Would you like to help the street children in Mexico’s second largest metropolis? Do you like to get involved socially and want to support people in poor circumstances? Do you enjoy working with children and are you curious about Mexican culture? In this project you can not only get to know the city of Guadalajara from all sides, but also the Mexican culture and people. Our partner organization is committed to helping children and young people who live on the streets and giving them a chance to change their lives. Help take care of and teach the children, giving them access to education. Depending on your interests, you can support the organization in different areas and make a big difference. Put your heart and soul and your motivation into helping the children find a way out of poverty!
Type of program
Relief and development project for children and young people
approx. 5 hours (9am – 2pm), Mon-Fri
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Spanish (advanced knowledge)
Fond of children
In a big city
English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Mobile Internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.160,00 €
Type of program: Relief and development project for children and young people
Program location: Guadalajara, Mexico
Working hours: approx. 5 hours (9am – 2pm), Mon-Fri
Program start: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-12 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: Spanish (advanced knowledge)
Prerequisites: Fond of children
Location: In a big city
Meals: Not included
Support: English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Internet: Mobile internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from 1.160,00 €
In Guadalajara, Mexico, there are at least 327 minors living on the streets doing child labor or begging. They live in poverty and do not go to school or do not go regularly because they have to help pay for the family’s upkeep. Therefore, they have hardly any access to education and can neither read nor write. They work as car washers, candy sellers, pack bags at the supermarket or beg. Some of them sleep on the streets of Mexico because their parents have no home. Our partner organization helps the young people to escape life on the streets and offers them a better perspective.
The aid organization for street children was founded back in 1988 by a Mexican with the vision of giving the children a chance to escape life on the streets and change their fate. The organization works wholeheartedly to protect the children and adults, to improve and change their lives. The programs launched by the project currently reach about 500 people in poverty, including 270 children in various programs.
A major concern of the organization is to get the children off the streets and into the organization’s home. During our last visit to the organization’s house, we met Carlos and Rafael, who have dedicated themselves to this task. Twenty years ago, as children themselves, they lived on the streets and were accepted into the program by the organization. They went on to graduate from high school and get an education – a great testament to the terrific work of the project. They told us about their work. Every day they visit the families on Guadalajara’s streets, with the goal of gaining their trust. They talk to the families, bring them food, get to know the children. They convince the families to send their children to the organization for a few days a week to be taught. In return, the family receives a box of food each week so they can support themselves and no longer have to rely on the children’s income.
In order to sustainably help the young people out of poverty afterwards, they need access to education. Therefore, from Monday to Friday, the organization provides a safe retreat and classes for the children and young people. Currently, about 70 children come to the organization’s house every day to do homework, play games or participate in various workshops. They learn to read and write and are also educated about their situation in society. Children who grow up on the margins of society often do not know that they have the same rights as everyone else. The organization teaches them every day that they have a right to health, food, nutrition, education and leisure time and shows them ways to stand up for them.
Many children come to the project at primary school age and have already missed the first years of school. They can therefore neither read nor write and are therefore not ready for school. For these children, there is a special program to catch up on the missing material so that they can enter the 5th grade with children of the same age. Through the program, many children manage to complete the entire elementary school in 2-3 years – a great achievement by the organization.
Every child who comes to the organization first takes a psychological test through play. The purpose is to find out if the child has psychological problems or experiences violence. Afterwards, they are cared for by the project’s psychologist according to their needs. Often the parents are also involved in order to help the children in the long term.
In addition, all children receive two hot meals a day and their physical health is also taken care of. For the adults there are free literacy courses. The pedagogically trained employees also support the mothers in the education and care of their children.
Together with the staff and volunteers, the aid organization stands up for the fact that every person on the street has a right to a dignified life and a right to education. In this project your help is urgently needed and you can change and improve the lives of street children. Put your heart and soul and your motivation into helping the children find a way out of poverty. You will learn a lot yourself and get to know the Mexican culture from all sides.
Your main task will be to support the girls and boys on their way to a new life. You can support and contribute in different areas according to your own interests. Either you work directly with the children and young people and help the teachers, street workers, psychologists and educators with their work. Or you support the office and look behind the scenes of a well-organized aid project.
Teaching: At school you assist the teachers with their lessons and help the children with their homework. You answer their questions when they solve tasks on the computer and always have an open ear for them.
Computer Skills: It is very important to the organization that the children are taught skills that they will need later in life, so you can teach them how to use computers and the Internet. In a world that is becoming more and more digital, the necessary knowledge in this area is essential. Young people do not have access to the Internet or computers. Design teaching units and tasks for them.
Pedagogical support: Together with the pedagogically and psychologically trained staff, you will take care of the children who have experienced terrible things on the streets. You will assist in the execution and evaluation of psychological tests and you can participate in the hours of the psychologist with the children. The therapy runs playfully and mostly in groups of 2 to 3 children.
Streetwork: You will accompany the street workers to the streets of Guadalajara and support them in their work.
During the breaks you take care of their free time activities. You play with them, organize group games or a soccer tournament. You can also contribute your own ideas and creativity. For example, you can organize workshops and activities for the kids according to your own abilities.
In this exciting project, no two days are the same, but this is what a typical day at school might look like:
Work starts at 9:00 am. The kids get a healthy breakfast first. You help distribute the food and make sure that each child eats his or her breakfast in peace. The daily lessons and educational activities take place until about 13:00. You assist a teacher or educator in teaching and supervise the kids. You can choose the above mentioned areas, which interest you the most. Of course, a lunch break with a warm meal is not to be missed. Help with serving meals and supervising the children’s and teenagers’ free time. In the afternoon there will be more lessons and activities until 17:00. Here you will again accompany a teacher and support the lessons or an educator.
Would you rather support the organization’s staff in their office tasks? There is just as much to do here. Depending on your area of interest, you can take on different tasks.
Marketing: Volunteer support in marketing is also needed. You can help update the website, write newsletters, and you can also show off your photography skills with pictures and videos. Help in the area of communications with new blog article ideas or create social media posts on Facebook and Instagram.
Research: the charity also conducts regular research and research on how many people in Guadalajara live in poverty and on the streets, their age, and whether they live there alone or with family members. You can support the staff of their work and contribute your own ideas.
Fundraising: The organization lives on the help of volunteers and donations. Therefore, the project needs to constantly look for new fundraisers and funding opportunities. Help apply for donations and create crowdfunding campaigns. You can work closely with the team and brainstorm new ideas and opportunities.
Guadalajara is probably the most typical Mexican city. This is probably due on the one hand to its excellent Mexican cuisine and on the other hand to the national drink tequila, which has its origin in the region. Guadalajara is the second largest city in the country and with its 6 million inhabitants is located about 500 km west of the capital Mexico City. Only 2 hours separate it from the Pacific coast with its breathtaking beaches. The surrounding mountains invite to excursions and adventures.
There is a lot to experience and explore in this colorful city. Street fairs or festivals take place regularly, stroll through the colorful markets and taste your way through the breathtaking range of delicious street food. In addition to the Mexican culture, you will also meet many people from all over the world. The beauty and fame of the city attracts many tourists to Guadalajara. There is also a lot to do at night: The city is very modern and there are many bars and discos where DJs from all over the world play their music.
The school as well as the office of the aid organization are located in the center of Guadalajara. You can easily reach your workplace by bike, bus or cab.
You do not need any special qualifications for this project. You should enjoy working with children and be motivated to do something good for them. From the volunteers we expect a respectful interaction with the people and the culture of the respective country and the acceptance of cultural differences. You will be dealing with many people and children there who live in extreme poverty and have a completely different life than you do, which requires openness and adaptability. Reliability, ability to work in a team and open-mindedness towards a new culture and other people from all over the world are very important for participation.
The national language in Mexico is Spanish. Since you will be working with children and many locals, you should have a basic knowledge of Spanish to be able to communicate with the children. Of course, you will automatically improve your knowledge on the spot. If you don’t have any knowledge of Spanish yet, we recommend that you take a Spanish course, which we will gladly organize for you on site.
You can choose whether you prefer to stay in a guesthouse or with a Mexican host family.
In our guesthouse you can choose to stay in a double room with another participant or in a single room.
The guesthouse includes a nice common area and a kitchen where volunteers enjoy cooking together.
The center of Guadalajara can be reached in a few minutes. There are many restaurants, bars and cafes in the area.
Our host families are personally selected by us. You will stay in a single room with the family and usually share a bathroom. All host families live in Guadalajara.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN MEXICO
Silvia is originally from Munich and she liked it so much in Mexico during a world trip more than 15 years ago that she moved her life center to the Rivera Maya in Quintana Roo a few years later. She is very involved with the lived traditions and rituals of the locals. She knows the area very well and always discovers the beauty of the diverse nature and likes to share this with everyone who lands in Mexico for the first time. She speaks German, English and Spanish.
Silvia will take care of you during your orientation in Playa del Carmen. For questions of any concern during your stay in Latin America, an English-speaking contact person is available via WhatsApp in the same time zone.
“Twice we visited families whose children I cared for in the project at their homes. The children were on fire. The most beautiful moment was when a little boy hugged me at the end, beaming and saying “estoy muy feliz.” That was very touching.”
“What touched me very much during my time was that I got to know many children who come from poor backgrounds and for whom life as we know it is not a matter of course. What inspired me most was that the children are nevertheless very open, happy and helpful.”
“I love Latin America, but especially Mexico, because it gives me a certain feeling of home. The people, the food, the environment, it all made my stay so unique and I took a lot away from this trip.”