FAQs for volunteers

how long can I stay for?

Volunteers are expected to stay for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. It can take a couple of weeks to integrate yourself into the environment, in terms of both the refuge and the city. Learning the kids’ names is a skill in itself! Allowing yourself more time to get to know the children is really valuable and helps in establishing your role as a volunteer.

what is the role of a volunteer?

Every day is different but generally volunteers are involved in helping with the children with the following tasks:

  • Educational games and activities
  • Homework and revision
  • Developing creative programs such as dance, arts, music, crafts, sewing, computer games and cooking
  • Health and sanitation needs e.g. cleaning their teeth, brushing their hair
  • Household chores like making their beds and cleaning their bedrooms

You are also expected to engage the children in:

  • Sport activities and exercise, such as soccer, basketball, yoga and swimming classes
  • Educational projects, for example, different countries, dinosaurs, animals and festivals
  • Supervising outings, for example, to the beach or swimming pool and excursions like hikes or to the waterfall

At times there may be other volunteering opportunities at the refuge such as building, landscaping, painting, cooking or office administration.  If you have experience in these areas, or believe you can contribute in some other way, and would like to know more about opportunities to assist with these during your visit, please email us at volunteer@lovelifehope.com.

what skills/qualifications do I need to have?

Volunteers do not require any specific qualifications to volunteer in our refuge. However, volunteers interested in helping must have a love for children and a willingness to share their time and compassion with patience and flexibility. Being able to work as part of a team is important as there are likely to be other volunteers assisting at the same time. Lots of energy, enthusiasm and creativity are needed at all times to encourage the children’s learning and development! Please be aware that the days are hot, long and tiring but very rewarding. The children are full of beans and desire love and attention at all times.

Knowledge of the Spanish language is particularly helpful as is experience in working with children.

We require volunteers to have completed a basic first aid course (children focussed).

how old do I need to be to volunteer?

Misión México welcomes capable volunteers of all ages; however, we don’t recommend volunteers under the age of 21 due to the age group of our children here. Exceptions can be made so please email us to discuss your interest. Younger people may come to assist as long as they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

does it cost anything to volunteer?

Volunteers are required to pay a contribution fee of 4000 Mexican pesos for the six week volunteering period, to be paid upon confirmation of volunteer placement. This covers the basic overhead expense to the refuge. There is no additional fee for any commitment of more than the six week minimum.

We also require support outside of the volunteer overheads therefore really appreciate volunteers who can fundraise for us. Fundraising is a great way for volunteers to share our story and feel like part of the organisation before they arrive, by contributing something to our family.  Your donations enable us to continue with, and further develop, our programs for the children in our care.

We have provided fundraising ideas and help and for more information contact info@lovelifehope.com

are accommodation and food provided?

The volunteer contribution fee covers the day’s main meal (lunch) shared with the children, and the accommodation. Bed linen is also provided.

Volunteer accommodation is basic and practical, with a living area, shared bedrooms with bunk beds, and a kitchenette. Some volunteers opt to rent their own accommodation, which is generally inexpensive.

Children do not have access to the volunteer accommodation and are not permitted to enter at any time.

Breakfast and dinner arrangements are the responsibility of the individual volunteer. There are numerous stalls and restaurants in the area with very reasonable prices as well as supermarkets to purchase food to prepare meals yourself.

when is the best time to come to Mexico?

It is hot all year round in Tapachula. Our rainy season starts around May and continues through late September/October.

We get many applications particularly through university holiday periods and Christmas is a popular time for people to want to volunteer. However we do need people all year round.

how do I get to Tapachula?

Upon arrival at Mexico City Airport you will have a few options to get yourself down to Chiapas.  The most expensive option but by far the easiest is to fly with  Aeromexico. You can purchase your tickets online through their website or through Expedia (check your country’s Expedia website).

There are several flights per day to Tapachula.  Please avoid arriving late at night to Tapachula as our household goes to bed around 10pm. If your flight to Mexico City arrives in the evening it would be better to stay in Mexico City overnight and get the morning flight to Tapachula. You can then get an airport taxi from the airport to the house. They are safe to use and inexpensive.

If flying is too expensive for you then you can always go by bus although it is somewhat a long journey (around 18 hours). You will need to make your way to the bus station ‘TAPO’ by taking a taxi or a microbus from outside the airport.  When you arrive to the terminal you will have to search among the many bus companies for one called ‘Cristobal Colon (OCC)’ or ‘ADO’ (both are the same company).  You can check times at www.ticketbus.com.mx .

You can take a Taxi from the bus station in Tapachula to the refuge.

do I need a visa to volunteer in Mexico?

Please check the information relevant to your country of origin as there are different requirements depending on where you are from.

what currency do I use in Tapachula?

The local currency here is ‘Pesos’. You can also use American dollars here although not everywhere will take them.

do I need insurance?

You are responsible for organising the appropriate insurance cover for your trip here. Misión México is not liable for anything that may happen to you or your belongings during your stay here.

do I need any vaccinations?

Please check with your doctor as per their recommendation for the appropriate vaccinations.

how to apply

Please complete the form (submit)/download the Volunteer Application Form and email it to volunteer@lovelifehope.com