At a glance
Provide volunteer support as a migrant and refugee worker at the FM4 center in Mexico. Around 8,000 refugees per year are driven from their countries by economic decline and adverse living conditions. You’ll provide vital support to these refugees who are passing through Mexico intending to reach the United States of America.
The center provides a haven for refugee caravans passing through the Mexican border. The center gives them a safe place to rest and recover after a long journey. You’ll provide them with the necessary support to make their stay more comfortable and ensure a smoother transition between their travels. Your work includes providing them with clothing and warm meals, as well as running English lessons that’ll improve their skills. There is an important role for everyone, regardless of your abilities and experience.
When you aren’t working at the center, you’ll be able to explore the rest of Guadalajara. Don’t forget to explore the plentiful cathedrals, crystal blue lakes and sample the abundance of Mexican food.
Completely flexible datesSee Dates
Anyone aged 18 or over can join
Is working with refugees in Mexico right for me?
If you have a big heart and want to make the transition smoother for migrants passing through Mexico, then volunteering at refugee camps is the perfect place for you. Refugees are arguably one of the most vulnerable points in their lives. Many fleeing from violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The majority travel in a caravan to Mexico and choose the longer western route through Guadalajara because it is safer than the Central and Gulf routes.
Since Mexico is a Spanish speaking country, it’s recommended that you speak basic Spanish on a conversational level. This will make conversing with the refugees easier and it’ll make their transition smoother.
To ensure the best possible environments for the refugees, you’ll receive sufficient training from professionals. The work will be challenging but it’ll be fulfilling knowing you’re working toward the better treatment of refugees as they transition through Mexico.
This project runs all year round so you can join throughout the year. You can join for a minimum of two weeks but we recommend staying longer to have an even greater impact.
Assist refugees trying to get asylum in Mexico
You’ll lend a hand at the FM4 center as they assist refugees trying to get asylum in Mexico. It’s a tough feat as Mexican immigration policies are as tough as the United States.
The center has a legal team who help migrants with their asylum applications and supports them whilst they settle into the local area.
Provide clothing and food to refugees during their time at the center
In desperate situations, many refugees leave home with just the clothes on their back. The center has a clothes bank where they provide clothing and toiletries to the refugees. You’ll be involved in the handing out of these items which will make their transition more comfortable.
You’ll also get involved in the preparation and serving of meals. Refugees get given three hot meals a day.
Run English lessons and other educational activities
Most refugees come from marginalized communities and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to learn English. Most of them are headed for the USA which makes it important for them to learn basic conversational English.
On top of the English lessons, you’ll also be able to plan educational games and sporting activities. About 10% of the refugees are children and having these activities to look forward to makes their stay more enjoyable.
Assist healthcare professionals with basic medical work
Often, refugees have been traveling for weeks on end before they reach the center in Guadalajara. Being out in the elements on their travels means they are prone to illness and injuries. The center has a small but equipped medical unit which assesses their welfare at the Mexican border. As a volunteer, you can help the local nurse or doctor:
- Measure blood pressure
- Sanitize and wrapping small cuts
- Input data into the medical databases
Where in Mexico will I work?
You’ll live and work in the western city of Guadalajara, the second-largest city in Mexico. Famed for its mariachi style music and its tequila, Mexico is a country rich in culture and geography.
When you’re not working at the center, you can venture into the historic town filled with tree-lined plazas, stunning cathedrals and busy markets. Don’t forget to stop by at the exceptional restaurants where you can try the local cuisine of tortas ahogadas.
A typical day working at a refugee camp in Mexico
You’ll start the day with a nutritious breakfast before heading off to the center. Our local staff will show you how to get to the center and introduce you to the people you’ll work with.
The center is run 24/7, but you’ll generally work Monday to Friday with your weekends free to explore Guadalajara and the surrounding areas.
Your tasks will change depending on when refugees arrive or leave. Some days, you’ll assist with the distribution of clothing and toiletries and other you’ll be running education activities that’ll improve the English levels of refugees.
You’ll have your lunch with other volunteers and refugees in the kitchen. This is a great opportunity to learn more about where they come from and the reasoning behind their move. This will give you a deeper understanding of the challenges they face.
Once you are done for the day, you can relax at your host family or head out into town and enjoy one of the many fantastic restaurants.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
This project aims to provide much-needed support to the refugee center and the individuals taking shelter there.
With growing instability in the nations south of Mexico, the number of migrant caravans in Mexico is expected to rise year after year. Therefore, the center needs volunteer support to cope with the increasing demand for their services.
Many of the refugees also come from marginalized communities and haven’t had the opportunity to learn English. Learning basic conversational English is an important skill, especially for those traveling through to the USA. With your help, you can get their English levels up to a decent level which will benefit them moving forward.
Assist with refugee care and support, and help smooth the transition for refugees traveling through Mexico.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring Our Impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Meet the team in Mexico
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