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Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza (R.I.S.E.)

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

The Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza, A.C. (R.I.S.E.), is a NON-PROFIT shelter for infants and children under the age of 14 who have been turned over to R.I.S.E. by DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia), a Mexican government organization that is the legal representative for minors under the age of 14.

DIF’S main objective is to reintegrate these children with their families, but this is not always possible. R.I.S.E. gives these children a safe and loving place to live because they have no other choice in their lives.

Some of the children are only here temporarily while their problems are resolved at home, but sadly, some have been in institutions most of their young lives. We have babies that have been abandoned; others that were born in prison and still others that for some reason or another cannot be cared for. These children are placed with us.

Most of these infants/children are not adoptable. We presently have over 50 children but this number varies at times. We have housed over 200 children since we opened our doors in March of 2001. This does not include those who have made R.I.S.E. their permanent home.

We have two dedicated nuns who live at the shelter and look after the children on a full time basis. Madre Mari, the Director and Madre Chuy, head of the laundry facilities. We also have salaried staff to assist in the nursery, the kitchen, the laundry room and to help keep R.I.S.E. as clean and orderly as possible.

To make a donation, please visit RISE Donor Box.

About the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza

Our History

This project rose from the need to create another home for Puerto Vallarta’s children in critical situations, a place that was safe and welcoming for them.

For this reason Mother Maria de Jesus Cazares started to work on the project looking for people who could believe in it.

So they got in contact with Father Luis Alcaraz who enthusiastically helped in finding a proper place for the children shelter to be built. With the consent of the Bishop Humberto Robles Cota a space in the Colonia Benito Juarez was leased in order to establish The Refugio Infantil.

Once we found the location, we began the task of obtaining things necessary to start a home and receive the first children. We could do so thanks to the support from people like Engineer Carlos Oceguera, who got the materials to build two small rooms, a nursery, a kitchen, dining room and a room for the religious.

Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza opened its doors for the first time to 14 children in March of 2001.

What We Do

El Refugio is a children’s shelter that homes children in a difficult family situation, who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Our Mission

To home children who are on the street or who are suffering from abuse or neglect in the home, in order to protect them and promote their integral development as children. We aim to not only satisfy their basic needs with adequate nutrition, health, physical, psychological and educational development but also try to reintegrate them into their family and social environment. We believe this is a right of every human being.

Our Vision

To continue to be an institution capable of raising boys and girls, providing security, support, education and care, for them to become men and women of good will, through the formation of values which enable them to cope with life with more dignity. As a society we must work towards good causes and Puerto Vallarta needs it. The example donors, volunteers and people involved with this project give us is the reason to be proud and confident there are good people yet.

The future of the Refugio depends on charitable people who want to make a difference to these children lives. 

Why We Do It

Puerto Vallarta like other large cities began to generate high levels of marginalization and immigration from other areas. This brought high levels of drug addiction, prostitution, loss of values and family disintegration.

As a result of the above, children were the most vulnerable, suffering the consequences of irresponsible adults.

In that time, 10 years ago, the city had only one children’s shelter as the consequence of this there was overcrowding and lack of quality care for the children. One shelter was not enough anymore and a new one was a critical necessity for the children in Puerto Vallarta.

For this reason, the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza was started, a place where children could be treated with love, quality and respect.


The Children of Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza
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Our mission is to provide a loving home to children who are either orphaned or in critical home situations due to ill-treatment and abuse. So as to promote their healthy development, their basic physical, psychological and educational necessities to assure an integral rearing.

To continue working as an institution able to offer security, support and care for both boys and girls, so that they may become well-rounded men and women with a strong value system that will allow them to face life with dignity.

Volunteering at Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza

A couple of "Angels" from Juegos Rainbow in Leon, Guanajuato donated their time and the equipment needed to repair the much loved and well-used playground at R.I.S.E.

Would you like to add a drop to this amazing sea of smiles?
Would you like to contribute where necessary?
Do you have free time even a couple of hours a week?
Are you interested in sharing your knowledge and skills?
Would you like to spend some of your time on something that will fill your soul?
Do you have experience in childcare?

Share your desire to help. If you think you can find the time to join our wonderful group of volunteers, contact us.

We are constantly looking for people with a big heart who can donate part of their spare time, energy, determination and skills to benefit the people of our community.

There are many children and not enough hands.

We need help from simple tasks to organizing different activities. An example? Support in the kitchen, in the dining room or in the laundry, help with homework, play with kids, develop their skills in workshops or sport activities.

Devoting your time helping others is one of the best and most rewarding opportunities for growth that you have and you’ll never forget.  You improve your abilities to work in a team, learn from other people and have a nice time. Therefore, in many cases, your work will achieve changes that would otherwise not have been fulfilled.

Helping children in Refugio Infantil is extremely rewarding: the experience will offer a challenge and might even change your way of understanding life.

And remember: what we can give... life itself returns it us to a greater extent.

If you are interested to join our volunteer group send an e-mail to or come and meet us.

How You Can Help Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza

Click the button above to make a donation to the R.I.S.E. PayPal account.

Monetary Donations

Children living in the Refugio depend on donor support of any type.

Every child costs the institution $90.00 pesos a day, which covers accommodation, meals and compulsory education.

The daily operations of Refugio Santa Esperanza depends entirely on donations.

As other organizations we receive monthly support partly from foundations, associations, organizations, local government and also the system of the Family (DIF) of Puerto Vallarta, state government programs for specific projects, among others.

Unfortunately this is not enough to support the basic needs of this growing family.

All donations are very important since they are an essential part of the livelihood of children in the Refugio, which today is approximately 120,000.00 pesos per month ($ 12,000 USD.)

These donations provide food, clothing, education, medical care. Payment of basic water, electricity, telephone, maintenance of green areas, building maintenance, accounting service, fuel, and anything else necessary to create a caring and loving environment where children can live.

For projects as the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza your support is vital.

Any amount even if small is appreciated and extremely important for these children.

Item Donations

Items donations are also extremely important for the daily running of the Refugio. Any donations are appreciated and will contribute to the happiness and wellbeing of the children.

What do we need?

Large Nappies
Baby wipes
Nappy rash cream
Cereals, big boxes, both natural and sugary (we use 10 boxes pw)
Milk (10l pd)
Yoghurt (once a week and we need 4 - the big ones, about 3kg each)
Flour for hot cakes
Rice (we cook 2kg, 3 -4 times pw)
Beans (4kg daily)
Shower gel
Sanitary products
Cleaning products
Washing powder for both clothes and dishes (20kg pw)
Fabric softener
Fabuloso, Pinol
Soap (Lirio Amarillo)
Toilet paper
Mop, sweeping brushes, sponges, dish cloths

Together we can do a lot!

Last updated: June 13, 2019 · Charity ID: 504

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La Jornada

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Uruguay's President Plans to Adopt Dozens of Kids

The Huffington Post

Childless leader, who donates most of his money to social projects, plans to adopt dozens of 'poor kids' after term expires.

Violins in Baja: Couple's Mission in Mexico Combines Faith and Service

The Los Angeles Times

In 1979, Hans and Nancy Benning began working at a Mexican orphanage built by friends. Thirty-four years later, they're still going back.

Universal Children's Day Is a Global Celebration of Service to Children

The United Nations' Universal Children's Day is an occasion to promote the welfare of children and an understanding between children all over the world. It is held on November 20 each year.

World Day Against Child Labor: No to Domestic Work!

International Labour Organization

Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights.

In Mexico, Some Kids Choose Life on the Street to Escape Abuse


"Dia del Nino" is a big date in the calendar of a professional clown: making people laugh is the order of the day. But for Angel, a clown working at one Mexico City's busiest traffic intersections, it's bittersweet.

UNICEF Report Reveals Shocking Cost of Malnutrition and Outlines Unprecedented Chance to Defeat It

Stunting is low height for age in children. A new report by UNICEF reveals the high prevalence of stunting in children under 5, but also outlines the tremendous opportunities that exist to make it a problem of the past.

As Mexico Ramps Up Against Child Abuse, NGOs Urge Supporting Small-Scale Efforts

The Christian Science Monitor

Child rights advocates are pressing Mexico to reform arcane laws and a dysfunctional system of child protection. And at least one program is offering hope for a model of care.

Watch: Mexican Children Abandoned by Families Because of Disabilities

Attitude Pictures Ltd

Abandoned by their families because of their disabilities; Attitude TV goes to Mexico, where they discover why so many children are institutionalized.

Documentary 'When Home is the Street' Chronicles Hardships of Homeless Youth


Reintegrating street children and youth into society requires deep and consistent love and compassion, both to help them escape poverty and to allow them to let go of feelings that they are unloved and unwanted. A new film documents this delicate transformation.

Nonprofits: Steal This Film From Tiffany Shlain For Your Own Purposes


Tiffany Shlain is turning into a fairy godmother for nonprofits in need of new ways to get out their messages. Her latest film, Brain Power, could help childhood development-related nonprofits solicit donations, volunteers, and anything else they might need.

We invite you to add your charity or supporting organizations' news stories and coming events to PVAngels so we can share them with the world. Do it now!

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