VOLUNTEER WORK MEXICO
Would you like to work for a better future for children in Mexico and support them on their journey through life? Do you want to prove your skills in different areas and learn something new every day? In our children’s aid project in the small community of San Ignacio on Mexico’s Pacific coast, you can make a long-term difference and help the project work towards the development and emotional care of children in the region. The organization provides a safe place for children to develop, learn and play that they don’t have at home. Although San Ignacio is only a 5-minute drive from the tourist hotspot of Sayulita, the residents of the village unfortunately do not benefit from the prosperity that tourism brings. Many families and children live in poverty and need support. You will help with teaching, play with the children and supervise different workshops. In addition, you will have the opportunity to help on a small farm with the cultivation of fruit and vegetables and to prepare the freshly harvested products. Help to show the children the way to a healthy and happy future. In your free time you will have the opportunity to live in one of the coolest surfing locations in Mexico, right by the ocean, and learn how to surf.
Type of program
Relief and development project for children and young people
Near Sayulita, Mexico
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Basic knowledge of Spanish
Fun to work with children
4-bed room in hostel in Sayulita
Contact person on site
Mobile internet with sim card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.090,00 €
Type of program: Relief and development project
Program location: Near Sayulita, Mexico
Working hours: 5 hours a day, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday)
Program start date: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: Basic Spanish
Requirements: Enjoy working with children
Accommodation: 4-bed room in hostel in Sayulita
Meals: Not included
Support: Contact person on site
Internet: Mobile internet with sim card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from 1.090,00 €
Jessica, the director of the project, is a trained psychologist and after her studies she traveled to San Ignacio, a small town between Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta. When she was there for the first time in 2010, she met a great community of kids. She spent a lot of time with the kids and learned a lot about their living situation. Driven by the needs of the children and the community of San Ignacio, she began to create the concept for the Children’s Aid Project. In 2013, Jessica founded the organization and has been working for and with the children of San Ignacio ever since. Now, nearly 150 children of all ages are part of the project and about 20 children meet daily at the organization’s site.
The mission of the project is to initiate change in the lives of the children and adults of this rural community through games, art, sports, creativity and recreation. For this purpose, the project represents the values of honesty, tolerance, respect, humility, gratitude, responsibility, sisterhood and perseverance. These values are intended to create a place to play, create, learn, teach, laugh, share and grow. The goal is to reach as many children as possible and for the project to be a model for healthy development. During their time in the project, the children should learn to just be a kid.
The organization consists of a great team with psychologists, teachers, artists, athletes, professionals and volunteers from all over the world. Each staff member contributes something to the community so that a diverse program of art and sports classes, workshops, field trips and games can be put together to provide new opportunities for the children of this community. In the workshops, the children can also read, make crafts or play sports. There is a slackline, a dedicated arts and crafts area, and even yoga classes.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for young people to experience violence at home and therefore struggle with psychological problems. A central element of the work is emotional support for the children. In the organization, they therefore learn together with trained psychologists how to express and control their feelings. Various exercises are used to strengthen the children’s cohesion and break the chain of violence. For example, therapy sessions are offered in groups: the “Girls and Boys Club,” where the children, separated by gender, are supervised and counseled by a psychologist.
Another important aspect of the project is that punishment is not accepted as a disciplinary method. The aim is to minimize violence, aggression and frustration. To this end, a reward system has been introduced, known as the “token economy.” The children collect stars throughout the week if they behave well and on each Friday they can exchange their stars for school supplies, backpacks, games, toys, sports equipment, clothing or similar items. This promotes friendly interaction and cohesion among the children.
Since the corona pandemic, there is also an organic farm in our project. The organization was donated 5000m² of land, so they could start to grow fruits and vegetables themselves. Through this, the community wants to be able to be self-sufficient and have cheap access to fresh and organic food.
The tasks in our children’s aid project are varied and you can contribute according to your skills. You will work about 5 hours a day, half of the time with the children and the other half on the farm. The care of the children usually takes place in the afternoon. After your arrival at the project you can talk to the people in charge about your interests and strengths and together they will make a plan in which tasks you can best contribute to support the project as much as possible.
One of the main tasks is to help the children with their homeschooling, which means teaching reading and writing, as well as science, English or math. The children can bring their homework and you will help them with their learning and provide specific support in the areas where they have difficulties.
You will also be responsible for organizing the children’s free time and taking care of them on a daily basis. You can get involved in the arts, sports and games and assist with activities such as music, dance, painting, acrobatics, slacklining, juggling, soccer, kung fu and capoeira. Sports serve as emotional catharsis to relieve anger and stress and are designed to help children reach their full potential.
You will also have the opportunity to shadow the experienced psychologists in their work and sit in on therapy sessions and emotional counseling. The goal of the psychological support is to create a better reality and increase the children’s chances for a healthier and happier future. You will be able to create games and activities that will help the children to fight the problems in the society of San Ignacio.
If you have experience in marketing and communications, you can also work on the project’s publicity. Information, photos and videos need to be collected and processed to increase the reach and generate even more donations. For this, you can produce flyers, newsletters or videos that show the world how great the work of this unique project is.
Are you talented with your hands? Then help the organization to continue building Echo Park. Only recyclable materials are used for this purpose. Also new toys have to be designed and built regularly. There are no limits to your creativity.
Last but not least, you will work on the organic farm. There you can help with fruit and vegetable cultivation, grow new plants, care for and water them, and lend a hand with the harvest. The food is then used for community meals and shared among everyone. If you enjoy cooking, you can also help prepare the food.
As you can see, there is a lot to do and every staff member and volunteer has an important task. You will be able to contribute according to your skills and have the opportunity to learn many new things. The community of San Ignacio urgently needs your support and the organization is happy about every helping hand.
The small town of Sayulita is located on the Pacific coast of Mexico and is known as an absolute surfing stronghold. The town is about 40 kilometers from Puerto Vallarta and it only takes about an hour to get to Sayulita by bus. In Sayulita there are numerous fantastic beaches, such as the “village beaches” Playa Sayulita and Playa Norte. A little further south you will find other beaches like de Playa de Muertos. The beaches are less suitable for swimming, because there are a lot of waves everywhere, but that’s why the place is perfect to try surfing. Since the waves here are not too high for Pacific conditions, Sayulita is also very suitable for surfing beginners. But also besides surfing there is a lot to do in Sayulita and the surrounding area. For example, you can take a boat tour to see the impressive humpback whales or plan a sunrise hike to Monkey Mountain. You can fortify yourself in one of the numerous cafes and restaurants in Sayulita and in the evening you should definitely visit one of the legendary beach parties.
You do not need any special qualifications to work in the project. Of course, you should enjoy working with children, like to engage with them and have a desire to make new contacts and friendships. The project puts a lot of emphasis on creativity and a free development of the children, as well as alternative ways of living. You should therefore be open-minded and eager to get to know a new way of life.
The project requires a certain amount of independence and motivation. As a volunteer you can often determine your own working hours and tasks. Therefore, you should be able to identify and complete tasks yourself without the constant guidance of a staff member.
Working in this project will improve your Spanish skills in a fun way and will also have a positive impact on your life. A wonderful experience that you will remember for a long time.
The national language in Mexico is Spanish. You will spend a lot of time with children who have no knowledge of English. Therefore, a basic knowledge of Spanish is required. If you do not have any knowledge of Spanish at the moment, we recommend that you take a language course, which we will gladly organize for you. You can take the language course before or during your time in the project.
You will stay in a 4-bed room in a nice and modern hostel in Sayulita. From there it is only about 10 minutes to the project. The hostel has a common area, a terrace, a pool and wifi. The best thing is that you can reach the beautiful beach on foot.
The accommodation does not include meals, but you will have access to a communal kitchen where you can cook with your roommates. You will also have access to a kitchen in the project and you will be able to cook with the farm’s produce.
You can get to the organization daily by public bus, which runs very regularly daily from Sayulita and back.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN MEXICO
Bianca is Mexican herself and originally from Cancún. She has traveled a lot and lived in many different places in Mexico. Currently she lives in the dream destination Playa del Carmen. Bianca has already worked in tourism during her studies in Central Mexico, so she knows the country and the people very well and can answer all your questions. She has also worked on cruise ships for several years and has traveled around the world and therefore knows people from all over the world. Despite the many other impressions, Bianca loves her country and the culture of Latin America very much and is happy to show you around her home country. For Bianca, the diversity of countries makes Latin America an exciting travel destination and she especially likes the culture and history of the peoples.
SERVICES AND PRICES
1st month in start package: 1.540,00 €
Extension month: 900,00 €
As 2nd or 3rd program: 1.310,00 €
1st month in starting package: 1.090,00 €
Extension month: 450,00 €
As 2nd or 3rd program: 860,00 €
Learn more about our benefits here.