Who we are
Albergue Misión México is situated in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico, and is a registered charity in Mexico. Children are referred to us by the Government Welfare Department and we provide a loving and stable home for them for as long as they need it. The refuge receives no ongoing financial support from the Mexican State or Federal Government. We are supported by people from all over the world and by formal groups of people in Mexico, Australia, USA and the UK.
Who we care for
Misión México provides a loving, secure home for children of all ages who have been abused, neglected, orphaned or abandoned. The number of children in our care changes constantly, but on average we care for between 40 and 50 children on a permanent basis.
Almost all of the children have suffered extreme poverty and abuse. Some have experienced unspeakable violence.
“Some children have been tied by their feet and hung upside-down and then beaten with poles or cables. Some have been burnt with cigarettes, with a two year old arriving with scars all over his little body from cigarettes and knives. His face is scarred terribly.”
“By providing a home for two young girls, 12 and 13 years, we have been able to protect them from lives of prostitution.”
Since it was established in 2001, Misión México has helped transform the lives of more than 250 children, giving them a much deserved second chance at life. All are regaining a sense of confidence and self respect having found Misión México.
The refuge resembles a family home rather than an institution, where the children feel loved and secure. The children attend school, something most of them had not experienced before. They also have access to tutors who help with their studies as many of the children find it hard to learn due to their abuse or never having been to school.
The children are also learning to swim and surf and are the only surfers in Tapachula! Surfing is a previously unknown activity in the area, yet it has become a uniquely transforming sporting activity for these children.
Our surfing programme is being introduced to enable the kids to find confidence in themselves and a belief that they can achieve anything they want.
Why we do it
In 2000, Alan and Pamela Skuse left their home in Australia to volunteer at an orphanage in Tapachula, Mexico for a year. But when the organisation they were assisting closed down after six months, the Skuses had to make a life-changing decision: to return to Australia, or take on the overwhelming challenge of caring for the remaining seven children full time.
The thought of leaving the kids – who would go back to the streets and lives of abuse – was not an option. So despite the lack of resources and support, Pam and Alan decided to take on the huge responsibility of opening their own refuge. Soon ’Albergue, Misión México, Dando Amor, Vida y Esperanza’ (Refuge, Mission Mexico, Giving Love, Life and Hope) was born, with the all-important dream of creating a family environment for the children.
Pam and Alan have six grown-up children of their own, each with their own children, one of whom lives in Mexico and the others in Queensland, Australia. Staying in Mexico to run the refuge was a decision that has changed their lives.
“One of the greatest joys in doing this work is to see the children grow and develop confidence in themselves.”
“Also, other than being able to provide for them all the basic needs, to give them the opportunity for an education and then see the positive results of this, is wonderful.”
“The children are now engrossed in the world of books with the older children reading novels and thoroughly enjoying every adventure.”
“Academically, the children are well behind other children of the same age and need all the assistance and stimulation they can get to help them on their educational journey.”