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

Video and Photos

English class
English class
English class
English class
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.
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
Painting catterpillars with the kids

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 43 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9
Showing 16 - 30 of 43
Default avatar
Adie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Child Development Program

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.

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

Child developement program

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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Child development program in Rio de Janeiro

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!

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

Wish I was born in Brazil....

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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Authentic Rio!

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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! :)

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

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.

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

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!

Evan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
More insight on what we are hoping to achieve forward can be a huge help!
Destiny
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Philip
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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

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!

Florence
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Diana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
I prepared some things for the football, but it was of no use.
Default avatar
toti
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
By getting more and more volunteers involved.