Most Affordable & Best Rated Programs in Brazil - Fees starting from $ 400 for 2 weeks
95% Rating
(32 Reviews)

Most Affordable & Best Rated Programs in Brazil - Fees starting from $ 400 for 2 weeks

Iko Poran offers a wide range of safe, affordable and responsible volunteer programs in Rio de Janeiro. Our variety of programs includes Teaching, Childcare, Child Development, Community Development, Environment (really, not a garden) Protection, Sports Development, Health Promotion, Arts & Design, NGO Development and a special program preparing costumes to 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
- Volunteers have Fridays off to relax and explore around in long weekends
- Volunteers receive an orientation covering the culture of Brazil and also a tour in the area
- Programs with 4 weeks of more have a free 20 hours Portuguese course
- Best rated organization in Brazil with 14 years experience
- Most affordable program and registration fee in Brazil!
- Recognized as a Public Interest Organization since 2007

Main differentiators to other companies operating in this field:
  • Volunteerism should not be expensive for the ones with good hearts that want to lend a hand.
  • Only international volunteer organization based in a developing country that also runs its own developing projects. Most of other providers are profit-oriented traveling companies based in First World nations.
  • We are not targeting any surplus revenues. All money charged is used to further achieve our mission and contribute to our local programs
  • Volunteers pay their program fee directly to the local organization.
  • Volunteers partake in projects developed and operated by local partner organizations and their respective community councils.
  • Volunteers have a unique experience of by actively participating in developing communities for a fairer world while creating a rich personal opportunity for cultural exchange.
  • They have the chance to experience Brazil from a community perspective.
  • Iko Poran caters to an increasing demand for better logistics in the reception, lodging, transportation and allocation of international volunteers who wish to perform in social development projects in Brazil.
Highlights
  • Volunteerism should not be expensive for those want to lend a hand.
  • Only international volunteer organization based in a developing country. Other providers are profit-oriented travel companies based in First World nations.
  • Free 20h Portuguese course to help you get the most put of your program for volunteers staying 4 weeks or more.
  • Volunteers receive a cultural orientation + city tour upon arrival.
  • Most affordable program and registration fees! Program fees starting at only $400 for 2 weeks
Locations
South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Timeframe
Year Round
Housing
Apartment
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$260.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
What is included in the program fee:
Airport pickup, orientation, accommodation, meals are included in most of the programs (please check the description of your chosen program), support from the office staff, program supervision, in-country 24/7 support throughout your program, in-country administration costs and donation to support your local projects.

Questions & Answers

Nowadays we 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.

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    88%
  • Support
    93%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Value
    95%
  • Safety
    88%

Program Reviews (32)

Default avatar
Bob
Male
60 years old
Scotland
Other

Rio de Janeiro 2017

8/10

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!

How can this program be improved?

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
Male
Rio de Janeiro
Kenyon College

A brief stint in Rio

9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

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

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!

Default avatar
Alfonso
Male
32 years old
London
Kingston University

Sports Development Programme in Rio - Feb 2017

10/10

I was very happy with my time on the Sports Development Programme. My expectations of Rio were surpassed and I had an amazing time seeing the city, meeting people and doing my volunteer work. The coordinator, Felipe, was very helpful and it was a pleasure to stay with him and his family. The local people who helped with the programmes were really kind, patient and fun to work with.

I would advise future participants to try and learn as much Portuguese as possible before coming to Rio to give you a head start on being able to communicate with the locals. Don't assume that they may speak some English, because many of the locals don't and it will go a long way to show you have made the effort to learn their language. However, you will have lessons from a great teacher who is really patient and friendly. She will help you a lot with whatever level of Portuguese you are currently at and help you improve quickly. I learned a lot from her and really grateful for her time.

The best time to go to Rio to do volunteer work is during carnival. You will have to pay a little bit more, but it is defiantly worth it! The Blocos, parade and weather is amazing! You will have a great time partying and seeing the parade, while helping out with whatever project you choose to do.

My favourite memories are the smiles on people's faces when I bought football equipment and stationary with money raised by friends and work colleagues. I was able to raise £530 in two weeks and would highly recommend raising some money through a donation website, so you can go the extra mile with supporting the locals.

After retuning to London, I now take regular Portuguese classes and use online website to learn as much as possible for when I return - you will want to return... believe me!!!

Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad

Hi Alfonso!
Great to know more about your volunteer experience in Rio. You had the full "carioca" experience. Playing football and enjoying Carnival while helping others. We are so happy to hear that you had an amazing experience and Felipe was a good support and family for you in Brazil. I am sure people at the project were really happy with your donation (equipment). Great work doing fundraising. Ideas and actions that can create such a positive impact on your project. Please keep in touch.
We wish you all the best!
Iko Poran Team

Default avatar
Martina
Female
21 years old
montevideo
Other

3 weeks in Rio

9/10

I spent 3 weeks in Rio volunteering for project Morrinho with Iko Poran last january. It was an amazing experience. The project I worked in was very interesting, and I got to know really nice locals and the way they lived in the favela (that has an amazing view of Rio by the way!). All the volunteers stayed at Felipe’s beautiful house, which was so comfortable and we had a beautiful terrace to get together, have dinner or a few drinks in. Rio de Janeiro is such a vibrant, beautiful and fun city to visit and it’s even better to get to know it with amazing people like the friends I made in the volunteer house. The 3 weeks went by too fast, I wish I could have stayed more time. If you have the time and can afford it, I recommend staying at least 5-6 weeks. I made really good friends there that I really miss and I hope I can go back soon to visit them! I’m definitely considering volunteering for Iko Poran again whenever I have the chance.

Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad

Dear Martina,
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your volunteer experience in Rio. Morrinho is for sure one of the most interesting projects I know and Felipe is a great host. Thank you for choosing Iko Poran.
Just a reminder that you have 50% discount on future registration fees.
We wish you all the best
Iko Poran Team

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Adie
Female
1 year old
LOS ANGELES
University of California- Berkeley

Child Development Program

10/10

I worked on the Child Development program while I was with Iko Poran. The program leader was very creative and open to any ideas I brought. The program did not provide many resources or materials, however I was able to bring whatever I needed to structure activities for the class. Working with the children was definitely challenging and you need to have motivation but it was 100% worth it. The biggest challenge for me was the language barrier, but luckily I was working alongside another girl who could translate for me and in addition I was taking the Portuguese classes offered through Iko Poran (which were amazing).

As for the program itself, I loved that there was always someone there I could contact if I needed anything, but I also had space and I was allowed to be as independent as I wanted. I met lots of amazing and inspiring people through Iko Poran and hopefully I will have a chance to come back and do it again sometime in the future.

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Marcela
Female
28 years old
Santa marta

Child developement program

9/10

I volunteer for 3 weeks in a child development program where i got to work with a group of 10 to 15 children. It was a beutiful experience, because although the project didnt have many material resources, love and hard work were present all the time. My precence and in general volunteer precence is needed to keep up with all the children so its a very rewarding project. Its important that bring ideas to work with the children and to have initiative, the project leader is very open to new ideas, but as everything in life to need to have initiative.
It wasnt easy but it was absolutly worth it.
Ikoporan was very helpful when you need it, but it also lets you be independent which i loved.
I had a very good experience!

Katrijn
Female
23 years old

Child development program in Rio de Janeiro

9/10

I was volunteering in Rio de Janeiro for only two weeks. My plan was to travel afterwards, so that's why I only stayed in Rio for such a long time.
I had a great time! It started by getting picked up by Felipe at the airport, while we were driving to the hostel he explained me a little bit how the program works and what's there to do in Lapa and Santa Teresia. I was volunteering with an Irish Couple and I thought it was really nice so I didn't have to go somewhere by myself.
The volunteering itself was absolutely amazing, we were playing ball games with the children, rope skipping, drawing, we did some painting as well and they loved it! There were around 10 to 20 children each day, I don't know on what it depended if they were coming or not, but mostly it was school I think. The children were between 2 and 14 years old, they could get a bit wild at times, but they were all very sweet and always really excited to see us.

I would definitely recommend this program, but in my opinion, two weeks is way too short! If you can stay longer, do it! It's definitely worth it. Also, try to get some basics in Portuguese, I could already understand and speak a little bit, but sometimes it was very hard because not everyone speaks English and they really do appreciate it if you try.
Rio is an amazing city, I totally fell in love with it! At first I was a little bit scared because everyone told me it's such a dangerous city, but in my opinion it's just like every big city and you should listen to people living there on where you can and where you can not go. I never went out by myself when it was dark and I never felt unsafe, but I think that's mainly because I listened to what Felipe said, like don't behave too much like a tourist, don't take any valuables, etc.

If you're still not convinced, trust me: just go!

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Eric
Male
23 years old
Toronto
University of Waterloo

Wish I was born in Brazil....

10/10

The experience in Brazil was literally one of the best times of my life.... The local citizens as well as fellow international participants made everyday so active and fun.

Being able to volunteer and help out at Tijuca Forest was soo refreshing and calmly. Hearing the birds sing, the monkeys tease, and the trees sway is an experience I wish I could bring with me everyday.... especially to the corporate meeting I'm currently sitting in... lol

All in All, IkoPoran & BRAZIL had it all;
- The people
- The fooooood
- The Acaiii
- The cutest cats
- The most beautiful humans

Coming back for sure!

Default avatar
Harm
Male
54 years old
Amsterdam

Authentic Rio!

9/10

The Olympic and Paralympic Games created special times for Rio, but I also wanted to experience another side of the city. That is why I chose to register for an Iko Poran volunteer program.
I had some concerns about the safety in Rio, but they disappeared soon after I my arrival at the nice hostel in Santa Teresa, conveniently located near to the nightlife scene of Lapa, and the safety tips of the experienced staff of Iko Poran. Doing NGO development for Iko Poran itself I was able to visit several projects they offer in Rio. The fact that there is a lot variation in small scale projects allows volunteers to make a personal contribution.
It was only three weeks, but next to the Games, I will never forget my authentic Rio experience with Iko Poran!

Default avatar
Barbora
Female
21 years old
Prague

Two weeks in Brazil

10/10

My name is Barbora and I am from the Czech Republic. I spent 2 weeks in Rio as a volunteer at an art school Spectaculu. Everything was perfectly organised, when I came, Felipe was waiting for me at the airport and took me to the hostel. I was nicely surprised the hostel was clean and as I was in my room just with volunteers, I did not need to be worried about my things when I was not there. All the people there were very friendly and kind. It was my first experience as a volunteer, first time in Brazil and in a hostel and I am more than happy I chose going there through Iko Poran. During my time in Brazil, I had an amazing time and met dozens of people. It was an amazing opportunity to spent time with locals, much different than just to be a tourist. As I followed the safety rules which Felipe recommended, I did not have any single problem during my stay. Almost nobody speaks English there so it was a great challenge to practise my portuguese and in the end I noticed how much it improved. Although I worked during the week, I still found a lot of time to experience many places in Rio and get to know the people. Felipe was willing to help in every situation and also made time for us to make a barbecue with Brazilian food on the roof of the hostel. I definitely recommend Iko Poran to everybody and wish you a great time! :)

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Junior
Male
24 years old
Los Angeles

I'd Return to Brasil Every Year If I Could...

10/10

Felipe is great at making everyone feel right at home, and the
volunteers alike. I was immediately surrounded by like-minded
individuals who took me in as one of their own, and payed it forward
by welcoming the new volunteers that arrived the weeks following. The
greatest things about Iko Poran is the affordability, the location of
the hostel, the volunteers, and the hostel workers. Rio truly felt
like home within a matter of hours and this experience was the best
thing that ever happened to me.

Default avatar
Emily
Female
23 years old
Richmond Hill

Great Experience in Rio de Janeiro

10/10

I did the environmental program with Iko Poran in Rio de Janeiro and it was a lot of fun. I lived in a hostel with all the other volunteers and we were all able to experience the city together. The program allowed for me to help out in the Tijuca rainforest (urban rainforest surrounding Rio) and a community garden in a favela. This gave me the opportunity to see many different parts of the city and it never got boring. I highly recommend this program, especially because it's so well-priced!

Evan
Male
23 years old
Pretoria, South Africa

Rio de Janeiro Capoeira sports development

10/10

It was an amazing experience ,one that I'll never forget
It was my first time traveling abroad alone , i was met by Felipe the founder of iko poran at the airport , on the way to the hostel in Santa Teresa i was already blown away by Rio's rich colors clear sky and warm sun. The hostel staff and life was amazing they made me feel right at home and I met awesome people there through my whole stay , the fellow volunteers still feels like family to me, I had enough open time to check out other projects out as well and see Rio by myself! The capoeira was traditional style played with a lot of passion and the mestre is very a very inspiring sight, it is safe in Rio if you follow the safety advice given by Felipe ,the people are always positive festive and happy and welcome anyone with a warm heart and open arms, the trip was a life changing experience I recommend it to anyone who needs a break from their current life situation and to enjoy life, smile and breathe and any martial arts fighter or person who has a interest in capoeira or inspired by Brazils rich culture, you will meet friends for life there
Rio and any iko poran project is truly an amazing experience and is the ''full package'' and will deliver you much joy and fill your mind with memories you wont forget!

How can this program be improved?

More insight on what we are hoping to achieve forward can be a huge help!

Destiny
Female
27 years old
Columbia, Tennessee

Environmental Volunteer work in Rio

10/10

Volunteering in Rio with Iko Poran was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I came to Rio to study Sociology abroad but wanted to stay longer in order to further immerse myself in the culture and make a social impact, so I decided to volunteer with Iko Poran for two weeks after my studies were over. I was able to experience the city of Rio more in two weeks with Iko Poran than I was able to in three weeks studying! As a college student, the experience was also a wonderful addition to my resume!

Volunteering with the environmental program gave me the opportunity to see first hand the ecological challenges that Rio faces and make a difference myself while also having the chance to witness the incredible beauty of the city and parks as I was doing it! The work in the park was my favorite part about the program. I was able to work with biologists in the Tijuca Forrest; they were so informative and welcoming! As a college student that is majoring in Mass Communications and Environmental Sciences, the knowledge and experience that I gained while volunteering in Rio is invaluable. I would do it all over again any day given the chance!

I also loved the independence that Iko Poran gave me! I was able to navigate the city by the time I left, communicate with locals, and had made life long friends in my fellow volunteers! I had plenty of time to explore after volunteering and on the weekends so I was able to see many sights and museums while also indulging in the social scene. The Rio Hostel was also wonderful! The employees became friends and the hostel became home!

All in all, I loved my experience with Iko Poran and am so thrilled that I chose to experience Rio with them!

How can this program be improved?

Because I was doing environmental work when it rained my projects got cancelled so finding an alternative for rainy days would be my only suggestion.

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Philip
Male
24 years old
Brussels, Belgium

Great experience

9/10

Volunteering in Rio was one of my best experiences.

Felipe takes care of every volunteer and makes sure we feel well there. Also, the hostel staff is very nice and the Portuguese teacher is lovely, making the classes fun and interactive, even after a hard day of working in the favelas.
Speaking about the work, it was very enriching! If I can give an advice, try to learn some Portuguese before your arrival in order to be able to interact with the people you will work with.

I would encourage anyone to do it because I'm sure you won't regret it and it's a really interesting way to travel!

Default avatar
Jessica
Female
25 years old
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Best Way to Brazil

9/10

If you're looking for the best way to travel to Rio, start with Iko Poran.

I couldn't believe that a program so affordable could go above and beyond my expectations. As a recent college graduate taking a gap-year before graduate school, this was my first trip traveling alone. From the moment I met Felipe and the other program participants, I knew I was in good hands and formed an Iko Poran "family" within just days of arriving.

The program is a good fit for anyone - whether a college student or someone wishing to take a break from their busy career. The program has a good balance between fun and volunteering. I was especially grateful that the program showed me another, equally beautiful, side of Rio that is rarely seen by being a tourist alone. While I may have only been in Rio for a month, I felt that I played an important role at my project simply by devoting time to children who may not always receive the attention necessary for optimal development. I formed friendships with the other staff members and felt so welcome into the project.

Another one of my favorite parts of the program were the Portuguese lessons. I felt that just after one month, I was conversational in Portuguese and could read nearly fluently. I had learned Spanish before, but I was amazed at just how fun and useful the classes were. I never thought I could learn a new language in such a short time!

While the program is definitely more crowded some months of the year (such as over December-January and Carnival), it was nice having a close-knit group of 5-10 volunteers. As another note, safety in Rio is always somewhat a concern, but Iko Poran did all they could in providing valuable safety information.

Overall, I couldn't believe how affordable the program was for all it included. I had previously signed up through other organizations, but Iko Poran is flexible about your arrival date and shows you exactly where your money is going. I would go back in a heartbeat, and I recommend that anyone do the same!

Florence
Female
31 years old
Paris, France
Other

Iko Poran, the best volunteer program in Rio !

10/10

When I signed up to participate in Iko Poran program in July 2015, it was my third stay in Brazil. French but passionate about brazilian culture and fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, I wanted to work in community development, a very common notion in Canada, that doesn’t really exist in France (we have various notions instead : local developement, social work…).

Luis Felipe Murray, the director of Iko Poran, offered me to volunteer in the Reciclação project for three weeks in August. At this time, I didn’t imagine that I would work with a carioca celebrity : Zoraide Francisca Gomes, better known under the name of Cris dos Prazeres, a community activist for over twenty years and founder of the PROA group and, more recently, the Reciclação project, recognized by many cariocas institutions, including UNICEF Brazil.

Context. Founded in 2013, the Reciclação project promotes the sorting of household waste and the environmental education of the Morro dos Prazeres community. This favela located in the hills of Santa Teresa is better known as the setting of the movie Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite). The Morro dos Prazeres is occupied by the police since February 2011, which means that police officers are stationed at the main entrance of the favela 24 hours a day.

Main missions during my three weeks volunteering within the group PROA: organization of activities in support of a childhood immunization campaign organized by the health center. Results: 30 painted children after their vaccine and 10 women with make-up on / Creation of 30 condom dispensers made of plastic bottles and distribution in the social spaces (bars…) of the community / Manual sorting household waste within a team of 5 people after Black Santa, a party attended by more than 5,000 people / Development of posters and messages designed to improve self-esteem of the women of the community / Distribution of leaflets about sorting

Cris, the last mile solution. Beside health promotion activities, Cris works with a wide network of partners. I had the opportunity to participate to several appointments including: a meeting with the local school’s assistant principal who wanted to draw her attention to the difficulties of siblings / A meeting with a member of the merchants association that manages the Saara daily market to identify their labour needs / A workshop on breastfeeding facilitated by one of the members of the PROA group inside the health center / Several meetings with the Mayor’s Representative for downtown Rio and the city’s historic sites, during which she strongly urged that the bus that daily transport the residents of Morro dos Prazeres respect speed limits and adopt a more cautious driving.

Cris, a Black woman who didn’t have the opportunity to stay long in education, impressed me by her charisma, her quick wit and her determination. If you have a level of at least intermediate Portuguese, I would suggest that you take a look at the PROA group.

Diana
Female
49 years old
The Hague, The Netherlands
Other

great experience

9/10

Being in an excellent part of Rio de Janeiro, I stayed with other volunteers in a very nice hostel. My stay was a bit too short, only two weeks, and I participated in Capoeira (which was excellent) and was present at soccer. The warmth of the people struck me the most, even there was a language barrier. And I speak a little portugese also.
I learned how to relax and go with the flow. It was so nice to find people with not a lot of money being so happy. I'm not sure what I brought, but being there with a smiling face was the only thing I did.
I really enjoyed every bit of it!

How can this program be improved?

I prepared some things for the football, but it was of no use.

Default avatar
toti
Male
22 years old
Leeds, Englland

Teaching in Rio

10/10

Rio de Janeiro has an incredible mixture of everything and makes you feel the passion of the city through the variety of activities you can take part on a daily base.

Teaching was still a really positive experience because it was a particular environment and were interacting with diverse backgrounds from financial state to age group. Iko Poran made a great deal of good by organising every detail of the volunteering and took care first of all of safety issues so no one would go away with a bad moment.

I learned hugely in that city, from helpful strangers to friends, everyone that was part of my daily activities were incredibly great people. they do care, if you do to.
Rio is an amazing city, there are more positives than negatives. Find your way there and enjoy your experience!

How can this program be improved?

By getting more and more volunteers involved.

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Ute
Female
37 years old
London, United Kingdom
Other

The best experience of my life

10/10

In summer 2015 I packed my bags and went with the organisation Iko Poran to Rio de Janeiro to teach English in an NGO in a favela called Batan in Rio's West Zone (zona oeste). I had never taught before in my life and I was a bit scared as to what would be expected of me. Luckily I was placed with another volunteer on the project, Charles, and we jumped into the deep end together.

We worked in the "Centro Social e Cultural Tatiane Lima", which had not seen a lot of volunteers teaching English for a long time, so the first few weeks we did a lot of improvised classes, as we could never be sure how many students would turn up or what their level of English would be. After a while word had spread though and after Charles had left, I was able to establish two Basic courses twice a week and one Advanced course once a week with another volunteer, where more or less the same students showed up and we could build on the achievements of the previous weeks.

Teaching itself was always a challenge, but because this was Brazil everything was a lot more relaxed. We had the freedom to do pretty much anything, as long as everybody had fun and would leave class with having learned at least one little thing.
Most of the students were very attentive and up for the challenge, and some of them even stayed back after class to ask more questions about something they read or lyrics in music they listened to. All my students were absolutely amazing an I can say that I learned a bit from everyone - mostly Portuguese. :) As much as you are there to teach them, it's the best way to improve your language skills!

The NGO is run by a couple - Luciano and Eliane - and those two have made their way straight into my heart. I struggle to find words for how open, lovely, forthcoming and amazing they have been with me and there are not enough thank yous in the world to express my gratitude for what they have done for me. I enjoyed every second of my time there, and, needless to say, when it was time to say goodbye, we were all crying our eyes out. I know it sounds cheesy, but these people have become my new family, and I literally can't wait until I return.

I'd also like to stress that during my time I was looked after by Felipe from Iko Poran, and I'd like to thank him for placing me on this particular project - it could not have been better! In 3 months I've seen and learned things that I have not learned in 35 years of my life. This time in Rio was so precious and the memories of it will stay in my heart forever, like the countless people I met along the way. It was the best experience of my life and I can just advise everybody that's thinking about volunteering to do it! Yes, it's scary at first, but if you keep an open mind and open heart and accept the sometimes peculiar Brasilian ways (jeitinhos brasileiros) you will have an amazing time.

How can this program be improved?

For me everything was brilliant. :) The only thing I'd say is that for certain projects there should probably be a minimum age, but it's hard to say really.

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Philippine
Female
19 years old
Tours

First time in Brazil

9/10

Coming to Brazil I wanted to discover something new, I didn't want to see this beautiful country just as a tourist that's why I chose volunteering. And this turned out to be a wonderful experience at all points; working with locals you meet great people who show you the culture, the language and beyond that, meeting volunteers from abroad was such an experience that I recommend to every people who want to make a useful and exotic break with daily life! You won't regret it!

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Tim
Male
25 years old
Essex, UK
Northumbria University

Iko Poran - Urban Environment Volunteer programme

9/10

I had a great time during my two month stay in Rio. The hostel in which we stayed as was so welcoming, the staff were the greatest and the other volunteers helped make the trip so special, and have certainly made many long-lasting friendships. The programme was very enjoyable. With two different projects it meant that there was some variety. The first project in a community garden working with Ricardo and his wife Dora was lovely. Two of the nicest people you will meet, although they don't speak English they still talk to you and keep you entertained, especially through Ricardo's love of acting out stories. Another bonus is finishing work at midday allows for the rest of the day to be spent at the beach after an exhausting but fun three hours in the sun. The second project at Parque Lage was beautiful. Like all Brazilians, the team were very welcoming. We did some forest conservation work with invasive tree species, by removing them and planting new local trees. One day we even hiked up Corcovado and gained free entry to Christ the Redeemer. The following day with the same team I worked in Pedra da Gavea, a large rock near Barra da Tijuca, doing the same invasive tree project. The opportunity to climb this mountain provides stunning views of Rio from afar. Overall my experience in Rio was amazing. I will certainly be back. This city is not to be missed, the people, beaches, night-life and food are all incredible. I hope to make it my home some day.

How can this program be improved?

Have a back-up programme for when it is raining, as the project doesn't run on rainy days due to the work being outside - not a problem in the summer, but in the winter, rain does occur occasionally.

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Anna
Female
24 years old
Scotland
Other

Child Development - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

10/10

This journey has been incredible and a real eye opener for me. The volunteer work allows you to experience the country instead of just being a tourist. The children I worked with were the most gentle, caring and inspirational children I have ever had the pleasure of being with. It's a very humbling experience and I believe already that it's changed my view on some things. You need to be prepared for the poverty in Rio, it is heart-breaking to see and if you are very emotional like myself you will struggle with it, especially knowing there is not much that you can do about it. Just keep in mind that whilst you are there you are contributing to the economy and helping support the communities with whatever volunteer work you choose to complete. This was my first time volunteering and I'm so glad I choose this programme and Rio, I felt completely supported by the leader of the programme (Luis Felipe Murray) and all the other volunteers. You get to meet many people from all over the world who are just like you, wanting to make a difference, no matter how big or small that may be. I also received Portuguese lessons which helped so much as many people do not speak any other language. I would recommend Rio de Janeiro to anyone !

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Fabian
Male
36 years old
Germany, Hamburg

My first time in Brazil

10/10

My goal was to get to know the culture, the people, the life, the language of Brazil and I am sure this is not possible as a normal tourist. Beside those things I wanted to do something good for people who need help and so I came to this program. And I can say all my goals were completely achieved. I had a great time in Rio regarding everything. Beside the volunteering work you even have enough time for sightseeing, to travel around and just to enjoy the time there. So I can totally recommend such an experience for everyone who really wants to get to know the culture and wants to help!

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Natasja
Female
28 years old
Cape Town, South Africa

Language barriers

10/10

Brazil has been on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and 3 months ago I decided this was the year I go. I had been wanting to volunteer for quite a while and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. After researching my various options of volunteering companies, I decided to go with Iko Poran. This was one of those good life choices. From the first email I sent, till when I left, Felipe was there to answer and assist all the way. The program is really well priced and the hostel is in a good location. Portuguese classes are included, with probably the nicest teacher ever!The other volunteers I met along the way were by far an asset to my trip. Most are like minded and genuinely just want to make a difference, while having fun. The city in itself is amazing, the people, the atmosphere, beaches, everything. This was by far one of the best months of my life!

To my detriment, I never took the time to learn any Portuguese before my trip to Brazil. Upon arrival, I realized that this might have been a really, really bad life choice. Although many Brazilian's do speak Portuguese, the majority of them are not in the service industry. So for the next month I played charades, ever day. The people in the shops around my hostel became familiar with my lack of Portuguese and eventually everybody would partake in guessing what exactly I was looking for. One particular trip to the pharmacy was quite interesting as I was looking for sleeping pills. The game of charades continued an till the customers joined in and we eventually solved the problem after I had made a complete fool of myself:)

How can this program be improved?

Program was pretty good, if I had to change one thing, more selection of beers in the fridge :D

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Parin
Male
23 years old
London, England, UK
University of Birmingham

The best experience of my life!!!

10/10

I was really nervous before arriving in Rio as it was my first time volunteering and also my first time travelling alone. I remember sitting in the car with Felipe, the Coordinator General of Iko Poran, and I was telling him how nervous I was, to which he told me "There is nothing to worry about, you're going to have the time of your life."

He couldn't have been more right! Everything about Rio was amazing. The volunteering program itself was really fun and eye-opening. The other volunteers I met were amazing! Rio really is a cidade maravilhosa. Most of all, Felipe and Iko Poran were amazing. The organisation and care they took for us volunteers were good, and I would recommend Iko Poran to anyone!!

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vicky
Female
42 years old
london, uk
University of Sussex

Iko Poran - Nos do Cinema

9/10

Of all the volunteer abroad programmes I researched this was by far the best value for money. I had a fantastic time, really enjoyed meeting the other volunteers and the Iko Poran staff were fun, friendly and seemed genuinely happy to hang out with us. It was a great way to meet local people and get to know a side of Rio that you would never see otherwise. The accommodation was great and in a fantastic, beautiful and very lively neighbourhood.

How can this program be improved?

I would have liked to change the NGO I was involved with as I didn't really have much to do there and felt disjointed from it.

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Lizzy
Female
42 years old
London, UK
University of Cambridge

Feel part of the local community

9/10

Initially booked to spend 6 weeks volunteering in Kunta Kinte capoeira school in Santa Teresa, I extended my stay for a further 6 weeks. I tutored English and drama, working with another volunteer to help the kids write and perform in their own short film, and later helping with the pre-school age capoeira lessons (about my level!).

I immediately felt a part of the local community, with invitations to churrascos, recommendations of local places to go, and being asked to help with various local events centred around the school including a Mother's Day celebration, Open Studios weekends and more.

The accommodation provided in Santa Teresa was a real hub for volunteers and locals alike, with musicians and artists often gathering for chilled-out weekend evenings in the communal courtyard. Santa Teresa is so village-like you would hardly believe that you're in the centre of a huge city, but you literally have everything Rio has to offer within minutes of the front door.

The Iko Poran staff were welcoming, friendly and flexible, gave great advice on living in the city, and organised social activities for the volunteers including several group outings to Maracana stadium to see the beloved Botafogo play!

I have wonderful memories of my time in Rio and it was the best way to start my round-the-world trip.

How can this program be improved?

Some more planning of the volunteer activities in advance would have helped. I was initially expecting to help put a website together for the school, only to find when I arrived that the staff didn't really want one! However, my skills were quickly put to use elsewhere and I can't fault the experience once I had arrived.

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Chetan
Male
24 years old
Gothenburg, Sweden
Loughborough University

An experience of a lifetime

10/10

I spent 1 month in Rio de Janeiro, helping Carlão and his football project in Barreira do Vasco. It was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to meet this wonderful human being. His efforts in the Community to provide a fun academy for the children in the area is incredible. The kids were really fantastic and extremely talented. Not to mention it was impossible to get the ball off many of them! I was really emotional leaving the kids and Carlão, but definitely made a friend for life and still keep in touch.

Iko Poran, were excellent in organising my stay in Brazil and I had a lot of fun with the staff and Felipe, the Director. I felt totally safe and accomodated for and if I needed any assistance or help, the organisation's staff were very easy to get in touch with. Living in Rio does require many precautions and smart thinking for personal safety and blending in with Cariocas but the staff are really helpful with advice when you arrive there.

During the weekdays, voluntary work was the key focus, but in the evenings and weekend there was plenty of opportunity to travel, socialise and take advantage of the wonders of Rio. Music, dancing, culture and arts are richer than in any part of the world and the social scene around Lapa is phenomenal.

This really was a life changing experience. After my month with Iko Poran, I have actually been mentoring one of the kids I met in the Favela. He is brilliant and has so much potential for his career dreams. I am determined to make his dreams come true. Without Iko Poran, I wouldn't have had this chance.

How can this program be improved?

This programme could be marketed better around the world. It is a fantastic opportunity to really make a difference to people and their lives and I hope we can spread Iko Poran's message even more!

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Dane
Male
24 years old
Houston, Tx
University of Houston

Great Organization and Wonderful Programs

10/10

I spent 6 weeks in Rio de Janeiro volunteering with Iko Proan. I had a wonderful time working with the kids in my programs and will always cherish my experience hanging with Felipe and the gang. I wish I had more time to spend there. All of the other volunteers were great and we had a blast exploring the city during our off time.

How can this program be improved?

Not much. It was pretty perfect.

About The Provider

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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 14 years experience and have received and coordinated thousands of volunteers.

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