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Building better lives together


Do you just build homes?

We will build either homes, school classrooms or community centres depending on which country we are building in. We can also participate in other activities depending on what is appropriate and what we have available. In Mexico we have hosted street parties for children in a colonia where we are building; delivered cleaning supplies and food to a local orphanage, fed the homeless or delivered personal care packages to a local prison. In the Pacific Islands, we deliver school supplies, medical supplies and other requested items to our local partners. If we are building a school there is often an opportunity to play sports and spend time with local students in their classrooms.

How safe are in the countries we are building in?

Volunteer Build takes trip safety seriously and has a number of measures to ensure the safety of the teams while in any country.

These include:
  • Providing full pre trip briefings to all trip attendees
  • Completing comprehensive planning just in case of an emergency
  • Registering our group prior to departure with the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade at
  • Requiring comprehensive travel insurance including coverage for volunteer building, for all Volunteer Build attendees
  • Undertaking careful selection of accommodation, transport and catering for teams
  • It is a trip requirement that anyone under the age of 18 travels with a Trip Guardian who is responsible for a minors safety while on the trip
  • Volunteer Build experienced trip guides know the areas and the projects well and ensure that all volunteers are well briefed on keeping safe while in the country
Our partners assess the applications and obtain references to ensure that the applications are valid. As our partners are working every week in the area, they have a good idea of the need and who the residents are.

How are the families selected that receive homes?

The families that we build homes for are selected by our local partners. Families can make an application to our partners, and if their application is approved, they are put on a prioritised waiting list by need.

In order to apply to families will need to provide documents that include things like:
  • 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
  • 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 colonia/area
  • A letter explaining the family’s ne and why they would like a home to be built for them
  • Full contact details
Our partners assess the applications and obtain references to ensure that the applications are valid. As our partners are working every week in the area, they have a good idea of the need and who the residents are.

How do I register for a trip?

Once you have decided to sign up for a trip, complete the online registration form. We will assess your application and confirm your place as soon as possible!

What is not included in the trip fees?

Your trip fees do not include:
  • Travel insurance – your premium will depend on your age, and any pre existing medical conditions. We will forward you an application form after your application has been accepted
  • Personal spending money
  • Trip meals (unless specified as included)
  • Any vaccinations or medical examinations that are required pre-departure
  • Any extra items that you would like to purchase to give away while in country (eg stuffed toys, children’s books, sunglasses, extra gifts for the family, candy, tools for building, educational supplies, clothing, linen etc)
  • Optional excursions and any other amounts not specified as included in the trip cost

What countries do you build in?

We currently build in Vanuatu (school classrooms) and Mexico (houses). We have also built in Tonga, Fiji, Cambodia, Nepal, Peru, Uganda and partnered with other projects in Vietnam and Russia, Romania.

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 organisations before, during and after your volunteering experience
  • Transport –  All transport requirements while you are on the trip with us
  • Food – as specified in your trip costs
  • Supervision – While on a Volunteer Build, 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
  • 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
  • Why not just send money and let locals do the work? - Great question! The whole purpose of Volunteer Build is to “build better lives together”. Our volunteers donate their time, finances and labour to work with locals who are doing a great job on the ground to complete much-needed and wanted projects quickly and cost-effectively.  You can’t put a price on the relationships built and the encouragement given both ways, that happens between our teams and locals on these builds! The reality is that most of these projects just wouldn’t get done or, take a very long time to complete at a much greater cost, without our volunteers helping in person. We actively support local communities with employment by having our teams stay in local hotels and guesthouses, eating locally, buying building materials locally, and hiring local building foremen and labour to put down foundations etc before the team’s arrival

Volunteer Build is building better lives together in 2024