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Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in Mexico - Merida

Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in Mexico - Merida

This project is currently not accepting applications.
Provide care & connection for those with disabilities
Start dates
Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 4 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Program fees
From AU$536 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Caring and patient volunteers who want to make a meaningful difference to the lives of people with disabilities. There are often specialised opportunities for qualified volunteers in the fields of Physical Therapy and Special Education, but this will depend on the requirements of the residents at the time you are volunteering.

Project details

Interested in being a Special Needs Care volunteer in Mexico? International Volunteer HQ’s Special Needs Care project empowers volunteers to assist in a home for people with disabilities in Mérida. Volunteers gain experience supporting disabled people while helping local staff provide them with therapy, entertainment and basic care in a safe and positive environment.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Volunteering to support people with disabilities requires enthusiasm and patience but also promises to be particularly rewarding. In Mexico there are homes for disabled people that are generally run by churches and are funded solely by donations.

Volunteers on the Special Needs Care project can make a significant difference to people with disabilities by helping their development and integration with society, enabling them to live dignified, meaningful lives.

As a Special Needs Care volunteer, you’ll assist local staff in a residence for those with disabilities, providing physical, mental and therapeutic care or at a community center where day programs for more independent individuals with special needs visit. Day to day activities can include:

  • Helping with therapy
  • Arts and crafts
  • Teaching
  • Workshops to assist with employment opportunities
  • Preparing food, serving meals and cleaning.
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Special Needs Care volunteering in Merida with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with people with disabilities in Mexico you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Supporting local initiatives to care for people with disabilities
  • Making a meaningful contribution to the community
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining experience working with people with disabilities
  • Immersing yourself in Mexican culture
  • Discovering Mexico’s rich history

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

Not sure which program to join?

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Geraldine Lopez
09 Aug 2023

This program is affordable and approachable. The people and the location is safe, and the orientation helped to make me feel like an insider in a new country.

Elodie André
26 Jul 2023

I appreciated having access to the online guide because I referred to it a lot to ensure I had every document ready to go. I had a really good time with everyone there, it was hard to leave the placement but the whole experience re-boosted my motivation to pursue my career in special education and expand it to speech therapy. If you like travelling, getting to know new people, learning a new language or culture, and helping people, you're going to love it. Just go with an open mind!

Marilin Castelan
19 Jun 2023

When it came to seeking guidance and having help with preparation, IVHQ was always available as the volunteers are welcome to ask questions and seek more information if needed. They would answer phone calls and help me with any questions I had. The local team was very welcoming! As my first time volunteering and my first solo trip, they made me feel safe and supported. They would explain in detail how the program would go.

By far, the best moment was when one of the kids gave me a painting they made to keep and take home. Another favorite moment was going to explore on the weekends and going to Cenotes (a deep sinkhole in limestone with a pool at the bottom). I loved learning about the culture and seeing kids who are getting help with physical therapy and being given access to healthcare providers. Some families would travel two hours to get to the facility I was volunteering with. Those families were truly inspiring. You only live once! To go abroad and volunteer it is a worldly experience that you can't just read about it, you have to live it.

Pablo Fuentes
15 Feb 2023

I learned the importance of working patiently and really focusing on good quality, and hard work and I learned to be much more independent. My favorite thing was getting to work every single day in the bus and being received by everyone at my placement, they where all so kind. If you're hesitant, I would say to do it! there is minimal risk associated with volunteering abroad, especially with IVHQ and even if you are afraid like I was, you will meet great people and make an impact on the world. this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Mariana Sanchez
04 Feb 2021

Mérida was awesome, the weather is great, people there are really helpful, I loved meeting new people, learning from others and going out with the volunteers. Get ready for everything. There is a lot to do during the weekend, Mérida is really safe and fun. I was in Special Needs Care and I loved it, it was a great project, really good and peaceful, the people there were always nice, always saying thank you and appreciating the help from the volunteers.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Mexico with IVHQ


Mérida is the capital of the Yucatán state on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. It was an important area to the ancient Mayan people and many people living there today have Mayan ancestry. This vibrant culture mixed with a legacy of Spanish colonialism has left the city with a heady mixture of activities, events, architecture, artwork and atmosphere. Mérida is also said to be among the safest cities in the Americas and extremely clean.

IVHQ’s Mexico program is based in Merida, 30 minutes from Centro, an area where there is great food, shopping and nightlife. Volunteer placements are set in different neighborhoods around the region.

Arrival and orientation

The Mexico volunteer program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month and volunteers need to arrive in Mérida on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive into Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (MID) in Mérida, where you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation; or if you are arriving into Cancun International Airport (CUN), you will need to take a 4-hour bus ride from the airport to Mérida. If you choose to arrive in Cancun, the best bus company for traveling to Mérida is ADO. You will see a big red and white ADO sign at a kiosk at the exit of the airport. You should purchase your ticket for the next departure for Mérida Altabrisa Station, which is close to the volunteer accommodation. Please call or email the local staff to let them know your estimated time of arrival so they can arrange for your pick-up. Your IVHQ Program Manager will provide further guidance in regards to travel options between Cancun and Mérida once you have registered for the program.

Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.If you are travelling in Mexico prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Mérida on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation will be hosted by our team in Mexico and will cover everything you need to know for your program in Mexico – an introduction to Mexico, Mexican customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Mexico, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising. Once orientation is complete, volunteers will be transported to their placement and introduced to all relevant parties and placement staff.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays - A typical volunteer day would be as follows:

7:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
8:00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.
2:00 PM Lunch at the volunteer house or homestay. Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, take Spanish lessons, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.
7:30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.

Please note, some placements do not begin until 2:00 PM and in this case, volunteers usually have their Spanish lessons in the morning.


During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Mérida and the state of Yucatán. You can make the most of Mérida’s charms and check out the bustling local markets, baroque Spanish architecture, a wide variety of music, art and cultural events, visit a 19th century mansion, sample the local Yucatan cuisine, take a dip in a volcanic crater or watch a Mayan ball game.

Day trips can be arranged so volunteers can explore popular sites in the area, such as Chichén Itzá – the most famous of the Yucatán’s Mayan ruin sites and one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations, the impressive Uxmal Mayan ruin site and the historical town of Izamal.

Looking for more ideas of things to do in Mexico? Check out our Mexico Travel & Tours page!

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers in Mexico are accommodated in a volunteer house nestled in a quiet neighborhood of Mérida.

The dormitory-style volunteer house provides shared rooms and bathrooms, a communal outdoor kitchenette for basic food preparation and access to the yard, patio and swimming pool.

You can expect to share a room with up to five other volunteers of the same gender. Living is basic, yet comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity and running water.

Volunteers who wish to arrange an accommodation upgrade for more privacy, air conditioning, filtered water and heated showers can do so with the local team after registering for the program. The host families speak Spanish and therefore homestay accommodation is also a great way to practice the local language and experience the local culture first-hand.

The volunteer house in Mérida has WiFi and internet cafes are located within walking distance of the volunteer house.


In Mexico, volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner in the volunteer accommodation, with a combination of Mexican and Western food. We recommend budgeting between US$5 (approximately AU$7) and US$10 (approximately AU$15) per day to purchase lunch. When you arrive the local staff will provide recommendations on economical places to eat in Mexico.

Tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico, however bottled water is readily available and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately AU$7) per week for this.

Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$511) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $345 Equivalent to $49/day
2 weeks $545 Equivalent to $39/day
3 weeks $735 Equivalent to $35/day
4 weeks $905 Equivalent to $32/day
5 weeks $1,045 Equivalent to $30/day
6 weeks $1,215 Equivalent to $29/day
8 weeks $1,555 Equivalent to $28/day
10 weeks $1,895 Equivalent to $27/day
12 weeks $2,235 Equivalent to $27/day
16 weeks $2,915 Equivalent to $26/day
20 weeks $3,595 Equivalent to $26/day
24 weeks $4,275 Equivalent to $25/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$511) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Mexico generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches and local tours and activities.
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Lunch
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Merida

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Merida! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Merida program.

Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish Language Lessons

Introductory package of affordable Spanish lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers, tailored to your current level of Spanish.

From AU$307

Spanish language lessons

Spanish language courses are available for all volunteers at all levels. IVHQ recommends these courses for all volunteers, unless they are fluent. If you have a basic level of Spanish and and are staying for a period of longer than 2 weeks, you should strongly consider these courses, as they will allow you to work and communicate with all parties more efficiently during your stay. The language course will be tailored to suit your current level of Spanish.

These language courses are available to purchase as an add-on via your MyIVHQ account once you have registered for the Mexico program. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Classes run in the morning or afternoon, Monday to Friday.

  • 10 hours: US$198 (approximately AU$307) per person
  • 20 hours: US$335 (approximately AU$520) per person
  • 30 hours: US$462 (approximately AU$717) per person
  • 40 hours: US$599 (approximately AU$930) per person
  • 60 hours: US$874 (approximately AU$1358) per person
  • 80 hours: US$1149 (approximately AU$1785) per person

Check what's required to visit Mexico

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Mexico City
Population 127 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peso (MXN)
Time zone UTC-06:00

Weather and climate: The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Mérida lies on the Caribbean coast in the State of Yucatán and is one of the warmer regions of Mexico. The warm season lasts from April through June, with an average daily high temperature above 35°C (94°F). The hottest day of the year is May 7, with an average high of 36°C (97°F) and low of 23°C (74°F). Being prepared for the intense heat during this time frame is essential. The colder season lasts from November to February with an average daily high temperature below 31°C (88°F). The coldest month of the year is in January, with an average low of 18°C (65°F) and high of 29°C (85°F).

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