Truly the Most Affordable Program in Brazil from $400/2 weeks

Video and Photos

English class
English class
English class
English class
Football equipment bought through donations.
Football equipment bought through donations.
Children from Seeda's centre
Children from Seeda's centre
Seeda who runs a day care centre for kids from a favela
Seeda who runs a day care centre for kids from a favela
A drum bought through donations for a local caporia school.
A drum bought through donations for a local caporia school.
Stationary bought through donations.
Stationary bought through donations.

About

Iko Poran offers a wide range of safe, affordable and responsible volunteer programs in Rio de Janeiro. These include Teaching, Childcare, Child Development, Community Development, Environmental Protection, Sports Development, Arts & Design, and a special program preparing costumes for the big Carnival parade. We have the perfect volunteer project that matches your skills and interests.

- Start dates: 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month
- Programs can last from 1 to 24 weeks
- You have Fridays and weekends off to relax and explore
- You receive an orientation covering the culture of Brazil and a tour of the city
- Programs with 4 weeks or more include a free 20 hours Portuguese course
- You’ll be joining the best-rated voluntary organization in Brazil with 17 years experience
- Ours is the most affordable program & registration fee in Brazil!
- Recognized as a Public Interest Organization since 2007

Apply today for the best travel experience

Highlights
  • We believe that volunteering shouldn’t cost the earth. Registration fee is only $ 149 and program fees start at only $400 for two weeks
  • We are the only international volunteering organization to be based in a developing country that also runs its own projects. Most providers are profit-making travel companies based in First World nations.
  • We are non-profit – fees received cover our costs and help us to achieve our mission by contributing to local programs. You pay the program fee directly to the local organization (in Brazil, this is Iko Poran)
  • You take part in programs developed and operated by local partner organizations and their respective community councils
  • We focus on providing a good experience for you - welcome, orientation, accommodation, placement and ongoing support.

Questions & Answers

Hi Sabrina, Thank you for your interest in our programs. You can find detailed information about the fees on the Brazil's webpage and also on the Fees webpage of our website. Please feel free to ask any other questions you have. We are always happy to help :)

Hi Sabrina, Thank you for your message. The sooner you start the application process the better. First because you will secure your placement in our highest tourist season (summer on the Northern Hemisphere), and also because you will receive our pre-departure material, including fundraising guides, that can help you cover the expenses of your trip. The program fee is due only 30 days before the...

Nowadays we only use a hostel and a volunteer house. Last July we had 25 volunteers at a time, 10 at the house and 15 at the hostel. They are both located in Santa Teresa neighborhood and volunteers usually do things together.

Reviews

95%
based on 45 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 15 of 45
Default avatar
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!
Default avatar
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.

Default avatar
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.
Default avatar
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.

Rebecca
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Making meaningful memories

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.
Default avatar
Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing project.

I spent summer 20018 with this program. This is an amazing project to be part of in every sense.

The accommodation was fantastic, and all the logistics, such as airport pick-up and so on were seamless. The orientation was fantastic - learning about the city, getting around, as well as receiving excellent training. The staff at the school were very supportive and friendly. And, the teaching was a lot of fun as well as rewarding. You really felt like you were helping. I was really well supported throughout my time in Rio, and felt so welcomed by the organization. There is a great atmosphere between the volunteers, and it was great socialise and learn about their projects too. Also, Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city.

The program is excellent value for money and I would definitely recommend this project to anyone.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take the opportunity to visit lots of the different attractions in Rio de Janeiro, and close by. There are many museums, beaches and things to do.
Default avatar
Gary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great experience in Rio

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
Alejandro
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A marvelous, eye-opening experience

I had the oportunity to participate in a volunteer program with Iko Poran in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
I was an english teacher for kids in a comunity. I had an excelent oportunity to learn about languages, people and new cultures as well as the one to help people and build a better future. The programs that the organization has are very fun and you really feel that you are helping.
The support that the members give you is great and i would like to congratulate Felipe, who really makes you feel like at home and trully fights with all his hearth to change the present and future of communities all around the world.
This was an amazing experience and i higly recommend it for everyone who feels that he wants to help and learn.

What would you improve about this program?
Contact with bigger organizations to whom give the services
Default avatar
Nathab
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely amazing

Would highly recommend this. The people, culture, activities, and experiences will last a lifetime. I talk about them every day to this day. Felipe and his family are such amazing people. We participated in a capoeira class with a blind teacher who changed my life forever, played soccer with amazing children from the favelas to keep them away from drugs and violence, and of course enjoyed everything the beautiful country has to offer. don’t let the news fool you - Brazil is one of the most beautiful countries we have ever been to. Of course you need to be smart and safe but that applies everywhere you are in the world! The culture and people are one of a kind and so much fun.

What would you improve about this program?
It’s perfect!
Default avatar
Armando
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Solid

The people at Iko Poran are really helpful as they stay with you every step of the way. They give you all of the info that you need so that everything goes smoothly. They also keep in close contact with you throughout the experience to make sure that you make the most out of your trip. Not sure how many groups they work with at a time, but they were still able to see us and check in on us everyday. The staff is also very friendly.

Lisa
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with children in Rio de Janeiro

Iko Poran do an amazing job at putting you into contact with local communities and projects that need support. The work these projects do are extremely important in these communities and it was a privilege to be able to help with it. Everybody i worked with was very friendly and accommodating. I highly recommend others to pursue a volunteer project and believe it is just as beneficial to the individual as to the community you are working with.

What would you improve about this program?
The one thing that i think could be improved is the organisation putting all the volunteers into contact with each other, as it can help with acclimatising to new places by having others to explore the area with.
Jefrin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

UCONN MHS Review

I had a great time in Rio learning about the culture and building relationships with the people in the Engenho de Rainha community. I worked with talented, passionate and hardworking health professionals who were willing to help and answer questions at all times. I really enjoyed being immersed in the community and learning about all aspects of the healthcare system in Rio de Janeiro in particular including the many challenges. This was an unforgettable experience I would highly recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
More hands on activities in the clinic.
Isabella
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience!

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone. It was fun, educational, and a new experience. We met so many people who love and care about others. The state of Rio was beautiful and we had a decent amount of free time to sight see. The program leaders were super friendly and they gave a lot of information on how to get around Rio. Overall, we made new friendships and dove into a new culture. This was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
Provide transportation.
Default avatar
Bob
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rio de Janeiro 2017

I spent the month of October working with Iko Poran in Rio de Janeiro on projects teaching English, Art, and Dance. I met some wonderful people, some of whom will hopefully remain friends forever. It was good to make a difference, even for a short while, to the lives of people who in some cases have so little. But what they may lack in resources they make up for many times in their enthusiasm for learning. I was able to contribute on a number of programmes and I think the more adaptable you are, the more you will get out of the experience. Rio de Janeiro is an amazing place, not without its problems, and you do have to take care travelling around, however one of the best aspects of the experience for me was being able to live almost like a local, travelling miles on the rattling buses, eating very economically in “local” restaurants, really feeling a part of the community. You just would not get that coming as a tourist. A tourist will get to know places....a volunteer will get to know people!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked a brief sheet with information for the projects.
Address, contact details, history of the project, website if there was one, just to be as familiar as possible before getting struck in. Also some projects are quite far away and the prospect of getting lost was always there, although it didnt happen.
Default avatar
Nate
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A brief stint in Rio

In June of 2017, I was given the opportunity to teach English as a volunteer in an informal community outside of Rio de Janeiro. Unfamiliar with Portuguese and inexperienced in teaching, I was very nervous to enter this new environment in an attempt to make a difference in the students' lives. I was unsure if I could make any difference at all, given I did not speak Portuguese and had never taught English as a second language to others. However, my initial unsettledness proved to be wrong and misplaced. I left the program with my desire to teach reaffirmed, some new friends, and a very fulfilling experience. Despite the language barrier between me and the staff at the placement and some of the students, I was proud of being able to reach them and teach English, be it simply introducing themselves or having a complex political discussion. Most importantly, however, I forged relationships with some of my students who I know I will never forget and who I promised I will visit on my next trip to Brazil. I strongly recommend the trip to anyone who hopes to teach at some point in their lives and to anyone who wants to work with people in a meaningful way.

What would you improve about this program?
I think a better structure of the class would improve the program. There should be a clear list of subjects covered in the past and a trajectory for the future so a new teacher understands what material they should cover. Even if there is a new student, it would be useful for the volunteer to know the most effective order to teach English topics.
Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Dear Nate,
We are so happy to hear that you had a meaningful experience in Rio. I am sure many volunteers feel the same way you did (nervous) in the beginning of their experience. Mainly because of the language barrier. Believe me, the language is not a barrier. I've seen people with no portuguese skills make lifetime memories as volunteers and people with great language skills that didn't succeed on their projects. Of course the language can help but by no means is what will decide how your volunteer program turns out. We are so happy you took this challenge and made lifetime memories and friends. It's a great idea to keep a record of what past volunteer have taught and a more structured way of teaching English. Thank you so much for volunteering with us.
We wish you all the best!