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

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

About

IKPVA offers a wide range of affordable, safe and meaningful volunteer projects in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Our variety of programs includes Teaching, Childcare, Community Development, NGO Support, Construction, Environment Protection, Animal Conservation, Sports, Arts & Design, Medical/ Health Promotion and many special projects to match all skills and interests. Visit our website and apply online, we will answer you within 2 working days max.

Iko Poran is the only Volunteer Abroad organization based in a developing country respectively in a destination country, and also, Iko Poran is the only one that runs its own projects. We have 15 years experience and have received and coordinated thousands of volunteers.

We have created an international network to offer a wide range of possibilities for volunteers all over the world to help and contribute in the most affordable way. Our Mission is to help you leave our mark in the World!

Founded
2002
Headquarters

Rua Prefeito João Felipe, 571/ 101
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro-RJ
20251-140
Brazil

Reviews

Default avatar
Patrícia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Iko Poran opened us the door for an amazing volunteering experience. Through this institution we met AII Group that is a local volunteering institution in India.

Our volunteering experience was remarkable. We had the opportunity to teach English to children from 4 to 13 years old. They were very kind and interested in learning new contents and games. Despite we have previously planned in detail our classes, we had huge support from the AII Group in regard to teaching contents and translations. Also, the school Director and teachers were very kind and supportive. In our last day at school, both the school Director and AII group were so lovely in surprising us with a delicious farewell cake! Here we learned that it is important to teach children new English contents but also play and enjoy time with them, because they love the experience of knowing someone from a different culture.

During our journey in India (Jaipur), we stayed in a host family house, which allowed us to be even closer to the Indian culture.

The food in Jaipur is very tasty but highly spicy. When we ate in local restaurants we carefully selected less spicy food. At home, spicy quantity was carefully adapted, since we were not used to it.

AII Group provided us with a Hindi basics class that was really helpful during our stay, both to interact with locals and students.

We would like to thank Iko Poran for providing us access to this amazing experience and total support during the planning phase.

Last but not least, we would like to thank AII Group for supporting us during our stay in India and for having made its best efforts to providing us with the most amazing experiences.

Patrícia de Oliveira & Rui Falhas
Lisbon, Portugal

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
- When staying in a host family’s house, spend some of your time with the family. On the one hand, it is what the family is expecting from you; on the other hand, it improves a lot the whole experience by allowing you and the family to share your habits and experiences;

- The day schedule does not occur as in Europe or other countries where punctuality is mandatory. Do not take it personally if the breakfast at your host family house is not prepared on time agreed or the cabs take more time than you expect to arrive (or are not available). It will happen you to arrive late to your meetings or volunteer activity. But remember that everyone in India knows that for several reasons and constraints you will arrive late several times.

- In India, water is a precious resource. You will see people on the streets with a small water container, which is all the water they have for the whole day. Make an effort to show your respect by avoiding waste. It is a good lesson to learn and to transfer to our countries, since social and environmental responsibility is crucial.

- Try to learn Hindi basics so you can easily interact with students and locals.
Default avatar
Gary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with Iko Poran in Rio was a great decision - I had a fantastic 12 weeks in this amazing city. I helped the Grande Rio samba school with carnival preparations and taught English in a community in the west of the city. I met some fantastic people and made many new friends. I found that being a volunteer enabled me to discover more of the real Rio and its people in a way that I couldn’t have done as a tourist.

The organiser, Felipe, is incredibly helpful and does everything he can to ensure you have a great time. He’s also a big Botafogo fan and I watched two matches with him at the Olympic Stadium, which was brilliant. The support offered by Iko Poran in general is very high quality and the programme was brilliant value for money. I’m thinking of doing more volunteering and I will definitely go with Iko Poran again.

Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Dear Gary,
It was a great pleasure to receive such a hardworking volunteer and a nice person like you.
You will always be very welcome in Rio de Janeiro and in any of our programs.
Best wishes!!

Default avatar
Camilla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fui voluntária em uma creche com crianças de 0 a 6 anos em Masiphumelele, um subúrbio em Fish Hoek - Cape Town. A maior parte do tempo trabalhei com as crianças de 5 a 6 anos, as quais em casa foram alfabetizadas no idioma Khosa, e na escola aprendem inglês. Então, nós voluntários ensinamos elas as formas, as cores, os números, e entre outras coisas básicas em inglês. Além da alfabetização brincamos muitos, damos abraços, colo, carinho, dançamos e cantamos. É muito divertido e gratificante, uma experiência única e difícil de explicar apenas com palavras. Meu coração se multiplicou!
Morei em uma casa com mais vários voluntários do mundo todo, conheci e fiz muitos amigos. Além disso, a região é lindíssima e possui muitos lugares para visitar, aventuras e comidas para experimentar.
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I volunteered in a creche with children of 0 to 6 years old in Masiphumelele, a Township in Fish Hoek - Cape Town. Most of the time I worked with children from 5 to 6 years old, who at home would speak a language called Khosa, and at school they learn English. So, the volunteers teach them the shapes, colors, numbers, and among other basic things in English. In addition to literacy we play a lot, give hugs, lap, care, dance and sing. It is very fun and rewarding, a unique experience and difficult to explain with just words. My heart has multiplied!
I lived in a house with more volunteers from all over the world, I met and made many friends. Moreover, the region is beautiful and has many places to visit, adventures and food to try.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to volunteer de maximum of time you can. Just 1 or 2 weeks is not enough! All the volunteers I met that only went for a short time were sad they didn't stayed for longer. So what recommend that is the perfect amount of time is staying for 1 month. The time will pass so fast that you will not even notice. I know it's hard because you think you will miss your family and friends a lot, but you will make so many new friends in your new home, will go to so many adventures that the time will fly!
Default avatar
Emmanuel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great experience volunteering and working with children of the Ethiopian Education Foundation (EEF). It was a grand experience coaching the youths on the basics of health and wellbeing lifestyle initiatives. Everyone involved learnt and practiced basic CPR and resuscitation techniques to save lives in emergency situations where there is no doctor. The students learned how to handle and respond to various forms of first aid treatments for common accidents. It was also a pleasant experience as various groups explored how to recognize and manage signs of worms, diarrhoea and dehydration in children. The youths loved it as much as I did as they also helped in showing me around the local places of relaxation at the weekends. Would relish an opportunity to work with the staff and organising team again as they made my experience a fantastic one.

I would recommend Iko Poran and EEF to anyone who would like to consider volunteering in Ethiopia.

What would you improve about this program?
More advertisement to make people aware of the good work you are doing in Ethiopia
Read my full story
Default avatar
Albane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 6 weeks on Cusco,, in Perou, as a volunteer in a college with down syndrom children. All they were aged between 15 and 17years old.
The experience was very special, challenging, and so interesting and valuable.
At the beginning, it deals more to obtain credibility and confidence from students, who can be distant when they dont know you.
After, it deals with managing the spécial needs of each of them, at the same Time. I have a 10children class, and all of them had very different level of handicap. It was so constructive and passioning to do that !!! Adapt to each children to make it improve and feel good.
They were very happy and artistic children, always speaking, or laughing, playing, or for some others singing and dancing. I laughed so much with them 🤗😂

And meeting familles, mums of my students, I really met amazing persons!

I was living with a family in Cusco, which allowed me to become bilingual, speaking spanish all time. You need to speak some spanish at least in this kind of volunteering, its as useful in the family as well as at work.
My family was so lovely, always helping and advising me about my trips, and telling me stories. You will eat all the Amazing peruvian dishes like cevicheeee !
I shared a lot with them, I definitely had the feeling to have a second family. Its a way to be perfectly immerged in the peruvian culture, it's the best one!!!!
Thank you very much for all the persons I met which fully marked my volunteering.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews 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

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

Priscila Tufani Carneiro

Job Title
Marketing
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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