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? At 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
Support project for children
Near Sayulita, Mexico
approx. 5 hours, 5 days
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Spanish (Good basic knowledge)
Fun working with children
Small town, beach within walking distance
English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Mobile internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.220,00 €
Type of program: Support project for children
Program location: Near Sayulita, Mexico
Working time: about 5 hours, 5 days
Program start: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: Spanish (good basic knowledge)
Requirements: Fun working with children
Location: Small town, beach within walking distance
Accommodation: Shared room
Meals: Not included
Support: English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Internet: Mobile Internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from 1.220,00 €
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 5000 m² 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, slackline, 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 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.
You are talented in handicrafts? Then help the organization to continue building the Eco-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 job. 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 shared room in a hostel in Sayulita. From there it is only about 10 minutes by public transport to the project. The hostel has a common area, a terrace, a pool and Wi-Fi. The best thing is that you can reach the beautiful beach of Sayulita on foot.
No meals are included with the accommodation, there is a communal kitchen.
Depending on availability, you will stay in the hostel or in a similar accommodation.
You can get to the organization daily by public bus, which runs very regularly from Sayulita there and back.
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.
SERVICES AND PRICES
1st month in start package: 1.940,00 €
Extension month: 900,00 €
As 2nd or 3rd program: 1.710,00 €
1st month in starting package: 1.220,00 €
Extension month: 580,00 €
As 2nd or 3rd program: 990,00 €
Learn more about our benefits here.