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Volunteer in Brazil – Most Affordable Volunteer Programs with Iko Poran!

If you have a cheap volunteer trip to Rio in mind, try out one of our highly affordable projects to volunteer in Brazil! People are very welcoming in Rio, and some of the most exciting projects for volunteer work are waiting for you: football coaching, teaching English, Urban Environmentalism, Arts, medical internships and childcare. We have decided to set up our head quarters right in the heart or Rio de Janeiro, because we are passionate about this uprising country and its brilliant, full-hearted people. Come join us and find out about the carioca way of life!

Brazil Volunteer Programs at a glance:

Wide range of volunteer programs in Brazil to match all skills & interests


Volunteer in Brazil – Overview

Volunteer in Brazil with the Carnival Preparation program ready to parade in Rio de Janeiro's CarnivalGo for a trip to South America and volunteer in Brazil. Since we at IKPVA as a grassroots volunteer organization make part of Rio de Janeiro, we understand the needs of the communities.

Your Volunteer Work in Rio de Janeiro: Supporting the Communities

Your volunteer work in Rio will help improving the life of the residents of the communites (or favelas) directly. There are so many opportunities, from childcare at a day care center, teaching English to sports development, including football coaching. With the environmental program at the Tijuca Rainforest you can see first hand the ecological challenges that Rio faces and make a difference. Since we are committed to long term development, with 15 years of experience, we are able to offer you a unique volunteer experience, and acompany your stay and work like nobody else.

Putting you in contact with local communities

Iko Poran do an amazing job at putting you into contact with local communities and projects that need support. The work these projects do are extremely important in these communities and it was a privilege to be able to help with it. Everybody i worked with was very friendly and accommodating. I highly recommend others to pursue a volunteer project and believe it is just as beneficial to the individual as to the community you are working with. – Lisa

Local Partner Organzations in Rio de Janeiro ensure Quality and Success

IKPVA works with a wide range of local partner organizations closely involved in improving the lives of the residents of Rio’s favelas. So, all the programs are tailor-made for the residents of the communities in need for support and help. In exchange, you will have a beautiful cultural experience, meet open-hearted people and see them grow.

Had a great Time! One of the best experiences ever!

Had a great Time! One of the best experiences ever!  Every minute worth it!!! It wouldn’t be possible without Iko! Thank you for the support and for the pre program manuals! – Sara Matos

Benefits from Volunteering in Brazil

Benefits from volunteering Rio are mutual: you can help local people, help caring and educating children, preserve nature. In exchange you will make friends, meet open-minded people, learn about the Brailian Culture and even Portuguese…

Volunteering with the environmental program gave me the opportunity to see first hand the ecological challenges that Rio faces and make a difference myself while also having the chance to witness the incredible beauty of the city and parks as I was doing it! – Destiny

Just completed a month of volunteering in Rio de Janeiro with Iko Poran. I worked in programmes in teaching English, Art, and Dancing. It felt good to be making even a small difference in the lives of people who in many cases have so little. – Bob Black

Brazil is the size of a continent

Brazil is the size of a continent and covers almost half of South America. Moreover, its great cultural diversity and a huge variety of landscapes and people leaves a profound impression on visitors.

With a tropical climate and vibrant colors. Brazil features a large variety of fauna and flora. Brazil’s attractions range from the impenetrable jungle to a variety of different mountain ranges. In the interior, large swamplands and a network of several large rivers stretch out until they arrive at the Atlantic coast with its 8.000 kilometers of continuous beautiful beaches.

Brazil’s Vibrant Colors and the Joyful and Tolerant Temper of the Brazilians

While Brazil´s natural beauty is impressive, it´s the country’s culture that captivates visitors. Brazil´s cultural identity emphasizes values such as tolerance, solidarity, and the joy of living. Brazilians are warm hosts who love to laugh, sing and dance.

Volunteer in Brazil to Help Giving Fair and Equal Opportunities for All the Brazilians

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.

Affordable Volunteering in Brazil

Volunteer Teaching English in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Volunteer in Brazil Teaching English in RioVolunteer in Brazil teaching English in Rio de Janeiro.

The project introduces students from low-income communities in Brazil to the world’s most commonly spoken language. Learning English will help the students getting in touch with people all over the world and communicate with tourists coming to Rio. Moreover, they will increase their career opportunities in the future.

Brazil 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.

A Native Speaker in the Class Room Makes a Huge Difference

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. Morevoer, it provides those who have never had any English instruction with an opportunity to learn the language.

I had a great time working with the kids and young adults in Rio de Janeiro

Bob Black with his English Class in Rio de Janeiro
Bob Black with his English Class in Rio de Janeiro

I had a great time working with the kids and young adults in Rio de Janeiro. I worked in English, Art, and dancing classes and they all had their different challenges in terms of resources available, students at different ability levels. It was very uplifting to be able to share my skills and hopefuly make a small difference to the lives of these young people.
Their enthusiasm for learning and determination to make their country a better place was inspirational. – Bob Black

Choose whether to Tutor a Few Students Individually or Teach a Full Class

Placements on this project are flexible and volunteers can choose either to tutor a few students individually or teach a full class. Therefore, we strongly encourage our volunteers to create their own lesson plans. Often, the volunteers work together on these.

However, 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.

Sports Volunteer in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro

Volunteer in Brazil with sports - football project in BrazilVolunteer in Brazil in our sports projects in Rio de Janeiro.

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 (soccer). Since there are few entertainment options for youth in lower income communities, sports have become an essential part of favela life. Especially children and adolescents are passionate for sports and, of course, football (soccer)!

Given the lack of entertainment and job opportunities, children are increasingly getting caught up in illegal activities. Therefore, 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.

“The Smiles on People’s Faces when I Bought Football Equipment”

Sports development programme in Rio
Football equipment bought through donations.

My favourite memories are the smiles on people’s faces when I bought football equipment and stationary with money raised by friends and work colleagues. I was able to raise £530 in two weeks and would highly recommend raising some money through a donation website, so you can go the extra mile with supporting the locals. – Afonso, 31 years, from London

Volunteers do not need to be sports stars to participate on this project, but a passion and enthusiasm for sports goes a long way! We encourage the volunteers applying for the sports project to list their preferences and skills, however they need to be flexible and participate in a variety of sports where required.

Many ot the activities of the sports volunteers depend on the good weather, as they are outdoor activities. 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 on Community Development in Rio, Brazil

Volunteers in Brazil with many children painting a public space inside a favelaVolunteer 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 in order to 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.

Painting and Restoration Work for Local Community Centers

Public space inside a Brazilian favela totally renovated by volunteers

Volunteer work can also include painting and other restoration work for of local community centers. Moreover, you can help to establish new community development programs and assist with community garden projects and arts programs. Volunteers with at least intermediate-level Portuguese skills can work in outreach campaigns.

If you are creative and industrious, this volunteer project is perfect for you! You work will be of great value and help developing the sustainability. Moreover, you will contribute to optimize the positive impact of the organizations’ initiatives.

This project has a minimum duration of 3 weeks.

Child Development or Childcare Volunteer in Brazil

Volunteer in Brazil - Childcare projectVolunteer 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. The children will appreciate your love and dedication, since not all the children have equal chances in a country with one of the most pronounced gaps between the rich and the poor.

Volunteer Work in Day Cares in Rio’s Favelas

Since children in Rio de Janeiro attend school either in the morning or afternoon during four hours, they are left unsupervised for long periods of time if their parents are at work. Therefore your volunteer work will greatly help caring for the children in a day care centre, having fun with them, until the parents come back from 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.

Provide care and attention for the children or babies

The childcare projects ensure that children and babies have a safe, educational and supervised environment. With your help, the children will spend the time with great activities, while their parents are still at work.

Childcare Volunteers 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.

Great program in Rio de Janeiro

Adriana with the children at the project in Rio
Adriana with the children at the project in Rio

Great program. Very interesting project helping and teaching children. And for sure, placed in the best city ever: Rio de Janeiro. For the moment, it’s been a memorable experience, easy to learn Portuguese as it includes classes too, and flexible working times in order to be able to travel around the magnificent country, Brazil. – Adriana Puiggrós

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.

Medical Volunteer in Brazil: Health Awareness & Education

Volunteer in Brazil project health promotionVolunteer 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.

Amazing Experience as a Medical Volunteer in Rio

Ana Norleyne - trabalho voluntário no Hospital no Rio
Ana Norleyne

Volunteering with Iko Poran is definitely one of the most amazing experience I ever had. The organization gives you the freedom to help in your own ways.
Working with kids was certainly a challenge but the support of other volunteers and people in charge of the projects make everything so much easier.
I also volunteered in a health project where people from the communities work together to inform people about important health issues. – Ana Norleyne – University of Texas

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.

It is not necessary to speak Portuguese to have an awesome experience, but if you can grasp a little you will go a much longer way.

Carnival on the Horizin: Volunteer with Carnival Preparation in Rio

Volunteer in Brazil on Carnival PreparationVolunteer in Brazil and experience Carnival from inside.

Carnival is an event that breaks all economic and social boundaries – a love and passion for Samba makes everyone equal.

The Carnival project allows volunteers to join the preparations for parade at Sambódromo. During your stay you will 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 and floats. They rehearse the music and dances for the celebration. The volunteers help some of the leading Samba schools in the creation of costumes or decoration of floats.

Manufacturing Costumes and Decorating 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). Thus, 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 40 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 Volunteer in Brazil – Community Garden

If you enjoy the outdoors consider volunteer in Brazil in our environment projects. From conservation projects to urban renewal, IKPVA 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.

Volunteer in Brazil with the project community garden in Brazil

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, the close vicinity of dense urban areas to the natural gems causes problems. Therefore, many of Rio’s treasured green spaces suffer from damage by urban sprawl.

Combine the volunteer work at the Tijuca National Park with the community garden experience

So far I have had a wonderful experience volunteering in Rio de Janeiro with Iko Poran’s Urban Environmentalism program. I am half way through my two-month stay in Rio and I already know that it will be a very valuable experience for me.

The project consists of work in Tijuca National Park and at a large community garden in a favela, where they grow almost every sort of common vegetable in Brazil. The people I work with in the communities are all incredibly kind and welcoming, not to mention they are doing work that makes a big difference for themselves and the environment. – Elisa

As an environmental volunteer, you can help to support and develop some of the most precious natural spaces. Moreover, you can cultivate a vegetable garden with local people from a favela.

Volunteer in Brazil on Arts & Design

Volunteer painting a big mural with children in our Arts project in BrazilWhen you feel like sharing your creativity and passion for arts, go for a trip to Rio de Janeiro work as an arts & design volunteer. Since the “Cidade Maravilhosa” has already inspired many artists and musicians, you may find young talents and help them grow. During your stay you will work with children and adolescents of Rio’s Favelas. You will develop their artistic talents, be it painting, sculpting, dancing or singing! You may even paint the walls of a school or orphanage. So you can have fun with the children and at the same time, raise the vibes of the local environment.

Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Theatre

There’s certainly plenty to offer on an arts project, since it features 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. During your volunteer project, you will  be able to absorb the artistic vibes of Rio.

As a volunteer for an arts program you will help to educate and support the children of Rio by offering a cultural and artistic education. Since your volunteer work reinforces positive interests, you help to provide an escape from the omnipresent drug trade and under-employment.

Volunteer in Brazil Programs – Fees

Please Note:

  • The program fee is paid directly to the host organization.
  • All of the projects incur a registration fee of US$199.00 on top of the program fee.

Volunteer Program Fees Brazil

What does in the volunteer in Brazil program fee include?

  • Airport Pickup
  • Orientation plus tour in the area including some tourist sites
  • Accommodation for all projects
  • Breakfast
  • Support from local staff & Program supervision
  • In-country 24/7 support throughout your stay
  • In-country administration costs
  • Donation to support the local project

There are no hidden costs, therefore these projects are the most affordable to volunteer in Brazil.

Iko Poran is an NGO based in a developing country. Since we are dedicated to helping you help others, we offer lowest possible prices. We are interested in making volunteering abroad more accessible so that more people can help do really important work.

Participants in our Brazil programs normally find US$150 to be sufficient for weekly expenses in the country.

The program fee should be paid to the host country and it is due 30 days before the project start date.

Free 20 hours Portuguese course for programs with 4 weeks or more!!

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 2018 is from February 9th to 16th. 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.

Volunteer in Brazil – Project details

Location in Rio de Janeiro

Our programs to volunteer in Brazil are based in Rio de Janeiro, which was the capital of the country until 1960. Therefore, Rio de Janeiro is a highly cosmopolitan city. Rio de Janeiro stands out for a wide range of attractions for visitors, including its legendary Carnival. The cultural diversity of Rio de Janeiro, with more than 400 years of history, attracts many visitors who come to Brazil. It is a huge city whose geography grants its title “Cidade Maravilhosa” (City of Wonders).

Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation for Brazil Volunteers in Santa Teresa Rio de JaneiroAs a volunteer in Brazil you may stay in one of our two accommodations, both located in Santa Teresa neighborhood.

Both houses have free Wi-Fi and laundry service. Full breakfast is provided and there is a fully equipped kitchen that volunteers can use to prepare other meals. All rooms have lockers (just bring your own lock).

The first one is a very nice apartment/ house style where the office is and the local coordinator lives.Volunteer in Brazil - Accommodation in Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro

The house has 3 floors. On the first floor there is a really large living room, a veranda with a hammock and a big dinning table. Adjacent, there is 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. There are also private rooms are available at an extra fee.

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. On the right hand you will find a really big open area with amazing views to the mountains of Rio. From the terrace, you can spot the Corcovado Mountain with the Christ Redeemer on top.

The supermarket is 8 minutes walking distance and bars and restaurants are 6 minutes.

A nice Hostel within 10 min. Walking Distance from the Volunteer Accommodation


Volunteer in Brazil - Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro

The other accommodation is a very nice hostel located about 10 minutes walking distance from the volunteer accommodation.

The hostel has 2 floors with a veranda at the entrance. On the first floor there are two living rooms, a dining room, and the reception.

The second floor has 3 big dorms, one of them can lodge up to 6 guests at a time and the other can lodge up to 8 volunteers each. One of the rooms is reserved only for women and the others are mixed. There are also two bathrooms with many showers and toilets in both of them.

We provide one room exclusively for the volunteers. However, case the room is full up, we accommodate volunteers in other rooms. Private rooms are available at an extra fee.

There is a supermarket across the street and restaurants and bars 2 minutes walking distance.

The neighborhood Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Santa Teresa is a bohemian area with an intense cultural life. The charming neighborhood stands out for its unusual architecture. Enjoy a trip with 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.

Santa Teresa prides itself of the atmosphere reminiscent of that of a small town, and also enchants visitors with its panoramic views. Moreover, Santa Teresa 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.

Requirements to volunteer in Brazil

You must be at least 18 years old at the start of your placement.

All volunteers must have adequate volunteer travel insurance. Moreover, they are required to provide a criminal background check to local staff on arrival in Brazil or during orientation.

Language Requirements

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. However 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 at 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.