Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad: Building a fair and equal society for all.

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA


Iko Poran is a well-established NGO offering a wide range of life-changing volunteer programs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

These safe, affordable and meaningful programs include Teaching, Childcare, Community Development, NGO Support, Construction, Environmental Protection, Animal Conservation, Sports, Art & Design, Medical/Health Promotion and many special projects to match your skills and interests.

Iko Poran is the only Volunteer Abroad organization based in a developing country, which is also a volunteer destination (Brazil).

We run our own projects and over the past 17 years have supported thousands of volunteers to make a difference in local communities and have the time of their lives.

We have created an international network to offer a wide range of possibilities for volunteers to contribute in the most affordable way. Our mission is to help you leave your mark on the world!

Visit our website and apply today – you will receive a response within 2 working days


Rua Prefeito João Felipe, 571/ 101
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro-RJ


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Yes, I recommend this program

I spent four wonderful weeks volunteering with Iko Poran in Rio de Janeiro. Everything was organized very well and smoothly, from the airport pick-up and accommodation arrangement to the induction tour and individual projects. Despite initial safety concerns about living and working in Rio, the organizer of my trip, Felipe, ensured safety throughout my trip. The free private Portuguese lessons were another great feature of this program, and it helped me settle into the local daily life very quickly. What I appreciated most of the organization was Felipe's effort and flexibility to tailor the projects towards my interests. This allowed me to work on significantly impactful projects, but it also made my experience truly enjoyable and unforgettable.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would recommend everyone to try to learn a bit of Portuguese before coming to Rio. This can make a vast difference when communicating with locals who you may interact with during the projects and in everyday life.
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Yes, I recommend this program

It was actually one of the best moments of my life, got to know a lot of the culture in Cuzco(Peru). Could help a lot of children in the school and hospital . Amazing !! Host family was so adorable, helped me out with a lot of stuffs. I could practise a lot of my Spanish and english. I met there The others volunteers from USA and Portugal they were so funny and kind to me, i was able to share with them my culture of brazil, teach a little bit of Portuguese and so many other things. At the last 3 days in Cuzco i met my parents so we went to Laguna Humantay and Machu Pichu.It was actually one of the best moments of my life, got to know a lot of the culture in Cuzco(Peru). Could help a lot of children in the school and hospital . Amazing !! Host family was so adorable, helped me out with a lot of stuffs. I could practise a lot of my Spanish and english. I met there The others volunteers from USA and Portugal they were so funny and kind to me, i was able to share with them my culture of brazil, teach a little bit of Portuguese and so many other things. At the last 3 days in Cuzco i met my parents so we went to Laguna Humantay and Machu Pichu

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready to improve your english/spanish language
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Yes, I recommend this program

Having a volunteer trip in South Africa was stunning! Meeting new people and especially teaching kids has made me be a better person than I was before. Knowing a new culture and being with lovely children was really kind and special! It’s hard to explain and I guarantee it was one of the best choices and experiences of my life!
Certainly, when I decided to go to South Africa I had some expectations but they were totally exceeded, being a volunteer in other countries brings new learnings, new challenges and a lot of love! South Africa was a wonderful choice and I strongly recommend this experience! If you are open to learning a new culture, with respect, empathy and if you are able to give your best to them, you will notice a big transformation in your life and in your heart.

What was your funniest moment?
When I got the daycare children, all of them gave me a hug!
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Yes, I recommend this program

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Brazil, firstly Felipe, who Coordinated the trip was FANTASTIC. He greeted me at the airport with a smile and throughout the trio went the extra mile. For example, the first night, he took me to a small gathering where there was live music. This was not included in the programme but is an example of Florida Felipe going above and beyond and genuinely putting your experience at the top of his priority lists. There are several other examples, but the word count won't allow me to write to them all.
I felt my programme was tailored to me and what I wanted to get out of Rio. The city is fantastic, and the accommodation and other people on the programme were great. I miss Rio! Thank you to everyone who made my experience!

What would you improve about this program?
I have no clue what I would improve! I felt the programme had an individual feel to it both Felipe and Virginia advised me on places to eat, drink and have fun.
Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Dear Caius,
It was our pleasure and blessing to receive you in Rio. You made us all cry when we saw you teaching children how to play the piano in the Santa Marta community. You are a prince, you made all of us so touched and happy with your classes at Santa Marta. You made Virginia my assistant cry teaching the small Moises to play the piano.

Yes, I recommend this program

Felipe, who runs this programme with his heart and soul, is incredible and inspiring. From the moment we first enquired about volunteering, right through to our departure, he answered all our questions, looked after our every need and was totally there to give us the best possible experience. There aren't many options for one week volunteering but he was able to create a programme that fitted each of us perfectly, (from football to capoiera on the sports programme to childcare and community support) and made sure that we got what we wanted out of each day. We are under no illusions about having changed the world, but he did enable us and those that we met and worked with, to have some meaningful and beneficial encounters that will certainly stay with us, long after our trip is over.
And it was also good to know, that the fees go directly to those locally on the ground, not to some large international organisation.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
As a family, we weren't looking for a social scene so were very happy in the local B&B. I recommend checking every detail of your needs and expectations with Felipe beforehand to make sure it is the right volunteering programme for you, and Felipe will do everything possible to make sure it is.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Dr. Emmanuel Ehiwe

Dr. Emmanuel is a consultant sonographer and public health practitioner living in Birmingham, England. He served in different NHS Hospitals and currently teaches public health with health and social care courses in higher education colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He works as a clinical instructor for reproductive health (maternal and child) ultrasound program for obstetricians and gynecologists.

Dr. Emmanuel Ehiwe

Why did you choose this program?

I was inspired to undertake this program as part of the need to give back and contribute to human development and society. My experience of working and providing care to patients gave me the inspiration to meet obvious gaps in practice and level of medical training among youths who are future leaders of the African continent.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program organizers provided me the forum to meet with some youths who are members of the indigenous communities in Addis Ababa. They helped with local arrangements of lodging and accommodation, as well as guidance on moving around the city of Addis. The organizers also provided me with the training environment.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One piece of advice I would give to anyone considering this program is to be very open minded and prepare to meet new people. This is because I found the Ethiopian community locals to be friendly and warm towards volunteers and tourists. I would also advise that you make detailed enquiries about the specific roles and duties you would be involved in before you set out for the program.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day in the program was filled with one tutoring activity or the other. A typical day involved helping the kids review their school home work and getting involved in one public health advocacy seminar or the other in the evenings. Each workshop focused on teaching the youths life saving skills in emergency situations where there is no doctor. We also worked on learning first aid treatments for common injuries and accidents amongst other things.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I did not really have any fears or negative expectations before setting out for this program. This was because I knew and read from the web that Ethiopia is a peace loving and friendly country, particularly when you stay and work within the capital city of Addis Ababa. I had planned and limited my visit to this part of the country.

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Priscila Tufani Carneiro

Job Title
children in music class

Priscila, tell us about your role with Iko Poran.

I work for Iko Poran with marketing, working on the company online campaigns and with partners around the world. In addition, I have also worked in the past as a volunteer coordinator in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I now live with my family in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) and the US (Austin, TX) promoting Iko Poran.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Traveling has always been a passion for me. Since I had my first international experience when I was seventeen years old, I knew that was only the beginning. Being able to see different places, learn a new language and a new culture has become one of my greatest passions. I want to be able to pass this on to my son, who is already learning two languages and is half Brazilian and half American.

One of the trips that has impressed me the most was going to Cuzco, Peru. What an amazing place to visit! Not only is the nature stunning, but also the architecture and the history are so rich and beyond what words can express.

Even though I was born in a neighboring country, it's like being on the other side of the planet. It's so different from Brazil and that's what makes South America such an interesting place. There's so much diversity!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Change is the key word for someone that is looking for a volunteer abroad experience. Working as a volunteer in a different country is the most rewarding experience if you are looking to understand and learn a new culture from a local perspective. Change is inevitable!

On my side, as a volunteer coordinator, I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and to get to know and understand the reality of my own city better through projects in low-income communities in Rio.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

After working so many years for Iko Poran I have had the pleasure to follow the personal growth of so many volunteers that went on this adventure with an open heart. It's really hard to pick one single story. But the one that lingers in my head is the relationship made by a volunteer and his project that last until today.

This volunteer worked on a project in Rio for 6 months and had the chance to bring the artists from the project to have an exhibit in his own country. They all got to share and experience each other's country and culture.

This, for me, is the base of volunteerism. Sharing experiences and cultural values and bringing people together.

There are no life savers, but human beings that travel the world with an open heart to connect and share. It should be a win-win situation and this genuine exchange experience between the volunteers and the projects is what makes the program successful for everyone.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

As I mentioned I love traveling and learning about new cultures. I already had the chance to travel around South and North America and Europe.

I would love to go to Asia next and Nepal would be a dream come true. There is so much I don't know about Asia and I feel that would be the ideal destination at this point in my life. Not only because of its natural wonders but also because of the spiritual side and its people.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

The first time I heard about Iko Poran I was very impressed with the idea of having international volunteers working in low-income communities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I had never heard of traveling as a volunteer before this. At that moment I knew I wanted to work with this organization and be part of this very special group of people.

Iko Poran is one of the few organizations based in a third world country that also receives volunteers locally. Dealing with the daily challenges but also having a deeper understanding of what is to be an international volunteer.

Aside from matching volunteers with different projects around the world, we get to see the whole process very close and we are able to help the volunteers at a higher level. We do understand the challenges and the rewards of what is to be an international volunteer.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I have always thought that success meant hard work. A company that promotes volunteer programs around the world needs more than just that. We work in an extremely sensitive and unique type of business.

People that apply for programs like ours are willing to donate their time and skills to create a positive impact in a different country. The projects also open doors to those in search of help, but also to warmly welcome the volunteer into their lives and community.

We need to make sure the projects and volunteers are not just numbers and treat them on an individual basis with our constant help and support to make sure they have the best experience.

When people choose to be a volunteer they come full of hopes that their presence will create a positive impact. The biggest interest for us as a facilitator should be to help them achieve their goal. Not only finding a good place/fit for them but also making sure they have the right expectations.

The projects also need our support to understand what to expect and how to better work with international volunteers. Promoting win-win experiences is our main goal.

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