Category Archives: Events

Celebrating Day of the Dead Melbourne style!

Please join us at the Catrina Festival in Melbourne on Saturday 1 November to celebrate Day Of the Dead like never before! Live music, film and authentic Mexican food and drinks! Get your face painted and raise money for for our kids!

“Long live the dead!? Catrina said. During this unique evening local artists will build an altar structure to honour the departed, aiming to bring their memory back to life.

Get involved and honour the dead with us. Enjoy the altar exhibition and vote for your favourite one!

Free entry from 17:00 – 18:30; Ticketed event starts 19:00

La catrina Festival Melb nov 2014

International Day of the Girl

Just two years ago, the UN declared 11th October as the International Day of the Girl to raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality around the world. Despite the good work being done by activists, NGOs, governments and civil society all over the world there are still some worrying statistics out there:

Only 30% of girls in the world are enrolled in secondary school

By 2015, females will make up 64% of the world’s illiterate (adult) population

54% of 3rd-5th grade girls worry about their appearance and 37% worry about their weight.

It is clear we have a lot of work to do. We are very fortunate at Misión México to have seen first-hand the effects of investing in young girls. Some of our children have grown into inspirational young adults and have now passed into the Youth Transition Program. We believe that you must continue to support young girls (and boys) as they make that difficult transition into adulthood. Two girls in currently in the Youth Transition program are Maria and Dulce.

Maria is a fun loving, creative young lady. Her dream is to run her own dance studio and help children overcome trauma through dance. Her advice to young girls out there is “be proud of who you are, don’t be scared of being a woman. Be the very best you can be and never give up.?

Maria teaching dancing at Mision Mexico

Maria teaching dancing at Mision Mexico

Dulce, believes strongly in the role education plays in young girls’ lives. “All girls should have access to education; they need to show the world that jobs are not only for men!?

Now studying to be a social worker she says: “Mum (Pam Skuse) had such a good life in Australia and she left it behind and changed everything so she could help all of us. She’s been a real inspiration and that’s why I’m studying to be a Social Worker, because Mum inspires me to help others.?

Dulce

Dulce catching a wave

Seeing Maria and Dulce thrive reinforces our belief that we need to continue to support young girls into adulthood and that the Youth Transition Program is vital for this. Our aim is to continue to empower these young people in a bid to break the cycle of poverty and abuse, and further create confident, competent young adults and positive role models who can successfully live independently.

20% of the Misión México household are now adults; 41% are 12-18 years old and by 2019 there will be an additional 15 young people entering adulthood. We therefore need your help so that we can see our young people grow and develop as they reach adulthood. Please contact us if you can sponsor one of our young adults or volunteer with our program; find out more about our Youth Transition program.

Q&A

How will you be spending International Day of the Girl? Let us know what this day means to you.

Eat a burrito this Charity Tuesday!

If you’re in Australia, TODAY is your opportunity to enjoy some delicious food AND support Misión México all with the same bite!

Tuesday 16 September is Mexican Independence Day, and to celebrate, our loyal and wonderful supporter Guzman y Gomez is donating $1 from every burrito sold today to our charitable cause.

We think that is AMAZING and thank them for the wonderful support – a selfless and huge contributor to Misión México since 2007.
vente priv��e new balance
We’d also like to thank all those generous, supporting (and hungry!) people who are in Australia today, eating a burrito to help feed and care for our children!

Buen provecho!

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!

Come and get your dose of vitamin ‘T’ at Mission’s Mexican Festival!

Mexfest 2014

Mexfest 2014

Tacos, tamales, tortas, tortillas and tostadas will all be on offer when Melbourne’s Federation Square transforms into a mini Mexico for MEXfest on Sunday 14 September – a festival which is proudly supporting Misión México!new balance shoes

We’re lucky enough to be part of the third annual Mexican celebration, where local foods, artists and education activities will be taking place for all ages to coincide with Mexican Independence Day.

We’ll have a Misión México store set up to help promote and spread the news of our wonderful cause.

Alejandro

There will be a raffle to win a surfboard kindly donated by Global Surf Industries and the Somewhere Near Tapachula DVDs will be for sale as T-shirts and wristbands. Face Painters will be at the stall to paint Aztec designs for the kids!

All funds raised will be donated to the children.

We’re excited to announce that Director, Alan Skuse and our Misión México (UK) Chairperson Deborah Grossman will both be attending, along with Moacir, one of the young mean who lived with Pam and Alan for seven years.

So if you’ll be in or around Melbourne on Sunday 14 September, drop by Federation Square to say hello and dose up on some tasty vitamin T!

Hasta luego amigos!

 

MexicanFestivalLogo (2)

Mission’s Mexican Festival

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.

Where to volunteer? A special report for Small Charity week

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people travel across the globe to volunteer abroad. Although it’s an activity that is usually associated with students or as a stop-gap between jobs, it’s an activity you can easily adapt to your way of life, with placements lasting between 2-3 weeks to months at a time.

With Small Charity Week fast approaching, it’s a good time to focus on smaller organisations that are looking to make a change in the world, one step at a time. Although bigger charities may well give you more scope in terms of work experience, in the form of office-based work for example, one of the greatest pulls of smaller charities is the chance to get to grips with their activities, from the ground up.

First things first, when looking for a small charity to work with, you should check out the organisation, how and where it was set up, who is in charge and what their mission is. Time and time again, students feel underwhelmed by a charity’s daily activities and their placements as they didn’t put enough research into finding the project they would most like to work on.

You should also think about what sort of role you’re after. Just because you’re volunteering doesn’t mean you should only think about what you can give a charity with your help and hard work. The best workers are those that are passionate about the cause and the responsibilities their job entails, so think about the different areas you would like to be involved in.

Whether you’re looking to work as part of a community, project manage a particular event, work with a team of volunteers or take responsibility for a whole strand of operations, it’s up to you. Volunteering gives you the chance to help out, and help yourself, too. After all, you only get out what you put in, so if you know from the start you’re really good at networking and always the last to leave a party, then you could look into fundraising for the charity of your choice. If you’re more hands on and enjoy working with small teams, teaching and group activities would be right up your street.

Small charities need people who are passionate about their cause and their mission in order to contribute to their network and help them grow. Volunteering during your year abroad will give you the chance to stretch your horizons, gain experience in something you believe in, but also help give you a first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in a small team.

Part of the beauty of Misión México is the close work you’ll get to do with the kids, of all ages and all sorts of backgrounds.

“It´s difficult to imagine the suffering that some of the beautiful children in Misión México have gone through in their short lives. These children welcome you in and show you so much love, it’s hard not to get very attached to each and every one!” Emma, Ireland, recent volunteer with us.

Arts and craft time

We’ve also partnered with all sorts of different organisations, in Mexico, the UK, Australia and the US, meaning you can get involved once you’re back home, too.

“My husband and I had the opportunity to go to Tapachula in 2010 to meet Pam and Alan the kids. We just loved them all and were amazed at how Pam and Alan are working with the children. I believe we all can find a few hours to spare a week to a life changing organisation like Misión México, no matter where you are in the world, there is always a way one can help.” Ana Lucia Cortez, Australia

new balance shoes store

Ana and kids

Ana and kids

We like to think of our work as being more than a shelter for the kids, but rather a real sense of family and community.

“I have two parents who show me what it is like to have unconditional love, and I have a big family to show me what it is like to be united as a family; this is Misión México“. Maria, 22 years, one of our family members.

Maria, Pam and Alan at the event

Maria, Pam and Alan at the event

So, what are you waiting for, come join us at Misión México and change lives! 

Jason and kids

Volunteer Jason and kids at Mision Mexico, Tapachula, Mexico

Surf’s up! – Celebrate International Surf Day at Mision Mexico

Kick off the work shoes, put on the swim-suit and prepare yourself for a day of fun in the sun and a bunch of waves on Friday, June 20 because we’re celebrating International Surfing Day!

This International Surfing DayFriday 20 June, we encourage you celebrate how the ocean has not only influenced your life but our children’s lives too.

Our kids heavily depend on the ocean not only for fun, but also as a form of healing and an escape from their traumatic pasts. Our unique surfing program has helped our children find confidence in themselves and a belief that they can achieve anything they want to.

“It excites me and fills me with adrenaline, being on the water is a special feeling
-Isaac

International Surfing Day is a celebration of the sport and the lifestyle it has created around the world, as well as the sustainability of our ocean’s resources.

Our very own surf ambassador and famous professional big wave surfer, Andrew Cotton, echoes these thoughts and loves the celebration of International Surfing Day each year.

Surf ambassador Andrew Cotton

Surf ambassador Andrew Cotton

“It’s a great way to promote and educate people about surfing and all the positives it can bring into peoples lives,? he said.

“Sport in general has a really positive impact for health and mindset. There’s no better way to spend time, it keeps you fit and healthy but more importantly it’s so much fun,? Andrew added.

Andrew also said it was the passion for surfing and the great story behind Misión México that enticed him to get involved with us!new balance mr 870

“Seeing the video Somewhere near Tapachula about the kids at Misión México and what Alan and Pamela Skuse were doing there really inspired me. Surfing has brought so much happiness into my life and seeing it do the same for these kids was amazing,? said the big wave professional surfer.

You can help Misión México and Andrew celebrate this great day around the world by sharing your favourite surf photos with us on Instagram  and Twitter  or why not come and volunteer with us and join the Mision Mexico surf community!

So have a surf, have some fun, and know that on International Surfing Day we at Misión México are thanking you from the bottom of our hearts – hopefully with good waves and plenty of sun!

Surfs up!

Thumbs up for Andrew's teaching skills!

Thumbs up for Andrew’s teaching skills!