Volunteers work with mentally and physically disabled people in Merida.
For Mexico’s most vulnerable, especially poor children and the disabled, life remains a challenge.
A lack of oversight and funding means many poor children and disabled people do not receive adequate care. Abuse and neglect are all too common in public centers, and while private institutions like religious organizations and NGOs help fill the need gap, they need more support. Volunteers bring energy, love and manpower to help local staff. They also bring new ideas that help shape how Merida’s poor children and disabled are viewed and treated. Volunteers live in Merida and work in centers throughout the city and surrounding areas.
What do volunteers do?
Volunteers work four to six hours a day in a center for people with disabilities. Most are young adults, but there are children as well. The young adults mostly come from poor backgrounds and some do not have a family. They depend on the center for therapy and stimulation, as well as for leading lives that are as normal as possible. Volunteers do different activities, including handicrafts, reading and sports. They may also have the opportunity to lead fun and educational workshops, for example about culture, history or theatre. Finally, as needed by the local staff, volunteers help on activities like feeding, cleaning up and fundraising for the center.
Merida is becoming recognized as one of Mexico’s most welcoming destinations. It is a great and safe place to explore and experience Yucatan culture. The Plaza Grande, which is lined by pretty colonial buildings, is bustling with activity and makes for a great place to stroll or just sit back and relax. Beautiful beaches off the Gulf of Mexico are easily reachable in 40 minutes by bus from downtown Merida, and there are watering holes and caves that are well worth a visit. The Celestun Mangroves, where pink flamingoes can be seen, is nearby, as well as Cancun, which is four hours away by bus. There are cultural activities across the area. Some of Mexico’s most impressive Mayan archaeological sites are close, including the famous Uxmal and Chichen Itza, which is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Finally, if you would would like to improve your Spanish while volunteering in Mexico with UBELONG, we can connect you with affordable and excellent Spanish classes once you arrive in Merida.
When you arrive at the Merida airport, a driver meets you and brings you to your accommodations.
You live in a comfortable, fun and welcoming Volunteer House, which is part of a hostel in the center of Merida. It is only five blocks from the Plaza Grande, the bustling center of Merida. You share a room with other volunteers. Most bathrooms are communal. All rooms and bathrooms are cleaned regularly. Wireless internet is available free of charge. There is a great common area where you can cook, socialize or just relax in. There is also a pool that volunteers can enjoy.
Mexico, and the Yucatan in particular, is famous for its diverse and flavorful dishes that bring together Mexican, Mayan, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and European cuisines. Every day, you receive breakfast and lunch. A cook prepares a range of local dishes exclusively for the volunteers.