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

Video and Photos

About

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

Impact

Related Programs

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 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

94%
based on 38 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 16 - 30 of 38
Default avatar
Barbora
10/10

Two weeks in Brazil

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! :)

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Junior
10/10

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

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emily
10/10

Great Experience in Rio de Janeiro

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!

Yes, I recommend
Evan
10/10

Rio de Janeiro Capoeira sports development

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!
Yes, I recommend
Destiny
10/10

Environmental Volunteer work in Rio

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Philip
9/10

Great experience

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!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jessica
9/10

Best Way to Brazil

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!

Yes, I recommend
Florence
10/10

Iko Poran, the best volunteer program in Rio !

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.

Yes, I recommend
Diana
9/10

great experience

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
toti
10/10

Teaching in Rio

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ute
10/10

The best experience of my life

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Philippine
9/10

First time in Brazil

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!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tim
9/10

Iko Poran - Urban Environment Volunteer programme

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Anna
10/10

Child Development - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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 !

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Fabian
10/10

My first time in Brazil

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!

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad

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...