Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Program Reviews

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Michael Antonio
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Voluntariado na Africa do Sul

A frase que começo meu depoimento é: "As definições de amor foram atualizadas". Fiz uma promessa de que viria para Masiphumelele com os braços e coração abertos.
Só que um dos meus maiores medos era de como essa experiência mexeria comigo e que não voltaria o mesmo. Assim, após que o voluntariado acabou, posso garantir que uma parte do meu coração sempre vai pertence a esse lugar. Essas crianças são maravilhosas.

Obrigado Masiphumelele e obrigado Iko Poran pela oportunidade, foi uma experiência incrível.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
O Verdade significado de Ubuntu! Generosidade, solidariedade, compaixão com os necessitados e o desejo sincero de felicidade e harmonia entre os seres humanos.
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James
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What a great and touching experience!

My wife and I spent two weeks with the EEF family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Staying together with the students at the EEF hostel made everything even more intense and special. 

Once they were back from school, our daily sessions with the kids would begin. We had the opportunity to help them with English, as well as their homework in whatever subject they needed support. We also had great discussions about global affairs, financial planning and life in university, as well as exciting trivias about topics like Brazil and Africa, which they enjoyed a lot. We even had the chance to help some of the students with their application essays for university. Now our fingers are crossed for them. ;)

During the weekend we were invited to visit one of the kid’s home and get in touch with the family and local neighborhood. Another special occasion was the Ethiopian Christmas, celebrated on January 7th, which we had the opportunity to share with some of the kids. An unique celebration with traditional food, dance and coffee ceremony. Moments which we will never forget!

We thank both EEF and Iko Poran to have made it possible. Iko Poran team (Felipe in special) was very supportive since the very first contact. The EEF program managers in Addis (Alice and Giulio) made everything possible for us to get the most out of this experience. 

What would you improve about this program?
Don’t worry too much before arriving there. You will certainly be helpful and the EEF managers are also there to help tailor the activities to the students’ needs. ;)
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Alessandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing!

Foi a experiência mais intensa que já vivi na vida. Por mais que as fotos e vídeos retratem os momentos, a verdade é que só você vivenciou tudo aquilo. Cada olhar afetuoso, cada sorriso genuíno, cada abraço sincero. A experiência te preenche e te faz perceber que se doar a quem precisa é uma das coisas mais gratificantes da vida. E acima de tudo, descobre que fazer uma criança sorrir, te faz sorrir mil vezes mais. Se você tiver a oportunidade de conhecer uma cultura completamente diferente da que você vive, não pense duas vezes... Vá!  E acredite, você vai voltar transformado. Eu espero ter feito por essas crianças pelo menos um pouco do que elas fizeram por mim. Porque honestamente, nada que eu faça ou tenha feito será suficiente pra retribuir todo o amor que eu recebi.

What was your funniest moment?
Dançar músicas locais com as crianças, elas tem uma energia e um gingado surreal. Foi muito divertido!
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Joshua
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cidade De Deus/City Of God

There are very few words I have to describe what I experienced during my time in Rio. From the crazy, but amazing brazilian population, to the hands-down best food in the world, to the amazingly juxtaposed scenery. Rio was something else. Crazy Night life, intriguing museums, stunning street art, mouth-watering restaurants, breathe-taking beaches. YES PLEASE.
The program itself is an amazing way to show you a glimpse of the beautiful, but tragic story of Brazil's Favelas. On one side we have the breathe taking beaches of Ipanema and Copocabana, and literally in their backyards we see hundreds of favelas. The borders are non-existent.
During my time, I was able to go to these Favelas, and not only help people out and do all that good stuff. But I was able to connect. Really connect. Familiarize myself with their situation. Each favela is a Micro-society in itself. Each with its own stores, own restaurants, own kids, own problems. If you spend enough time there, you get to truly see how these people live. How they cope. How they suffer. How they enjoy life, regardless of their circumstances. Its beautiful.

The kids are a joy to work with. Life is much easier if you can communicate with them, so i highly recommend learning some Portuguese. Everyone appreciates it. Plus the kids find it fun seeing gringos try and talk to them ;) You'll have tons of fun playing football everyday, and you'll very quickly pick up how eager everyone is to play, regardless of age, gender or skill level. Football is Brazil's National Religion. Get used it.
All's fun and games, however, being in that environment you can't help but notice the social poverty that exists. Many kids do have problems at home, or school, or even with themselves. But that's why the football program is such a wonderful tool. It helps these kids not only relieve themselves of Society's issues, but also teaches them how to deal with it.

Carlao, the project manager, is a hard-working, fun and honest man. Well respected in his community, Carlao spends his days working with the kids, and his nights playing in his Pagode group. I couldn't have asked for a better person to help me during my time there. Tamo Junto mano.

Felipe, the head of Iko Poran, was always there for myself and the other volunteers. Very easy to talk to, Felipe always did his best to help us get around both efficiently and safely. I knew we were always in good hands. I never felt shy or worried to ask him any questions. He would also go out of his way to make sure we enjoyed our stay there. Often he would invite us to different activities taking place, or show us the best restaurants around. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity Felipe!

Overall, I wouldn't trade the experience I had in Rio for anything. Not a moment goes by where i don't think about my time there. I long to go back to see those kids and play football for hours on end. Great friendships were made, many of which i still have right now. If you're reading this and still contemplating if you should go or not, DO IT. You're Welcome

PS: If you don't speak Portuguese and someone starts talking to you, just smile, nod your head, and say " Valeu" (pronounced VAH-LE-OH). Just youtube it, You'll be alright ;)

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Sometimes you can feel lost, or not very useful. This isn't because they don't appreciate your presence, its just that most times the days activities are decided upon on the spot. There isn't an extreme amount of planning. However, Its very encouraging if you have something prepared before-hand. E.g) a sessions on just possession play, or teaching them hoe to keep the ball better, or even another game such as dodge-ball. Putting in some effort shows you care, and that goes a long way. Everyone is open to new ideas. Don't be scared!
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Rio
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Experience Like No Other!

I took part in teaching English at the Centro Social e Cultural Tatiane Lima over a 10 week period, as well as getting my hands dirty replanting trees, mending and creating pathways in the Tijuca Rainforest. Needless to say this was an amazing experience as a student studying anthropology & sociology, as it has given me greater cultural and societal insights into Brazil. Moreover, on a personal level the 11 weeks I stayed in Brazil were positively life changing and were boosted by Felipes support throughout - I am especially thankful for the connections I made through Felipe as he connected me to a wonderful Portuguese tutor, hostel/English teachers/rainforest volunteers and gave me a great tour of the city. The accommodation is relatively safe given the city, I stayed there for 10 weeks and was never fearful of my belongings being stolen, the staff there speak multiple languages which makes this experience accessible for people from many different backgrounds. Obviously extra precaution must be taken whilst in Brazil including not being flashy and being aware of your surroundings, however, the people and areas I was introduced to by Felipe were beautiful, kind and high spirited people only willing to introduce me to their culture. However, the relative precautions which must be take do not detract from the cities night life, culture and fun and I recommend for any prospective volunteers reading this to consider striking a balancing between immersing into the culture and volunteering as this is an amazing opportunity which has to be embraced 360 to get the real Carioca feel!

As the director of the programme Felipe is was very helpful, encouraging and understanding and helped me get acquainted to the culture more quickly and get around. His openness in sharing his story and the development of the organisation is also inspiring . Lastly, as a student this was an amazing experience to practice ethnographic work for the first time in a completely other culture which is invaluable - I urge students in general to consider this as a cost effective option to garner more work experience to not only immerse yourself and study but to add to your resume.

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Sangweon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

EEF Korean Volunteer- Sangweon

For me as a 14 years old high school kid, it was certainly one of the best experience in my life. The staff members at hostal are very committed in helping the students. In my opinion, the students are in a very good environment to study and achieve their careers considering the amount of money the community have. This 2 weeks have been such a pleasure as it reminded me of my selfishness (of thats a word) because I was used to waste water and time. The students in the hostal weren't fortunate enough to receive the same education which I had. However, their effort and interest in learning really suprised me. On the other hand a lot of my friends (including me) have so much better education but still never takes the oppertunity.
I think the hostel is just a wonderful oppertunity for the students to success in life. The EEF Community provides so much oppertunity to students. Furthermore, unlike other older volunteers, everyone was older then me so just from that, I could learn more about just general life. A lot of students had a clear path to their career and in comparison, a lot of people in my school never even thinks about it.
Honestly, these 2 weeks will not be forgetable as it made me grow up so much more. I think everyone on the world should be inspired by the students of EEF Community. I want to stay in contact with all students and truely wish the best of best of the best of the best luck to every students in their bright careers!😁 I thank everyone for this amazing oppertunity!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
This experience is speechless (I am not trying to advertise it 😂). But it really is. You will get to know the truth of the world. And I am not talking about those poor looking African kids in TVs. Some are better and some are worse. I would say it is different. I am only 14 and my family (except my mum) stayed over for around 10 days. It would be a little challenging for womens because it really is a hard environment. But that is really why you would decide to come.
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Lorenz
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best volunteering experience ever

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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Felipe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience in Cusco- Peru

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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Melissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My volunteer trip in South Africa

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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Caius
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 2 weeks of my life!

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.