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.
Work as a volunteer at Jaipur, one of the most beautiiful destinations in India. This fascinating capital of the state of Rajasthan is one of the best-planned cities of its time. Jaipur was established by the then Maharaja, Sawai Jai Singh in the year 1927. The graceful architecture of the City with predominantly pink colour on the walls has earned Jaipur the title of “The Pink City”. Jaipur is predominantly known for its musicians, artisans and craftsmen. Today, it is flocked by masses for its fine jewellery, varied textiles and sumptuous cuisine. There are innumerable sagas and stories of culture, traditions, practices and valour. This diverse land of rich cultural heritage is a royal treat for tourists all over the world.
Along with these fascinating places, Jaipur is flocked by people attracted by the beauty of the architecture and local arts and crafts. The famous handicrafts, silver and gold jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones, beads and jewellery, blue pottery products, carpets and textiles are the most preferred ethnic items by visitors. Jaipur is close to Delhi, the capital of India and is well connected to other parts of the country through airways, rail and road. Jaipur is one of the fastest growing cities of India with productive investment opportunities like Mahindra World City, World Trade Park, etc.
Have a beautiful experience teaching English in India, at the Jaipur Community School and help providing a better future for the local children.
The volunteer program takes place within a CSR (Community school) in Jaipur. The school is situated in the southern part of the city. The school is catering to children from an economically weak & marginalized area. The school offers quality English teaching with all other required amenities.
Find out more about Teaching English in India
The child development volunteer program is a residential program for children living nearby, with over 30 in attendance. All the children are from nearby areas of the city are economically very poor. Their parents can’t afford their education or child care expenses so they rely on this host organization, which is responsible for taking care all of their needs like education, shelter and food.
For all of our Jaipur India programs you have two possible options for accommodation for throughout the period of your stay. You may choose to either be placed within a very welcoming host family, or to be placed within the host camp option, a separate accommodation for volunteers; choosing whichever is better suited to your needs and desires. Full details of the accommodation are available in out Pre-Departure Guide.
Both are great options and we’re sure you will have a fantastic time!
Our programs to volunteer at Jaipur in India start every 3 weeks on a Saturday.
You may choose the duration of your volunteer program from 2 up to 24 weeks.
All volunteers should organize to arrive in Jaipur International Airport. Airport pick-up and drop-off is included in your program fee. You will be met by a representative in arrivals.
Orientation takes place on your first Monday and will cover
Volunteers work 4 to 6 hours daily, Monday to Friday.
You must be at least 18 years old at the start of your placement. All volunteers must have adequate volunteer travel insurance.
Fluency in English is required in all the projects.
You will have a competent support and advice from the local team and project leaders. There will always be a member of the local team working with you at the projects. The local coordinators will give you all the information to have a safe and unforgettable experience.
Feel inspired? Go ahead and start your volunteer experience in India!
We will take you step by step through the enrollment process, and you will also learn about everything provided with the program, acoommodation, costs envolved and requirements.
Have a beautiful experience teaching English in India, at the Jaipur Community School and help giving a better future for the local children
The project takes place within a CSR (Community school) in Jaipur. The school is situated in the southern part of the city. The school is catering to children from an economically weak & marginalized area. The school offers quality English teaching with all other required amenities. Our in country partners have supported the school with all the furniture, infrastructure & teaching materials like boards etc. There are around 54 students who are studying in 1st to 5th grades. As a volunteer you will teach the students the necessary things that will help them in developing their interpersonal skills. You will also help the local staff in daily operations of the school. The top-most requirement of the project is to develop the overall personality of the students by encouraging extracurricular activities, art & craft, group discussions, teaching & communication.
This is an incredible opportunity to gain real-world teaching experience and work alongside bright enthusiastic young minds, while also getting to experience all the beauty of India. This project is particularly well suited to teaching students and teen volunteers.
Take part in the Peru Construction Volunteer Program and help to build family homes, schools or provide water supply.
According the number of volunteers and the needs of the community we work in schools, orphanages, family homes, and medical and community centres to improve the living conditions of the people living in underprivileged areas. We work alongside the community and families to help to promote social change and impact by working together. There are no words to describe the satisfaction of seeing the completion of a renovation project, and the effect that it has on the local people. This project is unique and rewarding as it offers volunteers the chance to see their immediate impact in the community in which they work.
Every day the tasks of the project vary depending on the current need of the public and feasibility based on the number Volunteers painting a mural in our renovation program of volunteers. When we work in houses for disadvantaged families work can vary from renovation to painting and gardening. You will see the smiles and happiness of the benefited families, something which will stay with you for the rest of your life.
You can choose between projects in Arequipa, Peru’s beautiful white-stone city shadowed by the famous El Misti Volcano; Cusco, the home of the Incas and the archaeological capital of the Americas; and Iquitos, the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon.
Please note: This project is available for a minimum of 5 people arriving together.
Go ahead and apply as a volunteer in Peru
We will take you step by step through the enrollment, and you will learn abeout everything provided with the program, costs envolved and requirements.
Make part of the vervet monkeys animal conservation volunteer program in South Africa where help is needed with the integration of the foster moms of 23 little orphans back into the troops.
Join the family at this amazing primate sanctuary. At this special initiative, orphaned primates come from near and far and are given a loving home where they are rehabilitated and cared for until they can be released back into the wild.
With over 500 cheeky monkeys in care at any one time, this sanctuary always needs an extra pair of helping hands. Your participation will help to ensure they are all well fed, cared for and loved; and will help raise funds to maintain the place up to scratch for its gorgeous guests.
This is an incredible option for those who go bananas for animals as you will get the chance to work hands on the vervet monkeys, under the guidance of experienced professionals. At other occasions, you will be helping to carry out all the back-stage tasks which really ensure the monkeys’ wellbeing.
“I’m having a wonderful time here and there is nothing that I don’t like.” Gijs van Suijlichem in our South African program
At the same time you will get to experience the amazing life in the African bush, and make friends you will remember forever – some furry and some a little less so.
Learn more about South Africa Animal Conservation Projects