Peter Campbell, from U.K., brought 20 football kits to promote a tournament at his sports project.
Thank you very much Peter!!
I was volunteering in Rio de Janeiro for only two weeks. My plan was to travel afterwards, so that’s why I only stayed in Rio for such a long time.
I had a great time! It started by getting picked up by Felipe at the airport, while we were driving to the hostel he explained me a little bit how the program works and what’s there to do in Lapa and Santa Teresia. I was volunteering with an Irish Couple and I thought it was really nice so I didn’t have to go somewhere by myself.
The volunteering itself was absolutely amazing, we were playing ball games with the children, rope skipping, drawing, we did some painting as well and they loved it! There were around 10 to 20 children each day, I don’t know on what it depended if they were coming or not, but mostly it was school I think. The children were between 2 and 14 years old, they could get a bit wild at times, but they were all very sweet and always really excited to see us.
I would definitely recommend this program, but in my opinion, two weeks is way too short! If you can stay longer, do it! It’s definitely worth it. Also, try to get some basics in Portuguese, I could already understand and speak a little bit, but sometimes it was very hard because not everyone speaks English and they really do appreciate it if you try.
Rio is an amazing city, I totally fell in love with it! At first I was a little bit scared because everyone told me it’s such a dangerous city, but in my opinion it’s just like every big city and you should listen to people living there on where you can and where you can not go. I never went out by myself when it was dark and I never felt unsafe, but I think that’s mainly because I listened to what Felipe said, like don’t behave too much like a tourist, don’t take any valuables, etc.
If you’re still not convinced, trust me: just go!
If you enjoy the outdoors you can volunteer with a community garden in Rio de Janeiro. Volunteers help growing vegetables in the garden for the residents of a nearby favela. Mr. Áureo coordinates the project, where also the children of the community participate in the garden work.
Here in the garden we grow everything for the community. When people need something, they can buy it or take it for free. They won’t leave with empty hands. The volunteers are doing a great job, they come and help us out. We exchange ideas. They teach us what they know and we teach them what we know as well – Seu Áureo, Project leader
What volunteers say about their experience:
We feel lucky we can work with Mr. Áureo, coordinator of the garden. He plans our daily tasks. Our work schedule. It’s very interesting. What I will remember from my experience here are the people. The people at Iko Poran and from the garden. And the interaction I’ve had with these people. – Santiago, volunteer from Argentina
Find out everything about volunteering in Rio de Janeiro, volunteer accommodation in Rio, and proceed with your application.
Had an amazing experience with Iko poran in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although I signed up to volunteer for the art and design program, I was essentially more so of a student myself because the students at the program were my age and mostly independent with their studies.
Despite this, I was accepted and treated with extreme kindness even though there was a language barrier. I made some amazing friends with the students who taught me so much about Brazilian culture, Portuguese, and art (as I am an art student myself). The other volunteers who I was staying at the accommodation with were doing other programs where they were actually volunteering. Although I still had a lot of fun at my program and feel as though I made special and hopefully lifelong connections with the students, so to me it was fulfilling.
I was staying at Felipe’s home (the Director of Iko Poran), and he and his family were very nice and would check in to see if me or the other volunteers were satisfied with our program placement. We stayed in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa which had a gorgeous view of neighboring favelas and the christ of redeemer. Because the accommodation is so close to favelas, it is not the safest place but if you have common sense and listen to the directors advice you shouldn’t have any problems. I didn’t have any issues and had to commute back and fourth to my program on my own, getting back at night. Remember that if you come it isn’t for a nice luxurious vacation, but rather to make a difference helping abroad. So being able to adapt and work with what you get is essential. My only complain is that I wish I had more time getting Portuguese lessons since I stayed for 4 weeks and only received a week of it. Otherwise everything was good for me and I still got to practice Portuguese at my program. Overall its an extremely rewarding experience that helped me get out of my comfort zone and I would highly recommend it.
Find out more about volunteering on Arts & Design in Rio de Janeiro
Excellent partner project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where IKPVA has been placing volunteers since 2004 to work with Art & Design.
Video produced and filmed by one of the volunteers.
Find out more about volunteering in Brazil
Learn Capoeira in the Sports Development Project in Brazil
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.
If you feel ready to go, sign up as a Brazil Volunteer .
We will take you carefully step by step through the enrollment, and you will learn what will be provided with the program, costs and requirements. Have fun.
Savannah Peiser gives an interview about her experience volunteering on child development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I chose to go international because there was the dual opportunity to help those who are disadvantaged and to travel and explore Brazil. It was also a journey of discovery for me and to open up more career opportunities for my future.
I stumbled across their working abroad website, and when I spoke their colleagues in London, they made me feel relaxed and comfortable about their partnership with Iko Poran. The program also appealed to what kind of change I wanted to make, even if it was only a small change.
Little steps, along with patience, reach bigger goals.
The location of the project and the hostel I was staying in were within walking distance of each other, or a 10 minute bus ride. To walk was about 40 minutes, but it was worth it to meet people and to see the beautiful surroundings. Sometimes when I finished late, I caught some beautiful sunsets. Also, it was close to the main area for social life, so on the weekends, when I didn’t work on the project, I could enjoy with fellow volunteers and people staying in the hostel.
It was unique for many reasons; I was the only volunteer there, so because the children were inspiring the main reason for the uniqueness of the program was the ballet classes that gave the kids a peaceful retreat from their harsh day-to-day life. Their lives are not easy, the backgrounds of their families really do make you think. Also, it made me feel grateful, but sad, that there aren’t equal opportunities. Overall, it was unique because it was thought-provoking and inspiring.
Luis Felipe Murray gave a great introduction to the program and made sure I was happy with the project before I began participating. The only critique I have is that during the program there could have been a little more contact, just to check up.
Volunteer with children in Brazil
The smiley group of children from the morning half of the project at Ballet de Santa Teresa – my little cherubs!
I wish that I had brought more materials with me to engage the kids with a little more.
I would wake up around 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. at the hostel, get ready and have some breakfast, and leave by 8:30 a.m. I would arrive at the project by 8:45 a.m. or sometimes 9 a.m. because the bus would be late; in the mornings, I always took the bus. Upon my arrival at the project, I would check the rota for that particular day. Always in the morning was the activities with the younger kids aged three to nine. We would have some reading and writing classes, and then painting and puzzles. At 10:30 a.m. there would be a break for juice and biscuits, then back to classes. During the writing/readings/arts classes, there would be music classes happening, with various music teachers and ballet lessons (the main class of the school). Then at 12 p.m. we would begin lunch, which would go until 2 p.m.
During lunch, once the little kids had finished eating, they would change their uniform and go off to proper school. Then the older kids aged 10 to 15 would arrive, eat their lunch, and when the afternoon teachers arrived they would begin their lessons at 2 p.m. After 2 p.m the lessons consisted of making things for the production they were performing at the end of the month. The school would close at 6 p.m. Sometimes I’d stay until the end, but most days I left after lunch. That was a nice thing about the program, there was some flexibility.
I really enjoyed socialising with the people at the Rio Hostel Santa Teresa, the staff there were very friendly and became like my family for the month I was there. We would eat and drink together and go out on the weekends.
I stayed in the Rio Hostel & Pousada Santa Teresa. The people who worked there were like family and the other volunteers and people staying there were very friendly. From my time there, I have definitely made some real friendships.
Nothing really surprised or shocked me about Brazil, as I already had knowledge of how life is there due to having Brazilian friends. Also, I’m from South Africa and the two countries are incredibly similar; they have the same socio-economic issues, same culture, really similar cuisine, equally beautiful beaches/wildlife/outdoor landscapes, quite similar mentalities, and the same political problems (i.e. corruption).
I think when it comes to packing, it’s all relative to the individual. Pack what you need.
I didn’t struggle to communicate with the locals as I already had quite an extensive knowledge and practice of Portuguese. Sometimes there would be a problem with the accents of the different people, especially those from the various states of Brazil, but it wasn’t a big hindrance.
For sure it will enhance my career opportunities, and it has opened my eyes a bit more.
Yes, I’d definitely recommend Iko Poran! They’re a great organisation with great projects.
When I volunteer again, I would either come back to Brazil or go to South Africa.
About Savannah Peiser
Savannah was born in South Africa, but her family moved to London early on in her life. She was fortunate enough to attend a good school, and then move on to attend Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Savannah loves traveling and has traveled to many places; she thinks traveling is an education in itself.
Want do volunteer in Rio de Janeiro?
Find the complete information about volunteering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil here.
Patrick was a Rio Volunteer in 2016. He is studying at the University of Bath in the UK.
I wanted to know the real Rio and get in touch with the locals through volunteering. This program helped me to gain first-hand experience while using my time in a meaningful way.
Iko Poran is a very professional and experienced volunteering program provider. Before my departure, I got very detailed and helpful advice ranging from visa and insurance information, to security tips. As for my inquiry emails, I always got very good answers in a timely manner. Upon my arrival, I met the welcome staff right at the airport, which made me feel warm and safe.
Before I started the volunteering, I received an orientation covering all aspects of life and volunteering work. Another thing is the guided tour of the city, which was very exciting. I got accompanied to the volunteering workplace. Iko Poran made sure I could start volunteering without any difficulty.
The living condition in the hostel was quite nice. Breakfast was provided and the coffee was amazing. Lunch and dinner were organized on our own, but there were plenty of choices in the restaurants around the hostel.
One piece of advice I would like to give those who are interested in this program is: Don’t think too much and worry too much. This program is the best way to use the summer time well.
During a typical week, I worked four days and used the three-day weekend to explore the city. The balance of work and leisure was quite nice. In a weekday, I worked about 5-6 hours.
To be honest, the biggest fear of volunteering in Rio is about personal safety, as the violence was portrayed extensively by media. However, after I saw the city and got in touch with the people, I realized most of the fears were created by the media.
The Brazilian people are quite friendly and warm-hearted. I had the happiest time in Brazil. The best way to get rid of the fear is to see the country for yourself and get in touch with the people.
I worked with children in a low-income community. I felt that volunteers could add content to children’s after-class time. Also, we let them see and get in touch with some people from other countries, which broadened their visions.
In return, I benefited greatly in several ways. I saw another world and learned so much about this country. I began to think more broadly and critically after the volunteering.
Find out more about Brazil Volunteers
As a volunteer on the Brazil Medical Volunteer Program 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.
My overall experience was amazing, I enjoy every second of it and I learned so much about the culture. Definitely a experience that will change your life.
- Ana Noroleyn from Texas
Find out more about Ana’s volunteer experience in Rio
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.
My overall experience was amazing, I enjoy every second of it and I learned so much about the culture. Definitely a experience that will change your life.
Find the complete information about volunteering in Brazil, and proceed with your application.