April 10, 2024/ Community / 0 Comments

The power of inclusion at Sol y Luna

“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive” – Mahatma Gandhi


Inclusion has long been at the heart of everything we do at Hotel Sol y Luna, particularly through our support of the Sol y Luna Foundation, our charitable arm. We believe that everyone is entitled to equal opportunities, including those who might otherwise be marginalized through poverty, disability, abuse or abandonment.

Established in 1998, the Sol y Luna Foundation was established to achieve lasting, positive change for disadvantaged children in Peru’s Sacred Valley. It’s an invaluable initiative, not least because it offers education, care and support for some of the country’s poorest children over a period of many years, from pre-school through to college and university.

Travel as a force for good

Funding for the Sol y Luna Foundation comes, in part, from proceeds raised by Hotel Sol y Luna, our 43 casita Relais & Chateaux lodge in Urubamba, an hour or so from Cusco in the Sacred Valley.

“At Sol y Luna, we create positive change by giving two things that all children deserve: love and education.” – Petit Miribel

As Petit goes on: “All too often extreme poverty breeds violence, alcoholism and abuse. With no sense of hope, the light goes out in children’s eyes.”

We put the light back into children’s eyes by providing a calm and comforting family environment, offering support and a sense of togetherness to children who might otherwise be left behind.

Our operations are often guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly encouraging good health and well-being, providing quality education, encouraging gender equality, and alleviating poverty.

We are passionate about rescuing impoverished children from poverty and offering them educational opportunities and pastoral care to set them up for life. And by providing a holistic educational and support system, we also provide them with a safe space to grow, learn and to be themselves; vital for their wellbeing, mental and physical health, confidence and sense of worth.

The Four Key Pillars of the Foundation 

The Foundation is split up in to four key areas, each of which complements the others to provide an overall system of support and care.

  1. The Sol y Luna Intercultural School – education from Kindergarten to 17 years of age
  2. The Home – our orphanage and children’s home
  3. Paqari – our special needs centre for disabled children
  4. Roots & Wings – providing additional support for children who have graduated from the school


When Petit and her husband Franz first arrived in the Sacred Valley, they quickly realised that educational facilities were not as strong as they could be, and that a focus in this area would have an immensely positive impact.

And thus was born the Sol y Luna Intercultural School, which now provides education to nearly 200 children various villages and communities in the area. Many children live in remote areas so are accommodated in foster homes during the week to allow them to attend every day – children from particularly remote settlements often miss school altogether as they have no means to get there.

We educate 90% of our students through full or partial scholarships. In addition to providing education, we offer transport, healthy and nutritious food, medical and dental care, psychological support, clothing, shoes and support for parents.

The most important transformation is seeing improvements in the lives of every one of our students, not only academically, but emotionally, personally and in their family life as well.” – Jenny Luna, SYL School Director

Sebastian, a student at the Sol y Luna School describes why he’s so happy there: “What I like best about Sol y Luna are the friendships we all share. I have classmates, teachers, they are like my family.”

With your help, we can continue to provide for children who, through no fault of their own, have become victims of poverty. Whilst the Hotel Sol y Luna provides some funding to the Foundation, we are also dependent on private donations and sponsors to allow us to provide the services and facilities that we do.

Our 2023 campaign is raising money to give children the education they deserve.

If you would like to make a donation, that would be hugely appreciated and help us in our efforts to help the children develop into happy, healthy young adults who can work towards a better future.


Currently housing 19 vulnerable children from troubled backgrounds, our orphanage and children’s home, founded in 2018, is a safe and loving family environment where our children are free to be children. We support our students slowly and sensitively to help them to grow in confidence and self-belief. Children live at the home and we make sure that siblings are kept together, often sharing a room.

We provide healthy food, medical care and psychological support, yet as Kelly Limo, Sol y Luna Foundation Director, explains:

The biggest challenge in the Sol y Luna home is giving the children all the emotional support they need. They come from troubled backgrounds, where they suffered psychological and physical violence, and so trusting someone new is difficult for them. The psychological support we offer is key in helping them to learn to trust in themselves but also in us.

Generous sponsors such as Jean Franken, who began to sponsor student Ana Liz in 2019, make our vital work possible. Jean describes the time that she spent at the Sol y Luna Foundation:  “It was an unforgettable experience not only because Ana is a beautiful and affectionate girl but also seeing how the Sol y Luna team loves her and takes such good care of her. I feel very happy and proud to be able to form part of the Sol y Luna Foundation. Congratulations to Petit, Kelly and all the team for the daily work they are doing for all these children.

Maggie Draycott sponsors Juan Carlos, and sums up the Sol y Luna Home with these kind words:

“The orphanage at Sol y Luna touched my heart like nothing else in a long time. The children…were totally engaged and it felt like we were with one big family. The main thing was that everyone was smiling with their hearts. Everyone was happy. You don’t find that sort of happiness everywhere, it’s a rare thing. It makes me very happy now to be part of their family too. Long may it continue. If you can change one life happiness will follow. The team are incredible with the children. Please visit if you can. You will see what I mean.”


Meaning ‘rebirth’ in Quechua, Paqari – founded in 2015 – is our centre for disabled children. It embodies our core values of inclusion, growth and revival. We care for 14 students requiring therapy, rehabilitation, education, psychological counselling and social support. Emotional support for families is also provided.

It all starts with love” – Petit Miribel

Just to show how important it is that we foster a sense of inclusion, Paqari is located right in the middle of the school, which enables our children to integrate more easily into the daily life of the school and community.

Our aim is to progressively introduce our Paqari students into regular classes and into the community.

A sense of inclusion is important for the children…because it helps them develop values such as empathy, camaraderie and solidarity in a natural way” explains Beatrice Ortiz, Paqari Coordinator.

Inclusion is important for the children of Paqari because they begin to socialize. We don’t want to separate anyone, we want everyone to share the same space, the same environment here in the school. They share break times, they share meal times. Not only do they share within the school but also when they go out as well.


There are two lasting legacies we try to give our children: the first is roots, a sense of belonging and identity within the community, and the second is wings, the confidence to be oneself and to explore the wider world.

Our further education programme supports students who have graduated from the Sol y Luna School and are pursuing tertiary education, whether an apprenticeship or a university degree.

18 year old Carolina recently completed the International Baccalaureate at The Andino Cusco International School thanks to backing from the Sol y Luna Foundation. Now living in Lima, she is reading Psychology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

We cover tuition fees and living costs and ensure that the children have access to all the emotional support they need; university studies may well involve moving to Lima, which can be daunting for children from the Sacred Valley who may not have had many opportunities to travel during their upbringing.

Aged 19, Kusi was supported through school by the Sol y Luna Foundation, achieving an International Baccalaureate at The Andino Cusco International School. Like Carolina, she is now living in Lima and studying at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, reading Biomedical Engineering.

Student sponsor, John Montgomery enthuses: “SYL is a place of warmth, safety, learning and refuge – deeply meaningful to the children and to sponsors.

 To find out more about how you too can become part of the special family that is the Sol y Luna Foundation, or to come and visit us in Peru, please do get in touch.

If you would like to donate to the Foundation, please follow this link: Donate here.

“When everyone is included, everyone wins” – Jesse Jackson


Down at the ranch – Wayra at Sol y Luna  
Putting community first at Sol y Luna  

The name Footprint originally came from our newsletter and we decided to use it for the Sol y Luna blog as well. Footprint fits well with the concept of Sol y Luna: our hotel was founded to support the local community. Leave footprints of kindness wherever you go.


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