Volunteer in Brazil
At a glance:
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Available all year round
Start dates: 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month
10 different projects to choose from
Accommodation in a comfortable volunteer house with breath-taking views
Program fee includes: airport pickup, orientation, accommodation (breakfast), placement, 24×7 support and 20h Portuguese course (programs with 4 weeks or more)
Program fees starting at only $260 for 1 week
Between 200 and 300 volunteers arrive in Brazil per year
Wide range of programs to match all skills & interests:
We work with a wide range of local partner organizations closely involved in improving the lives of the residents of the favelas.
We are part of this city and understand the needs of our communities. We are committed to their long-term development. This makes us uniquely placed to ensure our volunteers experience the real Rio and the real Brazil.
Brazil is the size of a continent and covers almost half of South America. It has a great cultural diversity and a huge variety of landscapes and people, which leaves a profound impression on visitors.
Brazil is a country with a tropical climate and vibrant colors. It contains a large variety of fauna and flora, offering a wide scope of attractions, ranging from the impenetrable jungle to a variety of different mountain ranges, large swamplands and a network of several large rivers until they arrive at the Atlantic coast with its 8.000 kilometers of continuous beautiful beaches.
While Brazil´s natural beauty is impressive, it´s the country’s culture that captivates visitors. Brazil´s cultural identity was formed on values such as tolerance, solidarity, and the joy of living. Brazilians are warm hosts who love to laugh, sing and dance.
Brazil is also a complex country, contradictory, unfair and unequal, which reflects one of the highest concentrations of income in the world. But at the same time, it is a land full of opportunity. The complexity of Brazilian society accounts both for its difficulties, through its huge social contradictions, and for its great creative energy, which is necessary for Brazil to assume a place among nations more in keeping with its potential.
Volunteer in Brazil teaching English.
The project exposes students from low-income communities in Brazil to the world’s most commonly spoken language, one that fuels the global economy.
Volunteers on this project work with local students, ranging in age from primary school age to elderly, sharing perspective and encouraging cultural understanding with the students.
The inclusion of an English speaker leading the discussion makes a tremendous impact on language acquisition.
The Teaching English project supplements what students learn in school and provides those who have never had any English instruction with an opportunity to learn the language.
Placements on this project are flexible and volunteers can either be involved with tutoring a few students or teaching a full class. Volunteers are expected to create their own lesson plans and often work together on these.
Please note, volunteers do not need to be a qualified or experienced teacher to participate on the Teaching English project. There is a minimum duration of 3 weeks for this project.
Volunteer in Brazil in our sports projects.
Sports have become vital for Rio de Janeiro’s lower income communities, providing children and adolescents with recreational outlets. At just about every corner of Rio de Janeiro, you will find locals playing the national sport of futebol. With the few entertainment options for youth in lower income communities, sports have become an essential part of favela life, especially among children and adolescents.
Given the lack of entertainment and job opportunities, children are increasingly getting caught up in illegal activities. The Sports project aims to provide children with friendly competition in a safe and fun environment. Volunteers on this project have the opportunity to work with children in popular Brazilian sports, such as futebol, futsal, capoeira, and surfing.
Volunteers do not need to be sports stars to participate on this project, but a passion and enthusiasm for sports goes a long way! Volunteers are encouraged to list their preferences and skills when applying for the Sports project, but will be required to be flexible and participate in a variety of sports where required.
Please note, many of the placements are based outdoors and are dependent on good weather. In the event of bad weather, our local staff will do their best to place volunteers at other projects, such as Childcare or Community Development.
Volunteer in Brazil helping to develop our communities.
You will have the opportunity to work with local organizations in Rio de Janeiro, providing assistance with day-to-day tasks that allow the staff to focus on big picture initiatives and development within their communities.
Volunteer placements include organizations working in health education and awareness, technology, arts, environmental development, media and design.
Volunteer work includes painting and other restoration of local community centers, helping to establish new community development programs and assisting with community garden projects and arts programs Volunteers with at least intermediate-level Portuguese skills can work in outreach campaigns.
Creative and industrious volunteers are well suited to this project and can offer great value in developing the sustainability and impact of the organizations’ initiatives.
This project has a minimum duration of 3 weeks.
Child Development or Childcare
Volunteer in Brazil working in child development or in a childcare centre and help us save our children.
It is undoubtedly the most beneficial way to increase the quality of life for children living in Brazil, a country with one of the most pronounced gaps between the rich and the poor.
Children in Rio de Janeiro attend school either in the morning or afternoon, leaving them unsupervised for long periods of time if their parents are at work.
There are also several crèches (daycares) inside favelas of Rio that take care of babies while their parents have to work to make their living.
These projects ensure that children and babies have a safe, educational and supervised environment in which to spend this time constructively and allow their parents to work..
Volunteers on these projects provide children or babies with the care and attention needed to develop their social skills, and encourage them to develop an enthusiasm for higher education, teaching them vital skills to be competitive in a rapidly developing economy.
Volunteers can be placed in community centers working with children or teens or in crèches (daycares) working with babies.
These centers generally have few resources, so volunteers need to bring their initiative and creativity to make the most of the facilities available. Volunteers also teach English to the children through educational activities, such as copying, drawing games and role-play..
Health awareness & education
Volunteer in Brazil supporting our health efforts and help to spread health awareness within low-income communities.
Health promotion and education is an integral part of furthering the goals of development. With a well-informed and healthy population, anything is possible.
However, there are extensive health problems that continue to threaten the wellbeing of the people.
As a health volunteer you will be on the front lines of educating and raising awareness for healthcare issues impacting local communities. Whether you are involved in hands on health promotion and canvassing, healthcare advising, contraceptive literacy, or leading disease awareness workshops – your work will make an immediate, positive impact on your project.
It is no secret that development countries healthcare systems are still in its early stages of development, and has limited impact on the poorest communities in these countries.
As a result, many communities rely on local organizations and NGOs for healthcare advice and education, meaning it is up to the people to provide effective health awareness. Thus, it is imperative that these organizations are staffed with dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers to execute essential health activities.
Special Program – Carnival Preparation
Volunteer in Brazil and experience Carnival from inside.
Carnaval is an event that breaks all economic and social boundaries – a love and passion for Samba makes everyone equal.
The Carnaval project allows volunteers to join the preparations and embrace the hard work involved in preparing for one of biggest parties on earth!
Samba schools competing in Carnaval have a full year of intense work to prepare the many costumes, floats music and dances for the celebration and volunteers help some of the leading Samba schools in the creation of costumes or decoration of floats.
Volunteers do not need to have any experience in costume or stage design, just a willingness to work hard.
Samba schools are born from the local favelas (urban slums) and most of the schools take their names from the community they represent. Each school unifies and proudly represents people from that community and all Cariocas (Rio-born Brazilians) also have their favorite school.
Whilst volunteers are hard at work, they can also engage in some Portuguese and English language exchange with fellow workers.
Please note, the dates for Carnaval change every year (it is held 46 days before Easter). Volunteers do not get to participate in the Carnaval parade for free, this opportunity is available an extra cost and needs to be arranged in Brazil with our local staff.
Environmental Program – Community Garden
If you enjoy the outdoors consider volunteer in Brazil in our environment projects. From conservation projects to urban renewal, Iko Poran has partnerships with a number of NGOs and projects helping to protect Rio’s stunning landscape or growing vegetables and salads in community gardens to alleviate hunger or donate to local crèches.
The Tijuca National Forest is the world’s largest urban forest, and you can volunteer on a reforestation project helping in the three nursery, counting species, opening and cleaning trails, cutting branches, painting fences/ signals, among other activities.
Rio de Janeiro boasts one of the most magnificent contrasting landscapes in the world: cascading forests on massive mountains adjacent to a world-class city. However, this contrast isn’t always mutually beneficial, as many of Rio’s treasured green spaces are damaged by urban sprawl.
As a volunteer for an environmental program you can help to support and develop some of the most precious natural spaces, while also helping in a community vegetable garden and experiencing favela life.
Arts & Design
Volunteer in Brazil with our Arts projects.
There’s certainly plenty to offer on an arts project that uses an invigorating mix of music, dance, and theatre to support the city’s most at-risk youth.
Working with children from a number of favelas (urban slums) your efforts will play a valuable part in helping a project desperately short of resources, while allowing you to absorb the artistic vibes of Rio.
As a volunteer for an arts program, one of your main roles will be to help educate and support the children of Rio by offering a cultural and artistic education that reinforces positive interests, in an effort to provide an escape from the omnipresent drug trade and under-employment.
- The program fee is paid directly to the host organization.
- All of the projects incur a registration fee of US$189.00 on top of the program fee.
What is included in the volunteer in Brazil program fee?
Airport pickup, orientation with tour in the area including some tourist sites, accommodation with full breakfast, support from the local staff, program supervision, in-country 24/7 support throughout your program, in-country administration costs and donation to support your project. These are the most affordable programs to volunteer in Brazil.
Free 20 hours Portuguese course for programs with 4 weeks or more!!
Participants in our volunteers in Brazil programs find US$150 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.
Program fee should be paid to the host country and it is due 30 days before the program start date.
Volunteers staying during the New Years Eve are required to pay a surcharge of U$ 100 to cover accommodation premium prices from Dec 29 to January 2nd.
Carnaval in 2017 is from February 24th to March 3rd. If your chosen duration includes the Carnaval week there is surcharge of US$ 200 to cover accommodation premium prices during this period. All projects will be closed during the Carnaval.
Our volunteer in Brazil programs are based in Rio de Janeiro, which was the capital of the country until 1960; Rio de Janeiro is a highly cosmopolitan city, which presents a range of attractions for visitors, including its legendary Carnival. The cultural diversity of Rio de Janeiro, with more than 400 years of history, has been the reason for it to be the main choice of visitors who come to Brazil. It is a huge city whose geography grants its title “Cidade Maravilhosa” (City of Wonders).
Accommodation & Meals
As a volunteer in Brazil you will stay in a very nice apartment/ house style in Santa Teresa neighbourhood.
The house has 3 floors. On the first floor there is a really big living room, a veranda with a hammock and a big dinning table, one toilet, one big kitchen, laundry area and a small room for up to 2 guests with a small bathroom by the laundry area.
On the second floor there are 3 big guest rooms for up to 4 volunteers each and two bathrooms. All rooms have lockers (just bring their own lock).
The third floor is a big terrace with two sides: on the left side there is a small kitchen open to a big dinning area covered; the right side is a really big open area with amazing views to the mountains of Rio, including the Corcovado Mountain with the Christ Redeemer on Top. The house has free Wi-Fi and laundry service for at only R$ 10/load (to cover soap and softener).
Full breakfast with scrambled eggs is provided and there is a fully equipped kitchen that volunteers can use to prepare other meals. There is also a private fridge reserved only for our volunteers.
Santa Teresa is a bohemian area with an intense cultural life, it is known for its unusual architecture and the hundred and ten years old tram which still runs through its winding cobbled streets.
A residential sanctuary in the heartbeat of the Mata Atlantica (Tijuca National Park), the world’s largest urban subtropical rainforest, it provides access to the Christ statue of Corcovado as well as to the city centre, Sambodromo (where the samba schools compete during Carnival) and the city´s beautiful beaches.
With an atmosphere reminiscent of that of a small town, it enchants visitors with its panoramic views and offers a variety of options for eating local dishes to international cuisine.
Start & Duration
Projects in Brazil start on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month. Participants on our volunteer in Brazil programs should arrive on Sundays. You can choose to volunteer from 2 to 24 weeks
Orientation takes place on Monday after the arrival date.
You must be at least 18 years old at the start of your placement. Exceptions can be made for under 18’s accompanied by a guardian or with a parental consent.
All volunteers must have adequate volunteer travel insurance and are required to provide a criminal background check to local staff on arrival in Brazil or during orientation.
Knowledge of basic Portuguese is desired but not a pre-requisite. You will already learn a lot practising in your project where nobody speaks good English, but if you would like to speed up your learning we recommend that you take advantage of a very affordable 20 hours Portuguese course taught at your accommodation for only U$ 180.
You will have a competent support and advices from the local team and project leaders. Someone will always be available in the case of any emergency. Please keep in mind that you are in a different country and should take some precautions to avoid exposing yourself to certain risks.
The local coordinators will give you all the information to have a safe and unforgettable experience. We are based in Brazil and have been receiving approximately 400 volunteers per year since 2003 and we never had any major problem.