Surf’s Up – Misión México. 

A unique refuge transforming the lives of children in Tapachula, Mexico. 

Misión México is a children’s refuge and orphanage located in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico. It was established in November 2000 by Australian couple Pam and Alan Skuse to provide a loving and stable home for children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned and who come from extreme poverty. Mision Mexico provides the children in their care with a second chance at life; by providing a family like environment to children and establishing a unique surfing community which they have pioneered in Tapachula with no other wave riders.

When I surf, I don’t have to think about anything except the waves. Not my past, not drugs, not anything. There is nothing like it” – Jose, Misión México.

Misión México, has several programmes that aim to give the children an education and life skills to be the best they can be; Youth Transition Programme, Education Programme, Surf Programme and Work Training Programme.

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In 2012 Misión México UK was founded by Deborah Grossman after volunteering in Tapachula for five months and falling in love with the children and the great work that Pam and Alan Skuse undertake to make sure the children have everything they need from a home to education and extracurricular activities such as dance, music and surfing.

Through the years, Misión México has supported over 250 children and Pam and Alan take care for around 50 children on daily basis.

In the UK Deborah Grossman and her team of volunteers organise a Moustache Party every year to fundraise and guarantee the sustainability of the refuge in Tapachula. The money raised in the last Moustache Party in November, 2014 will provide three months of funding for the Youth Transition Programme, supporting four young adults in a transition house and 15 teenagers living in the main house/refuge engaging in activities to help them develop confidence and the vital skills to enable them to live independently.

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Photo c/o

It will also fund the annual education costs for six children. In Mexico, education is the key in ensuring that children will have an opportunity to gain employment; this is what they strive for at Misión México.

2014 was a good year for the children a Misión México, thanks to the vital support of sponsors, donors and the work of volunteers, they have been able to extend their children’s education outside the classroom.

They now have seven children in ballet classes and a group of children who play and sing in an orchestra.

It is incredibly rewarding to watch these children, once thought to be nothing of value to the people who supposedly ‘cared’ for them, find pride and new found confidence in themselves. Children who had no decent education, hopes or etiquette carry themselves with beauty and grace” – Deborah Grossman, Chairperson of the Board, Misión México, UK.

These programmes are vital to the Misión México´s vision of enabling the children to be the best that they can be.

If this program did not actually exist, things would be very different. I would be still very ignorant to life outside of the refuge, and if I was to leave there without experiencing the life in the Transition house, I would have been very scared. I now feel that I have the confidence to live independently, so I want to thank all the people who believed in the Youth Transition Program. This has given me hope for my future and future success. – Maria, Misión México

The above article by By Laura Vanessa Johnson first published on on 7th Jan, 2015.