addition, the school is located on a beautiful property in Urubamba, and if anyone has ever stayed in the Sol y Luna Lodge, you can imagine the care that has been taken for the classrooms and creating a warm, ideal learning environment.
Franz and Petit have increased their fundraising efforts as their student body continues to grow and age, requiring more supplies and technology to help them develop. Just a couple of weeks ago Aracari attended one such fundraiser by Sol y Luna, a lunch held at the home of contemporary artist Federico Bauer in the town of Pachacamac, to the south of Lima. Federico was responsible for decorating many of the interiors of the hotel and its rooms, which are beautiful examples of “Arte Popular” and an integral part of why the hotel reflects the local environment of the Urubamba Valley.
It was a lovely event, a delicious lunch in a beautiful setting with a group of people who support Sol y Luna’s ongoing efforts to improve education in Cusco’s Sacred Valley. We have pledged a donation to Sol y Luna as a part of our ongoing commitment to giving back to communities in the regions where we travel.
For more information about Colegio Sol y Luna and how to support, visit their website.