about us & why iko poran
Who we are
Iko Poran volunteer abroad is a non-profit organization based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
We partner with other non-profit organizations working with volunteers in other developing countries. We have created an international network to offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities all over the world to help and contribute in the most affordable way.
Iko Poran was established in 2002 as a Brazilian non-profit volunteer organization and since the very beginning is focused on causing positive results in needy social and environmental projects. The website was launched in July of 2003 and the first volunteers started to arrive in November of 2003. In 2004 we received 18 volunteers; in 2005 received 84 volunteers; in 2006 received 164 and since 2007 has been receiving an average of 300+ volunteers per year in Brazil. Iko Poran has been continuously receiving and placing volunteers in social projects in Brazil and in developing countries around the world.
In 2007 the Brazilian Ministry of Justice recognized Iko Poran as a Public Interest Organization and this title has been renewed year after year since then * (click)
Early 2013 Iko Poran started to establish partnerships in other countries with volunteer coordinators that the founder met during his 12 years experience. Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad was launched in 2015 promoting international volunteer programs with one of the world’s most affordable registration fees, as well as the only volunteer abroad organization based in a destination country that also runs high-quality volunteer programs that speak from the heart.
One of the main goals is to make international volunteerism very affordable giving the opportunity for even more volunteers with great intentions to travel and help strengthen social projects all over the world. We want to create a difference! Main differentiator to most of the companies operating in the volunteering field:
- We believe that volunteerism should not be expensive for the ones with good hearts that want to lend a hand.
- We are the only international volunteer organization based in a developing country that also runs its own developing projects. Most of the other providers are mainly profit-oriented traveling companies based in First World nations.
- We are not targeting of generating any surplus revenues. All money charged is used to further achieve our mission and contribute to our local programs.
- As we directly interact with local organizations in the respective countries we keep the administration effort at the minimum and do not need to charge a handling fee.
- Volunteers pay their program fee directly to the local organization. No intermediary, no extra fees, no playing with their money.
Iko Poran is a non-profit organization with no political or religious affiliation. We are founded on the principles of democracy, peace, citizen’s rights, human rights, and non-discrimination on the basis of belief, race, color, age, sexual orientation or gender.
Iko Poran has as its purpose the fight against all forms of social exclusion, providing national and international volunteer placements in various areas, notably environment, education, health, arts, sports, culture, and science.
Our programs provide social assistance to children and young adults, and to social groups at risk of social exclusion, promoting their citizenship and social integration.
We want to strengthen cultural understanding and to open new horizons for volunteers and communities alike. Our projects are also intended to help training the involved communities to generate income and employment.
Iko Poran works in a transparent and ethical manner. Iko Poran operates in partnership with many other local organizations and works with them to design rewarding, safe and meaningful volunteer programs to better serve their communities. We share significant revenues with our partner organizations to further develop our programs.
Registered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2002, Iko Poran is the only Volunteer Abroad organization based in a developing country respectively in a destination country, and also, Iko Poran is the only one that runs its own volunteer projects. Iko Poran is the real thing!!
Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad has been receiving volunteers in Brazil since 2003 and has the experience of having received thousands of volunteers with our own special recipe to satisfy and reward volunteers while achieving long-lasting positive results in our partner projects.
As explained by Iko Poran Director in a 2003 United Nations Volunteer Conference in Geneva, Switzerland:
“Iko Poran sees volunteerism as a partnership which must satisfy the volunteers involved as well as benefit the NGO concerned: fulfilled volunteers are more committed and mutuality of interests between the organization and the volunteer will produce value for each partner.”
(Check the full report of the Conference here)
Tailored Volunteer Placements
Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad and local partner organizations develop the work plan of the volunteers even before they arrive to place them in productive and rewarding programs according to their abilities and interests and the partner organizations’ necessities.
No Hidden Cost
Because Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad is a non-profit organization and not a travel agency, our application fee is one of the most affordable in this world. And, last but not least, volunteers pay their programs fees directly to the host organization, which guarantees that there are no hidden costs – your money goes directly to where it is needed.
Volunteer Organization Established in 2002
This is something we have from the very bottom of our souls and more than any other volunteer organization. We have been working for more than 15 years as a local organization receiving and accompanying volunteers in Brazil; we know the needs and interests of our volunteers. We do not only send and place the volunteers like the other agencies, but we take care from the very first contact, prepare them and guide them through this intense experience. And we even stay in touch afterward by our volunteers’ community.
We can give them superior support and advice to adapt faster to a new reality.
Safety is the number one concern of our volunteer organization. The local volunteer coordinators in our destinations frequently check all our placements, accommodations and projects to make sure they are totally safe and secure. Right after becoming a registered Iko Poran volunteer you will receive a welcome pack with security advice and training tools that will help you stay safe and make the most out of your placement. When our volunteers are abroad our local teams give them face-to-face advice and are always there to help them understand the local culture and avoid any risks. We are very committed to caring for our volunteers’ safety and security. We have been working in this area for more than 15 years with zero records of a major problem.
This is one of the great benefits that we have experienced from the very beginning. Because we are a local organization that has been receiving volunteers for 12 years before becoming an international volunteer abroad organization, we have formed hundreds of life-long friendships. On this page, you can see pictures of Iko Poran Director taking volunteers to football games, or in barbecues parties, as well as when he went abroad and many of these former volunteers that are now his close friends came to meet him.
You will form strong bonds of friendships with people from the projects you will work, with your local hosts and with your fellow volunteers. And this will be a great benefit because most of the volunteers come from many different cultures and backgrounds, and you will always have a friend to meet and take you around when visiting other countries.
Even if you stay in different host families and neighborhoods, your local host coordinator will organize weekly meetings when you will be able to meet your fellow volunteers.
Rewarding & Quality Volunteer Projects
To ensure the quality of our volunteer programs, we only work with local organizations that were fully verified and are used to receive international volunteers. The hosts are passionate about having volunteers around; they love interacting and making friends with them. Our local partner organizations know that the program has to be really high quality in terms of customer service, and that goes from the very first contact to arrival, and all the way through the volunteer program to departure. But even before that, from the moment you become a registered Iko Poran volunteer, you will have access to a lot of information to help you prepare for your volunteer travel experience. You will have a dedicated program manager that will answer all your inquiries and make sure you are ready and confident for your volunteer experience
Our volunteers can be sure they will be placed to develop the activities they signed up for. Actually, the organizations in which they will work for will be introduced to them and if they have any special activity that they want to develop, their work plans will be formatted even before they arrive in the host country. This happens only after signing, registering and paying the program fee to the host organization because we do not want to create expectations that might not be fulfilled if the volunteer decides differently.
Find the Volunteer Programs here