Paulina has sent us this beautiful testimony about her volunteer work in Rio de Janeiro. During her time in Salgueiro, a pacified community in Zona Norte of Rio, she has been working in the ecological garden of the community. At the same time she was caring for children at the local school, and enjoyed playing and drawing with them. She even taught some English to them. As she says, things move at a different pace in Brazil, you have to be patient. But after a while things start to work out greatly, and you get the support of the nice and welcoming people in the favela.
I had the opportunity to volunteer in Brazil with Iko Poran for three weeks in August 2013. My project was located in Salgueiro, a pacified community very well known for having one of the most famous samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.
In the mornings I worked in an ecological garden that provided food to the poorest families in the community and to the local school, and in the afternoons I helped in what they call “the library”, which is a space where children from the neighborhood come to hang around playing, drawing, painting or learning English.
My volunteer time in Rio was a very nice experience that I’ll never forget. One of the most important things I learnt is that you have to try to not to give up if at any time you have the feeling that the project is not fulfilling your expectations, or that you are not helping enough. You have to always keep in mind that things in Brazil move at a different pace… The best approach to this situation is to face each day with renewed illusion and to always show a positive and proactive attitude.
The best part of the gardening project was meeting the people who work there: nice, friendly and welcoming people, who quickly opened the door of their home to me and their hearts.
In the project with children I learnt that just with our presence, we prevent these kids from being in the streets exposed to dangers and possible negative influences. I also learnt that what really matters is the love you give and that you receive from them in huge amounts. It’s almost amazing to see how their smiles can light up your day and also motivate you to keep going and value the work you are doing there.
This experience also allowed me to meet amazing people. I’m talking about the other volunteers from different nationalities that lived in the same house as me, and also the Iko Poran team. They’re all lovely people that I hope to see again someday!– Paulina Dañino
Work as a reforestation volunteer in Ecuador’s cloud forest in order to help achieving long-lasting positive results both for the environment and the local people. Since the local government has asked the community to plant and grow 20,000 trees to use for reforestation work across the region, you work as a reforestation volunteer is vital for the project. Alongside this, the community group have also come together and bought a piece of land, where they would like to plant coffee plants and trees to grow and use for reforestation work in the area.
The cloud forest and the trees within them form a vital part of the life and work of the community and this reforestation project will make a big difference. The community would love volunteer assistance to contribute towards this important ecological project and to the community for years to come.
Find the complete information for volunteer work in Ecuador here. Learn about everything provided with the reforestation volunteer program, required language skills, costs involved and proceed with your application.
Find more volunteer opportunities with reforestation at rainforests:
Environmental Volunteering at the Tijuca National Forest helps preserving the world’s largest urban forest. 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.
Tijuca Forest is the worlds largest urban rainforest, this program gives you, as a volunteer, the opportunity to take part in aiding the conservation of this natural beauty. You will be given the once in a lifetime chance to create alternative solutions to some of the increasing environmental issues this area faces, in response to plastics residues, waste and pollution.
If only I was born in Brazil
Iko Poran truly showed me the authentic life of a Brazilian. The warmth, the layback’d-ness, the everyday “Bon Dia’s”…. It was an experience that I will never forget. I am going to return to Brazil as soon as I can!! The people you meet, both local citizens as well as the foreign participants, have become friends I will never forget and hopefully see soon!
All in all, Iko Poran was an opportunity I would do again and again (especially to see Lola, the dorm cat). – Eric Jin, Waterloo University
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.
I was in Rio de Janeiro for 4 weeks helping out in the Tijuca rainforest and at the community garden in a favela. I met so many different people from all over the world and as a result, I not only learned about Brazil but many other cultures. It’s a great way to get to know a city and have more of a local feel and the program itself is very reasonably priced. I would definitely consider coming back to Iko Poran for volunteering again. – Emily, University of Waterloo
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.
Find the complete information about affordable volunteering in Brazil…
You may also like to read about more reforestation projects in other countries: