If you need assistance with funding your contribution to house costs or the cost of your personal trip, try some of the following fund raising ideas (we have included what people have told us they have raised per event FYI)
Do you just build homes?
As well as building homes we also undertake the following activities while we are in Mexico:
- Volunteer at the local orphanage. The orphanage that we are currently working with is very poor and has limited supplies. We purchase food, bring much needed bedding and educational supplies, as well as host a Childrens Party at the orphanage. This is a vital part of our visit. Our teams play outdoor games (they love soccer!), indoor games, make puppetts and then have a puppett show, do hair braiding, necklace making, face painting, colouring and painting as well as having stories and enjoying singing childrens songs with the kids.
- Volunteer at a local womens refuge. Activities here vary depending on what the need is. Sometimes we bring in food, other times talk and encourage the women, while other times it can be maintenance and building repairs.
- Visit the local school. We have excellent relationships with some of the local schools where we have been involved with building in the past. We deliver educational supplies for students who can’t afford them as well as spending time talking with the principal and staff about local issues affecting them and the children. We are also involved in the classroom from time to time teaching health and hygiene and interacting with the local students. Often if we have school age young people in our group it is a wonderful cross cultural exchange as the students ask questions and learns about the others culture and life.
- Visit a local drug and alcohol detox centre. Drugs and alcohol have a devastating effect on the lives of people living in the slums. At the drug and alcohol detox centre we talk to the recovering addicts and encourage them in their journey. Sometimes we will host a graduation fiesta for them inside the facility when they have completed a significant milestone or course.
- Host a street fiesta for the locals to celebrate the completion of the houses. We bring in a mobile taco stand, cater for approximately 200 people, get the word out and wait and see who turns up! We have games for the kids and a street fiesta is not complete without the pinata smash and a water balloon fight in the street! Any left over food (often there is not a lot) is distributed to local families in need.
How do I contact you?
You can contact us using the form here.
How safe are we in Mexico?
From time to time you will hear about some incident or other that has occured in Mexico. Break Free Expeditions takes trip safety seriously and has a number of measures to ensure safety of the teams while in Mexico. These include:
- Registering our group prior to departure with the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- Comprehensive travel insurance is compulsory for all Break Free Expeditions attendees.
- We stay in secure accommodation complexes which have 24/7 security. Security guards request ID before entrance is granted.
- We stay approximately 45 mins from the building site and always leave the site while it is light. Our daily routine varies and we use basic passenger vans for travelling.
- It is a trip requirement that anyone under the age of 18 travels with a Trip Guardian.
- Our local partners and suppliers (accommodation, catering etc) on the ground in Mexico are well known by Break Free Expeditions. The local authorities (including police) know our partner organisation well and they are well respected by the community we build in.
- Our experienced trip guides know the area and the project well and ensure that all volunteers are well briefed on keeping safe while in Mexico. We also use radio phones to keep in contact with one another.
- We also expect our trip attendees to exercise caution and common sense, and to stay away from and not participate in any illegal activities (eg under age drinking, drugs etc).
The NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly issues Travel Advisories which can be found at www.safetravel.govt.nz
Contact details for the New Zealand Embassy – Mexico City, Mexico are:
Street Address: Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510
Telephone: +52 55 5283 9460 Facsimile +52 55 5283 9480
Office hours: Mon – Thu 0830 – 1400, 1500 – 1730 hrs; Fri 0830 – 1400 hrs
How are the families selected that receive homes?
The families that we build homes for are selected by BCM, our partner on the ground working in the slums in Mexico. Families can make an application to BCM, and if their application is approved, they are put on a prioritised waiting list by need. In order to apply to BCM the families need to:
- Have a recent letter from the land office showing that family household members have no other property.
- Provide a copy of the deed to the land, or present a voucher showing at least last six months payments for the land (note land cost is between US$1,000 per US$5,000 per lot).
- Provide copies of birth certificates for each member of the family.
- Provide paycheck stubs or payment receipts for each member of the family who is working.
- Provide a photograph of the family.
- Have a minimum of 3 children (although special cases are considered)
- Provide a sketch map showing the exact location of the land including street, block and lot number, along with the name of the colony.
- A letter explaining the family’s need and why they would like a home to be built for them.
- Full contact details.
BCM assesses the applications and obtains references to ensure that the applications are valid. As BCM are working every week in the colony, they have a good idea of the need and who the residents are.
How do I register for a trip?
To register for a trip go to Trips – then click the country you wish to visit. Select which trip you want to go on then fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
What costs are not included in the trip fees?
Your trip fees do not include:
- Travel insurance (although we do negotiate a favourable group rate for teams departing from New Zealand – refer Trips – Travel Insurance for more information).
- Personal spending money
- Some trip meals (refer Trip Program for more details)
- Any vaccinations or medical examinations that are required
- Any extra items that you would like to purchase to give away while in Mexico (eg stuffed toys, children’s books, sunglasses, extra gifts for the family, candy, tools for building, educational supplies, clothing, linen etc).
Why do you build homes in Mexico?
Mexico has a population of approximately 107 million people, with approximately 60 million living below the poverty line on less than US$2.50 per day. 24 million people live in extreme poverty in a society where there is no safety net. Break Free Expeditions was first introduced to the Mexico House building project by Global Tribe, the Christian band “newsboys” aid organisation, and has established relationships with this project.
Where do my trip fees go??
We aim to keep our fees to a minimum in order to make our opportunities accessible. Here is a general overview of where your trip fees go in preparing for your volunteer opportunity, while volunteering and after you return home.
- Marketing & promotion – promoting the needs of the communities we work in to inspire you to join up and volunteer.
- Administration – answering your emails and phone calls
- Bank Fees – including exchange rate fluctuations.
- Communication – keeping in touch with you and our partner organizations before, during and after your volunteering experience.
- Transport – Airport meeting point pick up is included in most of our programs as well as your transport requirements while you are on the trip.
- Accommodation – Your fee includes accommodation expenses during your trip, plus a contribution to the trip leader’s accommodation costs.
- Food – Most meals are included in your trip fees unless indicated.
- Supervision – While on a Break Free Expedition you are not left on your own. Our trip leaders and partners are there to support you where needed.
- Project Expenses – part of your trip fees are used to purchase resources or materials needed for the projects in the communities you work in. These expenses also include supplies for the orphanages and other needy families along with catering for the the fiesta celebration once the house building is completed.
- Partner Development & Support – the partner organizations we work with are important to us, and we are committed to supporting them and encouraging their growth over the long term.