Adriana Puiggros has been volunteering with children in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, and she fell in love with Brazil:
Risking my life, investing my time, working to help the children of this favela in Rio de Janeiro was undoubtedly an indescribable experience that changed my way of seeing things and life forever. It saddens me to think that I will not see these children again, at least in a long time, but I am happy for everything that has taken me. Now it’s time to close a stage in Rio, but it’s not the time to leave. Soon I will open a new stage in Brazil full of new experiences, people and places to know. I’ve fallen madly in love with this country. ❤😍
Original – Portuguese:
Arriscar minha vida, investir meu tempo, trabalhar para ajudar as crianças desta favela do Rio de Janeiro, foi sem dúvida alguma uma experiência indescritível que me mudou a minha forma de ver as coisas e a vida para sempre. Entristece-me pensar que já não vou voltar a ver estas crianças, pelo menos em um tempo longo, mas estou feliz por tudo o que me levou. Agora é hora de fechar uma etapa no Rio, mas não é hora de ir embora. Em breve vou abrir uma nova etapa no Brasil cheia de novas experiências, pessoas e lugares por conhecer. Este país me tem loucamente apaixonada. ❤😍
Find here the programs to volunteer in Brazil.
It will be better if the connection with local family is improved. Sometimes the internet is not good in this small village, so volunteers need someone who can speak english well.
Find the full cataloge with the projects to volunteer in Ecuador on our Homepage.
Over the last September, I volunteered for 2 weeks as a teaching assistant in Padre Cocha, a small community located at 20 min by boat from Iquitos, in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon.
The project consisted in a 2-week English course for local people of all ages and aimed at improving their everyday communication with foreigners, in order to promote tourism in the community.
During this period I’ve been hosted by Jorge and Jenny, the organisers of this project, at their b&b, who made me feel welcome since the very beginning and gave me all the support I could need for visiting the area.
Teaching has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, as put me in direct contact with the local people, who really appreciated the time and effort I put into it and who truly believed in the benefits of the program.
In my experience, two weeks have been a sufficient time to forget about my own life and to dive into this new reality, getting to know new people and appreciate their differences and similarities from my cultural background, build friendships, enjoy the jungle and, hopefully, make a difference for this community. This first course, in fact, has set the basis for a longer-term project that will continue with new volunteers and with the same enthusiasm to help the development of this marvellous place.
Overall, I couldn’t be more satisfied of this affordable and rewarding adventure, especially given that I’d never really considered volunteering before, and surely recommend this kind of experience to anybody.
I spent the month of October working with Iko Poran in Rio de Janeiro on projects teaching English, Art, and Dance. I met some wonderful people, some of whom will hopefully remain friends forever. It was good to make a difference, even for a short while, to the lives of people who in some cases have so little. But what they may lack in resources they make up for many times in their enthusiasm for learning. I was able to contribute on a number of programmes and I think the more adaptable you are, the more you will get out of the experience. Rio de Janeiro is an amazing place, not without its problems, and you do have to take care travelling around, however one of the best aspects of the experience for me was being able to live almost like a local, travelling miles on the rattling buses, eating very economically in “local” restaurants, really feeling a part of the community. You just would not get that coming as a tourist. A tourist will get to know places….a volunteer will get to know people!
I would have liked a brief sheet with information for the projects.
Address, contact details, history of the project, website if there was one, just to be as familiar as possible before getting struck in. Also some projects are quite far away and the prospect of getting lost was always there, although it didnt happen.
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. Iko Poran were excelent hosts and made sure my time was well spent in projects that suited my skills and abilities, as well as leaving me time for my own tourist activities, and pursuing my own drawing and painting hobby.
– Bob Black
Volunteering in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities of the world – dubbed as “Cidade Maravilhosa” by the Cariocas, residents of Rio. Cidade Maravilhosa means the Wonderful City, as it stretches out with curving hills overlooking magnificent beaches, and protected by “Christ the Redeemer” on top of Corcovado.
The residents of Rio are open-minded people and will welcome you with open hearts. Even if there is a language barrier, local people will communicate naturally with you. Pretty soon you grap some words of Portuguese. If you have any chance of learning some Portuguese before travel, the people will love it. With just a few words like “Bom dia” or “Tudo bem?” you will make local people very happy! With volunteer programs of four weeks or more, Portuguese lessons are being provided anyway.
Find out more about volunteering in Brazil.
Go for a very special trip as a Carnival Volunteer in Rio and participate in the preparations at Samba School. Therefore you will experience Carnival from inside, where the preparations and rehearsals are beginning already several months before Carnival.
Since love and passion for Samba makes everyone equal, at Carnival people leave all economic and social boundaries behind.
The Carnival 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 Carnival 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 Carnival 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.
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.
Here in Rio, I have stayed in a beautiful home with the host family. The house is in an area within walking distance of some bars and restaurants and has a nice view, as well as a very comfortable living space. The family has been welcoming and make sure that I have everything I need to enjoy my time here. They also have two adorable kids and two cats, which has been great for me as well.
Overall, I recommend Iko Poran as a volunteering outlet. They offer a wide range of work that contributes to the local communities, while also assuring a fun and comfortable stay.
I spent two weeks as a teaching assistant at a rural kindergarden. The experience was way different than I expected.
The children live very difficult family circunstances and you have to be ready to see and hear some heartbreaking experiences. Nonetheless they are very loving and affectionate to volunteers so you instantaneously feel welcomed. Then is up to you how you want to make an impact.
In my experience I came to the realisation that you cannot educate them in two weeks, and what these children really needed was love and support.
I recommend Iko Poran for this type of program because they offer support at all times if any doubts or concerns arise.
I was able to contact the Peruvian based advisor by whatsapp at al times regrding my situation and even touristic doubts and the host family was always there for a chat if you are having trouble adjusting.
Adriana has been volunteering in Cusco, Peru
Volunteer for free teaching English in Colombia, traveling to this exciting country of South America. Since Colombian people are of the kindest, most peaceful and most welcoming of the world, you will enjoy teaching English to them. While volunteering in Colombia you may visit colonial cities, the Caribbean beaches, huge mountains and the Amazonian rainforest.
If you choose to volunteer with us in this incredible program in Colombia you will be working within a small English Institute in the beautiful city Ibagué; the capital of the department of Tolima situated in Western Colombia, just south of the famous Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados. You will spend your days teaching English and practicing conversational skills; the institute offers a variety of classes of different levels and age groups, you may be responsible for teaching within different classes. You will be expected to teach 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday.
This is an incredible opportunity to gain some real teaching experience and to discover the true Colombia. Moreover, you will be living among local people and get all the benefits of a profound cultural exchange, while helping to broaden the opportunities of your students.
In this once-in-a-lifetime program all of your accommodation, plus one meal a day is completely free of charge. You also receive free Spanish classes, and normally our volunteers spend their weekends enjoying a variety of outdoor activities with all transportation included, for example rock climbing, Salsa classes, rappelling, horse riding, and partying with the local people!
Colombia has been often vastly underestimated, due to its history and problems with security in the past. But fortunately, over the last decade the security situation has changed dramatically for the positive. So, don’t to miss out on this charming country.
Colombia is blessed with natural beauty. Landscapes like the Caribbean coast and beaches, the coffee plantations on the hills, the Andean summits, Amazonian jungle make the country unique for travelers.
While volunteering Teaching English in Colombia you may take advantage and get around in the country with it’s fascinating history. Enjoy the Caribbean beaches, walk around in the city with its colonial architecture. Visit ancient ruins of La Ciudad Perdida. The archaeological site second only to Machu Piccu. But these are just a few of the many hidden treasures you will come across trekking through Colombia. You will experience a culturally rich country, and easily make friends with Colombians. Colombian people are of the kindest, most peaceful and most welcoming of the world; it is not uncommon for passers-by to welcome you in the street.
Out of a troubled history, through recent years turning over a new leaf, Colombia has blossomed. Therefore, tourism is increasing and art lines the streets. 2016 marked the signing of a treaty in a historic peace process between the FARC and the government in which they agreed to a cease fire and to surrender their weapons. Bogotá is awash with new restaurants, boutiques and other small businesses capitalising on the country’s status of peace. There is so much to discover!
Volunteering is a unique way to travel. You can take part in unforgettable cultural exchanges, gain professional experience and better understand the country where you are travelling. At the same time by giving your time and effort to this cause you get to play an important role in the lives of local people, sharing your knowledge and skills.