At a glance
Provide volunteer support as a migrant and refugee worker at the FM4 centre 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 centre provides a haven for refugee caravans passing through the Mexican border. The centre 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 centre, 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 centre 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 centre 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 centre
In desperate situations, many refugees leave home with just the clothes on their back. The centre 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 marginalised 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 travelling for weeks on end before they reach the centre in Guadalajara. Being out in the elements on their travels means they are prone to illness and injuries. The centre 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
- Sanitise 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 centre, 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 centre. Our local staff will show you how to get to the centre and introduce you to the people you’ll work with.
The centre 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 centre 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 centre needs volunteer support to cope with the increasing demand for their services.
Many of the refugees also come from marginalised communities and haven’t had the opportunity to learn English. Learning basic conversational English is an important skill, especially for those travelling 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 travelling 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.
Leisure activities and free time
With beautiful beaches, arresting art galleries, and buzzing restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Mexico. You’ll have plenty to do during your free time on your project in this dynamic country.
There’s something captivating about touring through old buildings. If you’re into neo-gothic architecture, treat yourself to a trip to the Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento. It’s a work of art with its ornate steeples and glowing stained glass windows.
There are also plenty of museums, giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history. For something different, you can spend the day appreciating the wildlife and lush vegetation of Las Peñas Ecological Park.
You can’t take a trip to Mexico without tasting authentic Mexican cuisine. You can spend an evening enjoying pozole or tamales at a local restaurant and watching the vivid orange-red sun melt into the horizon.
We have a host of different projects in Mexico so there’ll likely be lots of other volunteers in the area during your trip. So you can choose to travel and explore in a group or on your own.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.
Meet the team in Mexico
Not quite what you’re looking for?
Take a look at the following pages where you'll find collections of similar projects: