Misión México - volunteering in Tapachula
In November 2000, Alan and Pamela Skuse left their home on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, to volunteer at an orphanage in Tapachula, southern Mexico, for 12 months. The orphanage closed down after six months however, leaving the Skuses with a life changing decision: to return to Australia, or take on the overwhelming challenge of caring for the seven children full time. Leaving the children to return to the streets and lives of poverty and abuse was not an option so, despite the lack of resources and support, the couple decided to take on the huge responsibility of establishing their own refuge, ’Albergue, Misión México, Dando Amor, Vida y Esperanza’ (Mission Mexico Refuge, Giving Love, Life and Hope).
Pam and Alan have now helped more than 250 children. They care for 40-50 children at a time, the majority of whom live there on a permanent basis; almost all of the children have suffered extreme poverty and abuse, some have experienced unspeakable violence, but all are gaining a sense of confidence and self respect, many for the first time.
Misión México was built in January 2012 to resemble a family home rather than an institution. The children attend school and are supported and encouraged to study so they have a chance to create a future for themselves.
Misión México's objective
To fundraise for, and promote the children’s refuge in Mexico, as well as provide administrative support and volunteer management initiatives for the charity.
How you can help
You can go and spend one month or more in Tapachula helping to look after the children in the refuge. Getting this many children organised is no easy task, but the help of volunteers makes life easier! Take your ideas, skills and passion and share them with the children, teach them music, dance, arts and crafts, zumba, yoga and karate, help them with homework and jump waves with them at the beach. It’s hard work but very rewarding - the more you put in at Misión Mexico the more you will get out of your experience.
You can also get involved locally by donating your time and skills to help us fundraise and support the family in Mexico. There are lots of areas they need help with including fundraising, event management, social media, marketing and graphic design.
What you will get out of the experience
Aside from having a life changing experience you will never forget, you will have the opportunity to spend time with some amazing children, practice your Spanish skills, visit a different part of the world and experience a new culture and environment. You will also meet like-minded people who are also determined to make a difference to these young people’s lives. Read for yourself what some of our volunteers say about their time in Mexico.
What to do now
Visit the website for more information and check out their award-winning documentary. If you’re keen to head to Mexico and volunteer with Pam, Alan and the children, email: [email protected] requesting a volunteer application form. If you’re keen to support the charity locally, email: [email protected] with your contact details, and ideas about how you’d like to get involved.