Misión México

Children's Refuge Supporter

Tapachula, Mexico show on map

Non-profit | Misión México

Misiòn Mèxico is a children’s refuge providing love, life and hope to 32 children and young adults. We are in need if volunteers with a range of skills and experience.
This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Singles
Couples
Groups

WHO WE ARE

We provide a family home to children who have been abused, abandoned and neglected. Our children live with us long-term and our goal is to provide a loving, family environment where they are safe to grow and develop, with as many opportunities as possible. We believe that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and that all children and young people have the right to a safe and loving home. We ensure each of our children and young adults have access to an education, extracurricular activities, healthcare, and the opportunity to learn life skills which will enable them to live independently as young adults. We encourage our volunteers to be part of this growth and development, and help us with the day to day running of our family home. We have recently expanded our work and reach through opening a social impact program which offers education, employment and empowerment opportunities to the children and women from our nearby beach community.


VOLUNTEER ROLE AND WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR
Volunteers are needed all year round at Misión México and people from all over the world come to donate their time to us. We consider a volunteer to be a ‘friend with authority’ here at Misión México. Our children need love and fun but also guidance, routine and discipline. 

Every volunteer has some talent that they can share. You don’t need to be an engineer or a certified child psychologist. A genuine love for children and an enthusiasm to work is a basic requirement. Skills that volunteers can bring to our home and share with our children can range. Every day is different but generally volunteers are involved in helping the children with the following tasks:

·  

  • Educational games and activities
  • Homework and revision, assisting with reading 
  • Developing creative programs such as surfing, arts, music, crafts, sewing, photography and cooking
  • Health and sanitation needs e.g. cleaning their teeth, brushing their hair
  • Encouraging the children to complete their household chores like making their beds and cleaning their bedrooms
  • Sport activities and exercise, such as soccer, basketball, yoga, running club and swimming classes
  • Educational projects, for example, different countries, dinosaurs, animals and festivals
  • Supervising outings, for example, to the beach or swimming pool and excursions like hikes or to the waterfall

 

At times there may be other volunteering opportunities at the refuge such as building, landscaping, painting, program assistance or office administration.  If you have experience in these areas, or believe you can contribute in some other way, and would like to know more about opportunities to assist with these during your visit, please message us through this website.


WHO WILL OUR VOLUNTEERS WORK WITH?
We have a dedicated team of medium to long-term staff working with our children, but we are in need of volunteers to work alongside our staff, providing an extra pair of hands, an extra set of eyes and lots of energy! Our staff are made up of both local staff and international staff, each with a specific job role and area of expertise. Our staff office is based onsite in our home, so our volunteers and staff have daily contact and interaction. We have a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator who recruits, interviews, trains, manages and supports all our volunteers from time of enquiry all the way through their placement. We have weekly volunteer meetings and monthly socials which are attended by staff and volunteers to keep good lines of communication and interaction open at all times. 

WHAT WE EXPECT FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS
Volunteering at Misión México is not a holiday but a busy work time; however it is incredibly rewarding and you will walk away from our home with the satisfaction that you have helped to make a difference in the lives of our children.

Your manner and behaviour should be a good example to the children. They have come from homes of abuse and neglect. You are here ‘to make a difference in the lives of these children’. What you put in is what you will take home with you. Remember that you are volunteering for a children’s refuge, therefore you are ambassadors of the refuge when you are out in public and you must act that way. Please behave in a respectable manner at all times; no drunkenness or drug use accepted. Select your locations wisely; we ask that while you are volunteering at Misión Mexico, you do not visit local places that are considered inappropriate e.g. strip bars, rowdy cantinas etc. We want you to have fun and be able to relax outside of the volunteering hours but please consider that you are only here for a short time and it will go quickly. If you really want to ‘let your hair down’ please do so on your vacation time. If your behaviour is inappropriate, you may be asked to leave.

We require that you stay a minimum of six weeks but strongly recommend you stay longer.  It takes time to gain the children’s trust and learn the daily routine.  A longer term commitment often leads to a more rewarding experience.  Please know that if you give specific dates for your volunteer stay we do have an expectation that you will be here for that time. We have a maximum occupancy of six volunteers at any one time and schedule to meet most requests. Often we turn away potential volunteers who wish to come at the same time as others – essentially meaning that if you reduce your volunteering period with us, we then become short on volunteers therefore if you are unsure of exact dates for your stay, please give us plenty of notice about your possible date of leaving, so we have time to accept other volunteers. It is recommended that you allow time before or after your volunteer stay for traveling. Mexico has some incredible tourist attractions and it is well worth spending a bit of time being a tourist to coincide with your stint working as a volunteer!


WHERE WE WORK - TAPACHULA

Tapachula is a small city in the Southern-most Mexican state of Chiapas, only 20 minutes from the Guatemalan border. It sits 25 minutes away from the beach on the Western coast line. Tapachula has approximately 300,000 residents; however this number can fluctuate depending on the number of illegal migrants from Central American countries, like Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Tapachula has grown recently and now has all the usual comforts of home, like three cinemas, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Home Depot, Office Depot and two large shopping centre complexes with a range of clothing/shoe stores. Pretty much anything you need can be found in Tapachula, even at the local supermarket. As such, living here is very comfortable. Tapachula is a complex city. It has a small population of extremely rich people, and a majority of relatively poor people. There are certain areas of Tapachula that are best avoided and you should be careful of your personal safety/belongings at all times when walking through the streets. It is a typical developing small city, with all the usual problems associated with poverty, but if you use common sense you will be fine. 

Tapachula is hot and humid all year round! The temperature in Tapachula ranges from 25-35˚C and the humidity ranges between 50%-90%. Summer months (June-August) are during the rainy season, so the heat is often cooled off at night by showers. Winter months (December-February) don’t get any colder in Tapachula, staying consistently hot and humid. Locals jokingly refer to Tapachula as ‘the oven of the devil’ due to its constant heat. Other parts of Mexico do get colder in winter. Mexico City and the surrounding areas see winter temperatures of 10-18˚C, as well as other towns like San Cristobal de Las Casas (which is a beautiful tourist town 8 hours from Tapachula). So, if you are planning on traveling in the winter months either before or after your stay at Misión Mexico, its best to include some warm clothes just in case.


HEALTH 

We are located in a boarder town in Southern Mexico. Please check with your doctor as per their recommendation for the appropriate vaccinations.

This is a n active role where you are on your feet alot and interacting with our children daily. As times the work can be physically or emotionally tiring, so a basic to general level of good health is required. We are ask that any physical or mental health concerns are openly discussed with our Volunteer Coordinator at the interview stage in order to ensure the best support is provided during the placement. 

Typical day

As you can imagine, a family with 30 plus children and young adults can be quite chaotic and busy! Living at Misión México is an intense but wonderful time for volunteers. We cover every day from 5.30am until 9pm (split into two shifts) and are responsible for helping with the daily running of our family home - such as wake-up, chore supervision, homework, meal supervision, getting ready for school, bedtime stories and
other activities like sport, art and craft or whatever skill you want to bring to the house.

A normal work day is split into 2 shifts - the morning and the afternoon.

The morning shift begins on a weekday at 5.30am and finishes at 9.30am. It consists of:

  • Preparing breakfast for the children
  • Waking the children and getting them organised for school
  • Ensuring children complete morning chores
  • Any extra tasks or projects as directed by our Volunteer Coordinator while the children are not home
  • A morning exercise programme or organised activities/games with our children who are home schooled 

The afternoon shift, beginning at 2pm, is busier and more scheduled. Once the children arrive home from school the afternoon shift volunteers assist with meal times, homework, getting our children to and from their extra curricular activities, chores, bedtimes and any projects we have running.

On Saturday both shifts start and end later. We have surf, swimming and English lessons taking place at our beach location for the children involved in those programs. For those children who do not go out to the beach, there is the opportunity for volunteers to help run organised activities, sports contests, games, park trips, craft projects etc. Our children also attend their respective church lessons with the chaplain in their respective age groups throughout the day. The day ends with family movie nights.

Sundays ar family days. Our children, staff and volunteers all pile into our two vans and head to the beach at around 8:30am. We return at 2:00pm. We hold a family BBQ in the afternoon, followed by a soccer game at our local pitch for anyone who would like to attend.

We aim to give all our volunteers two full days off each week to relax and explore surrounding areas, occasionally this may be reduced to one full day a week if we are in particularly busy periods or low on volunteers.

Details on Arrival

We accept volunteers all year around and ask for a minimum commitment of 6 weeks, but favour longer commitments. Past volunteers often express that 6 weeks goes too fast and they are able to help make a bigger impact or take on small projects for us if they stay medium to long-term.


Volunteers can arrive any day of the week, although we do ask that they arrive between 8am and 9pm to avoid disturbing the children, onsite staff and other volunteers during sleeping hours. 

Detailed information about arrivals and travel to and from the airport or local bus station will be provided to all volunteers who are successful with their application. Our Volunteer Coordinator or a staff member will be at the house to meet all new volunteers on arrival. Unfortunately we cannot provide airport pick ups.

Free-time activities

Though Tapachula isn't on the tourist trail, nor is it easy to find information online (in English or in Spanish), we're happy to say that there is plenty to do during time off.  Nearby activities and attractions include:


  • Surfing and surf lessons
  • The Izapa ruins
  • San Francisco and El Aguila waterfalls
  • A butterfly sanctuary
  • A waterpark
  • Playa Linda beach
  • Puerto Chiapas
  • Great markets for shopping
  • Swimming pools 
  • Numerous restaurants and street food stalls with authentic, delicious (and cheap!) Mexican cuisine
  • Small villages and towns outside the city for lovely day trips
  • Chocolate tours in Tuxtla Chico
  • Coffee farms with accommodation and tours (e.g. Finca Argovia or Finca Hamburgo)
  • The second-highest volcano in Central America, Tacana, which can be climbed in 1-2 days
  • Easy access to Guatemala for longer trips
  • Transport links to other parts of Mexico
  • We have volunteer discounts and connections available with local gyms, yoga classes, crossfit classes, and boxing classes

Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 21 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Required Documents
CV, passport copy, two references, police check and application form
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Conversational level of either English or Spanish
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Misión México cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Misión México.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Misión México (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Misión México

The Volunteer Contribution Fee goes towards your on-site private accommodation (single or shared room, shared bathroom, shared kitchen and living facilities), one main meal a day, and administration costs (relating to application processing, training, volunteer documents, pre and post-volunteering communication).


We have kept the volunteer fee as low as possible and do not profit from it.  There is no extra charge for staying longer than the minimum six weeks, it is a one off fee of $200 USD whatever your length of stay.

Accommodation
The volunteer apartment is on-site though is self-contained and separated from the main house by a locked gate.  It has 4 bedrooms. Three are one flight of stairs up from the ground floor, one is up a further set of spiral stairs.  Two are twin rooms, (possible to be used as a double) and the other two are singles. All bedrooms have fans.  We cannot guarantee that you will have your own private bedroom, but we try and take onboard all requests for the single rooms where possible. 

We have males and females staying in the on-.site volunteer apartment, but we always aim to have same sex sharing of the double rooms if volunteers are rooming with someone they do not previously know. 

There is a living room area with a TV, sofa and dinning table. We also have a roof terrace (great for watching the sunset!) with tables and chairs.

The shared bathroom is downstairs on the ground floor and has a shower, sink and toilet.

The kitchen area has a fridge, freezer, two-ring electric cooker, electric frying pan, blender, coffee machine, microwave and kitchen utensils, crockery and cutlery.  You are also welcome to use the big kitchen in the main house when it is not in use.

Dorm Room Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

We have a chef that prepares lunch (our main meal), 6 days a week.  All volunteers are welcome to eat every day, whether on shift or not.


On Sundays, we have a family barbecue (hamburgers or hotdogs) that all volunteers are most welcome to join.

Unfortunately we cannot cater for dietary requirements as staff and volunteers eat the main meal that is prepared for the whole house. 

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Tapachula International Airport (TAP) in Tapachula. We assist you to find cheap flights to Mexico.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Mexico provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Mexico you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Mexico.
Costs: Prices in USD
6 weeks (min. stay)
$ 200
50 weeks (max. stay)
$ 200
Average fees
$ 19 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Tapachula/Mexico between 6 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Misión México will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Mexico.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Misión México during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Mexico  Tapachula, Tapachula
Reservation
The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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