Category Archives: Children

Support Candy – Emergency appendix operation

Two weeks ago we had to rush Candy, one of our teenage girls, to hospital for an emergency operation to remove her appendix. Sound familiar? Almost…

Below is the photograph we posted just over a month ago where she visited Alex in hospital for the same procedure.

We are so very fortunate to have her back at the house and recovering well however we urgently need your support to fund the operation.

DONATE NOW

Despite our wonderful doctors agreeing to complete the operation free of charge to show their support to Mision Mexico, medical costs in Mexico are high, and the emergency has left us with USD $1400 (£1050) worth of medical bills to pay.
If you have some spare change could you head to the My Donate page we have set up, which you can visit through the ‘Donate Now’ button below.
Rifle through the handbag, check between the couch cushions, up-end that spare change drawer and please donate. We are grateful for anything that you may be able to give at this time and welcome any well wishes for Candy on the page too if you would like to share them!!
DONATE NOW
Gracias from everyone at Mision Mexico!

 

Pam’s December 2015 Newsletter

Every three months, Pam, the co-founder of Misión México, writes an exclusive update on what has been going on at the orphanage. In the newsletter you can read about the new children, read exciting news and hear all about the refuge’s latest events, straight from the mother of the house!

You can subscribe to our newsletter for free, for a unique and heart-warming insight to life at Misión México.

Get a glimpse of life in Tapachula today, by reading our December 2015 newsletter.

We need you!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We urgently need volunteers to come to Misión México and help our kids. We have recently taken several new children into our home and we need energetic, enthusiastic people on deck to act as mentors, friends and teachers to our kids…and of course, to have fun while you’re doing it!

As those of you who have volunteered with us before will know, time at Misión México is not a holiday, however it is incredibly rewarding and you will walk away from the place with the satisfaction that you have made a difference in the lives of these wonderful children.

We would love to see your smiling face in Tapachula again. And this time, why not share the experience with a friend?

As well as needing volunteers to help us out generally, we are currently looking for:

Youth Transition Workers – to act as role models, mentors and supervisors for our young adults as they transition to an independent lifestyle in our male and female transition houses.

Homeschool Teacher– to work with our daughter, Brooke Skuse, to homeschool some of our children who find it difficult to learn in the mainstream education system.

Both roles are a minimum of 6-12 months with living expenses covered.

If you, or someone you know, would like to volunteer with us in Tapachula or share your skills locally to fundraise for our Misión México family please contact volunteer@lovelifehope.com
 
Come and be part of our family and help keep our beautiful children smiling!

Look what we made

Look what we made

brotherly learning

With warm regards,
Pam and Alan Skuse

Happy Grandparents Day!

Pam and Alan

The relationship between grandchildren and grandparents is undeniably special. Grandparents, having paid their parental dues, are no longer responsible for the daily battles of making unruly children clean their teeth, eat their vegetables or go to bed early. Instead they have graduated to the blissful stage of handing a crying child back to their mother, sneaking them a fiver when their father isn’t looking and telling them stories their own children were never interested in.

For those of us lucky enough to know our grandparents, the wisdom, values and lessons they pass on to us shape our understanding of who we are and of the world around us. They have lived the joys, challenges and sadnesses that we are about to and offer advice, comfort and love when we pass through life’s early rituals ourselves.new balance rot

Of course not everyone is lucky to know their grandparents or indeed live near them. However, that doesn’t mean that their love cannot be felt. Pam and Alan have 11 grandchildren aged between 6 months and 18 years. Only two of them live close by in Tapachula, México. With many miles between Pam and Alan and most their grandchildren (who live in Queensland, Australia), they have to work hard at keeping that important relationship alive.

To celebrate Grandparents Day, their children tell us what Pam and Alan mean to them.

Luke

“Narni and Pa are definitely not your everyday grandparents. They don’t sit around watching TV, drinking tea and knitting the family cardigans. It’s hard being a million miles apart. But I have to say that even with so much distance between us they support me more than family that live so close. They are always the first to call me screaming happy cheers down the phone when I win at the championships, they are the first to help me when I am chosen for overseas events, they truly are interested in how I am doing and where I am heading and I know when I make the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, they will be there 100% supporting me because that’s the wonderful, young, encouraging Grandparents they are. I miss them a lot and really wish they were closer. But I am so grateful that they are my Grandparents. Happy Grandparents day Narni and Pa. I love you both so much.”

Jesse

“Even with all the miles between us I share the same moon with Narni and Pa”

Kiah

“My Narni and Pa live in Mexico because they look after a lot of children, like FIFTY of them! I miss them but I think what they do is important. I wish we lived in the same place. I do like when they come to visit us. One day Pa was chasing me and Aaliah around the table, and he was trying to tickle us, it was really funny. I loved it.”

Oliver

“My Narni and Pa are great, kind hearted people and idols in this world. It is a bit sad that we don’t see them that often but it is good to know they are doing so much for other children in need. When I get older I want to be exactly like them and I hope more people follow in their footsteps.”

Noah

“My Narni and Pa are really nice and I look forward to their visits. I really love going skiing with Pa and when Narni reads us books. I feel sad that they are far away but they are always working to help the kids at the refuge and that is very good.”

 

Celebrating the importance Literacy Day

Most of us don’t remember not being able to read. Having been taught at such a young age, we take the ability to deceiver shapes, turn them into sounds, words, then sentences for granted. And when reading is such a natural phenomenon you don’t realise how vital it is for surviving modern society. From instruction manuals, to newspapers, bank statements to school text books, being able to read enables you to progress.

Because if you can read, it is easier to learn; and when you are able to learn you can receive an education; and when you are educated, you can overcome any barriers that may be in your way and fulfill you potential. The ability to read, therefore, is a human right and as such should be available to all. Sadly, according to the World Literacy Foundation 57 million primary aged children all over the world are not in school, and 123 million young people are unable to read or write. In Chiapas, the state where Misión México is based, literacy rates are the lowest of the whole country.new balance shoes

reading in English

Reading in English!

We, therefore, take reading very seriously and we make sure that every child that comes through our door spends time with books. Because reading isn’t just about equipping our children with the tools they need to progress in school. It is about investing in a child’s imagination, giving them space to develop their creativity, and building their confidence and self esteem. Books allow children who have lived through trauma a chance to enter into new worlds, explore different possibilities and arrive at a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.

We are so grateful to be able to give our children access to a library of books donated to us from all over the world and now some of our children are now able to read in English and Spanish. In fact reading is so important that now the older children take the time to read with the younger ones, enabling them to build relationships with one another and learn what it is to care for and teach someone.

brotherly learning

Brothers learning to read

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Mision Mexico education programme and to everyone that has donated us books.

Want to come and be part of the team that changes our children’s lives through reading and education. We are looking for volunteers!

International Youth Day 2014 – Mental Health Matters

Often we are all too quick to label young people and children when they are not behaving in the way we expect them to. They are called bad, disrespectful, selfish, disruptive… the list goes on and on. We don’t consider that perhaps said young person is living with mental ill health and they haven’t yet found a way of communicating the distress that it is causing them. Because children and young people, by their very nature should have nothing to worry about, right? They should be care free, bright eyed and bushy tailed, yet to experience the darker sides of life. Even those children who have suffered great trauma or witnessed tragedy at a young age we expect to bounce back; kids are resilient after all.

Inherent to this is the belief that mental ill health is caused by experiencing external pain or distress and of course stress related illness is a very real thing. However, we must move beyond this and recognise that mental ill health is also something people experience for no outwardly discernable reason, and when this happens there is a lack of understanding and often empathy for people who live with anxiety, depression, OCD and the many other mental illnesses.chaussures trail new balance

Particularly difficult to acknowledge is that young people and children live with mental ill health; maybe because it is too painful and unjust to consider. Because what is also true about children and youth is that they can be cruel and a young person living with mental ill health, faces greater isolation, shame and fear preventing them to speaking to their peers and seeking the help they need.

We at Misión México are very pleased to see that this year’s International Youth Day 2014 has taken the theme ‘Youth and Mental Health.’ Many of the children who come through our doors have suffered too much for their young lives and all that we do is aimed towards helping young people to recover physically, mentally and emotionally from what they have experienced through music, sport, education, family and affection. We truly believe that Mental Health Matters and that children need to be educated on how to take care of their mental well being just as much as their physical.

So this international youth day please take time to support this cause and raise awareness of mental ill health among young people so they feel better able to access the support they need. Don’t know where to start? Young Minds UK is a fantastic resource for young people and adults giving advice on how to take care of their mental well being.

Mother’s Day – Motherhood, tough but worth it!

This Mother’s day we asked Pamela Skuse to tell us what it is really like being “Mamá” to so many children at Misión México. Motherhood is certainly interesting!

It’s certainly been a challenge to be mother to numerous children from dysfunctional backgrounds, linked by the curse of poverty. Raising six children was a challenge in itself, but then to take on the responsibility of children who are each carrying scars of abuse and suffering, in a developing country, hasn’t been easy.

Though, through all the hardships of raising such children, I have learnt so much and to love unconditionally. In return, I have received love in abundance.

Pam, Luis, Daniela & Marli

Pam, Luis, Daniela & Marli

How wonderful for me to see each of these children grow and develop talents that would have remained untapped if they had not come into the love and security of this very big family.

I won’t lie; it’s been an incredibly hard journey, but also so satisfying now to see that the children are finally challenging themselves to become ‘the best that they can be’.

At times, when I have felt like I have failed with one child or another, due to them leaving too soon, before they reached their full potential, I am reminded that I wasn’t promised that I would see an end result, but that I was called to be part of their journey.

I was reminded of this one day when I was at an intersection in Tapachula when I heard; ‘Mamá!’, yelled out by a street kid, and was greeted with a huge smile and a kiss on the cheek, it was then that I knew that by showing love through caring for this boy, be it for a short time, still made a difference in his life. At that moment, though I was humbled, I also felt a sense of pride that I was part of his journey.

My role as a mother in this magical country called Mexico, is to love and nurture; to love these children unconditionally, and to provide each child with the security and opportunities to help them develop so that they can reach their full potential, and this, I will try to do to the best of my abilities until I am called from this world.

Pam and Maria flying high

Pam and Maria flying high

Hey grown ups – you have a lot to learn from us kids!

Today is Children’s Day in Mexico, and to celebrate we decided to hand over this blog to Marie Ester, eight years old (nine next month!), she lives with Pam and Alan at the refuge in Tapachula, Mexico and despite not having the easiest start to life she loves being a kid. In fact she believes that adults have a lot to learn from them.

We asked her to tell her what it is like to be a child at Misión México. This is what she told us.

Marie Esther in her Easter Bonnet

“Sharing my life with the other children of Misión México is the best thing.  I have a big family and I am never alone. Here I have everything and everything I have is thanks to Mum and Dad. The opportunities I have make me work harder.

The things I like about Misión México  is that I have friends with me. I hope that when I finish school I will be able to work and be able to help by giving back to Misión México.?

One of the best things about being a child according to Marie Esther is that they get to have fun and play games. She loves being creative and using her imagination; currently she is learning how to hand-stitch dresses for her dolls.

“When I play I am able to have fun and express myself. I learn to dance, to have fun, to surf, to skate, to sing, to play piano and to draw. Of all these things my favourite thing is drawing and reading books that are really interesting.”

Wise beyond her years, Marie Esther has a lot to teach us ‘grown ups’. Not yet blinded by never ending work loads, peer pressure, mortgages or expensive things she knows what is truly important.

Marie Esther and Ali with their eggs at Easter

Marie Esther and Ali with their eggs at Easter

“The things I love most in my life is that I have a big family, lots of friends and that I have everything I need that my Mother and Father have given me. I am not looking to have too much in life at this moment as I am happy just to have fun – life is short!!?

This Children’s Day, we at Misión México are thankful to have so many intelligent, creative and loving children in our midst who can remind us to make sure have fun no matter what we do. Please don’t let us forget it!

To help Misión México provide happy childhoods to children like Marie Esther please consider sponsoring a child today.

Ruben y Marie Esther at the beach

Ruben and Marie Esther having fun in the water

Childhood – it’s a risky business!

Contrary to what fairy tales and cartoons tell us, in most parts of the world being a child is a risky business. According to UNICEF, 7.6 million children under the age of 5 die each year. Of the 200 million that survive, their formative years are often spent overcoming obstacles and expectations placed on them according to their family’s income, where they are born, their ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Some children then face the further challenges of disability, learning difficulties or behavioural issues. This is before you begin considering children who are exposed to physical, emotional or mental abuse, extreme poverty, slavery, prostitution, natural disasters, civil wars, substance abuse and so on. This is something we at Misión México cannot ignore, especially on Children’s Day.

The importance of ‘childhood’ is undisputed: it is a time when children develop self-concept which affects the way they approach any situation, task or relationship; it is a time for them to explore, gain confidence and take risks in a safe environment; and it is a time to learn how to succeed and, perhaps more importantly, learn how to fail.

Having fun at the beach!

The devastating emotional and behavioural effects negative experiences and relationships during early childhood development have on children, and the adults they become is not only felt at an individual level but effects the communities they are a part of. This partly explains cycles of poverty and highlights the importance of taking care of children so they can grow into successful adults that contribute to the economic and social development of their communities.

At Misión México, we are determined to invest in all our children at the earliest stage possible by providing good nutrition, health care, education, and a loving and encouraging environment where everyone has the safety and space they need to learn about themselves and what they are capable of, to learn resilience and how to bounce back from failure, and to learn about the world around them.

Cristian, Alex y Jennifer

Cristian, Alex y Jennifer

The introduction of our The Youth Transition Program (YTP) which focuses on those young people at Misión México reaching adulthood, shows our children are growing into  inspiring, clever, ambitious teenagers and young adults. Every day we see first-hand the colossal difference taking a child out of an unsafe environment and giving them their childhood back can have. Moacir, one of the first children Pam and Alan Skuse took under their wing is now living, studying and working in Australia. Another of Misión México’s success stories is Dulce who described the moment she arrived at Misión México,

“Suddenly I didn’t have to work, I didn’t have to worry, all I had to do was study?

Children’s Day in Mexico is about celebrating children and learning from them. Our children at Misión México have taught us how important it is to have a childhood and how resilient children can be when it is taken away from them too soon. It is our mission to give back to our children, the fun, adventure and carelessness of childhood by providing them with safe base from which to explore. We do this by giving them good food, love, safety and education.  In return they remind us every day to be more childlike – to explore, to learn and to have fun no matter what!

Ballet students

Ballet students