Brazil

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad

I volunteered for two weeks in Rio de Janeiro in a Child Development project. It was very well organised in my opinion. Felipe picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at the hostel, on our way he explained me how the program worked and showed me a little bit around in the neigboorhood I was going to stay (Santa Teresa and Lapa).
On my first day of the volunteering program I went to the 'school' with an Irish couple. There were around 15 kids that day and throughout the program I saw between 10 and 20 kids every day. The children call it a school, but there are no classes. Our job was to keep the kids occupied in a good way, we played football with the older kids and rope skipping with the younger ones. Afterwards we went back to the school and let them draw or paint (they love painting!)
It was amazing but an advice for future volunteers is: prepare some games, they like to learn new things! And if you can teach them something new, drawing wise or arts and crafts, that would be amazing and it keeps them going for a while. They liked everything we did, but as kids are, they are bored easily so once they were playing for a while or drawing they wanted to do something else. Also, some basic portuguese can come in handy, you can get classes at the program and I suggest you take them! I already knew some Portuguese, but I was definitely not fluent, and people love you if you just try.

Overall I thought it was a very good experience, I learned a lot about Rio, children and myself. I would definitely recommend!

Side note: It was my first time travelling that far away from home and by myself, so I was a little bit stressed at first, but Felipe and everyone in the program immediately made this stress fade away. If you're a first time traveller/volunteer like I was, don't worry, you're in good hands!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Oct 11, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad

Brazil is a great Country and happy land. Volunteering in Rio is the best way to use the summer time well and do something meaningful. Also, first-Hand experience could be obtained from working with the locals. This is the happiest time I have ever got in a foreign Country. Come to this Country to see for yourself. You will not regret the decision!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 19, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

WorkingAbroad

I volunteered for two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on a child development programme. I loved my time in Rio. This was my first time volunteering and actually my first time travelling alone so it was very daunting to begin with. Luis Felipe Murray who runs the Iko Poran charity in Rio made me feel so welcome and supported me thought my time there. I worked with a group of children between roughly 4 and 16 years of age, I've never met a more intelligent, considerate and warm-hearted bunch of children in my life! They made this trip for me and I will never forget them. I was told a tousand horror stories about Rio before I left about how dangerous it was and I found the complete opposite on arrival, everyone is so friendly. It is dangerous but as long as you are careful and watch what you are doing you will be fine. The poverty in the country is hard to observe, especially if you come from a country like mine where we take everything for granted. It's heart-breaking to see but just hold onto the fact that if you choose to visit these countries you are there to make a difference no matter how big or small that is. What an incredible journey I've been on already and I can't explain in words how humbling it is and how granteful I am to Iko Poran and all the other volunteers from all around the world who contributed to how fantastic my time there was.
I will most definitely be volunteering again and I'll for sure be back in Rio.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 6, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

WorkingAbroad

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!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Aug 6, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Project Favela

I volunteered for Project Favela via the GVN Brazil Program in September 2014 and it was by far the most rewarding, eye opening and heartwarming experience I've ever had. Project Favela supported me before, during and after my trip and is always there to answer any questions you may have.

During my stay in Rocinha, I was working and living with wonderful volunteers from all over the world. I did the Teaching Program so I got to teach smart and enthusiastic kids every afternoon, as well as equally amazing adults some days of the week. At night we got to do some locals classes which was a lot of fun as well, I've never met more welcoming and friendly people than the ones in Rocinha!

The children running up to you yelling "Teacher!", grabbing your hands and hugging you, will put a smile on your face every single day. The lessons are great because the kids are genuinely happy to be there and eager to learn, especially when you put in the effort to make everything interesting for them (singing songs, playing games, reading stories, letting them act things out and draw, asking people to come up front to point things out etc.).

Arriving in a favela by yourself is daunting of course, especially when you don't speak Portuguese. All I can say is that it's SO worth it to jump in head first and go for it, you will not regret it. Sure, it won't always be easy but that just makes you a stronger, more independent person. The people you meet, the experiences you have, the things you visit in Rio will stay with you forever. My main advice: stay as long as you can!! I was only there for a couple of weeks and I so wish I could have stayed longer.

Huge thanks Project Favela, I can't wait to come back some day!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Jul 8, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
9

WorkingAbroad

I volunteered in Rio de Janeiro as a football trainer and English teacher. Through WorkingAbroad I was placed at the local organization Iko Poran. Iko Poran placed me in a project called Jocum in the favela Borel. Jocum is a very organized Christian charity with a hospital, music school, women project, football project and they organize a lot of different activities for the community. Safety in the favela was no problem; in fact, the people were very welcoming to me when they knew that I volunteered for Jocum and they were very eager to participate in the program. The participants of the football project are around 18 years old, so playing football with them is a great experience in itself if you like football! Staying there for a longer period gives you the chance to really make a difference and help the people, although a short stay will be great too. Next to the football trainings I also taught the participants of the football project English classes.
As I stayed for almost 3 months with another volunteer, we became good friends with the boys in the favela and they treated us like we were one of them. Still months after volunteering, I'm in touch with many of the boys from the football program and I promised them to come back!

What I liked the best are the relationships we could build with the football players and help them in making their life decisions, eg. about going to school, having work, how to treat the girls in the favela, how to stay away from criminality, etc.
More information about the project on www.goal4rio.com

Iko Poran has two houses where you will live with the other volunteers. Living with the other volunteers is a lot of fun and you will enjoy every day/night. At Iko Poran, Zac and Vivi help you with everything you need, they also offer you Portugese language course, which helps you a lot to get around.

Improvements for the program:
Pricing of the program could be improved. Just to volunteer we paid a lot for accommodation and breakfast. However, the quality of these were pretty bad. The mattresses were bad, kitchen equipment was very old and the wifi barely worked if everybody was back in the hostel.
For breakfast, there were only white slices of bread, cheese, ham, most of the time a piece of fruit, 1 type of cereals, milk and coffee. For none of us this was enough to start a full day of volunteering.
To sum up, nothing too bad, but Iko Poran can easily improve these to improve the experience of the volunteers.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Oct 14, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

I volunteered on the GVN Brazil Program this September and it was by far the most rewarding, eye opening and heartwarming experience I've ever had. GVN supported me before, during and after my trip and is always there to answer any questions you may have.

During my stay in Rocinha, I was working and living with wonderful volunteers from all over the world. I did the Teaching Program so I got to teach smart and enthusiastic kids every afternoon, as well as equally amazing adults some days of the week. At night we got to do some locals classes which was a lot of fun as well, I've never met more welcoming and friendly people than the ones in Rocinha!

The children running up to you yelling "Teacher!", grabbing your hands and hugging you, will put a smile on your face every single day. The lessons are great because the kids are genuinely happy to be there and eager to learn, especially when you put in the effort to make everything interesting for them (singing songs, playing games, reading stories, letting them act things out and draw, asking people to come up front to point things out etc.).

Arriving in a favela by yourself is daunting of course, especially when you don't speak Portuguese. All I can say is that it's SO worth it to jump in head first and go for it, you will not regret it. Sure, it won't always be easy but that just makes you a stronger, more independent person. The people you meet, the experiences you have, the things you visit in Rio will stay with you forever. My main advice: stay as long as you can!! I was only there for a couple of weeks and I so wish I could have stayed longer.

Thanks to GVN and the local Brazil Program, I can't wait to come back some day!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Oct 2, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Expanish

Muito boa a experiência.

Fiquei estudando na Expanish por 4 meses e aproveitei muito tudo que ela ofereceu.

As aulas são muito boas e os professores claro, são fantásticos. Já sabiam todas as dificuldades que um brasileiro tem na hora de aprender o espanhol.

A equipe muito atenciosa, e resolveram um problema que tive nas aulas bem depressa.

Foi uma ótima maneira de viver a cultura de Buenos Aires e estudar espanhol.

Super recomendo.

Gracias Expanish

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Jun 18, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Frontier

On the last day of project, one of the children gave a speech. She said that she was so happy people had come to Tuiuti (her favela) from all over the world. She said she was grateful that we had given them opportunities to learn English, and that she would never forget what we'd taught her. She said she was happy that now her favela would be known all around the world, and that this would bring more opportunities to them. It was not something I had expected, and it was very emotional. I will remember it always, even though it was in Portuguese. So yes, my time was appreciated and it was worthwhile.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: May 21, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

I spent two weeks with the animal program outside Curitiba and it was everything I hoped for... The planning process with ELI was easy, transportation was really nice to have, and the guest house was wayyy nicer than I expected. I worked with the staff on feeding/maintenance/cleaning for the aviaries, large cat enclosures (including jaguars, mountain lions, oscelots), a huge enclosure for bush dogs with elevated walkways...If you are afraid of heights, some of the enclosures might be scary. Bring a Portuguese dictionary so you can look up animals (some of them they only know the Brazilian name for). The property is enormous...in my free time I hiked and explored the complex lake system and back country. It's an amazing place for someone who appreciates nature and wants to get away from the city. It's quiet at night, so bring movies or books or something to keep you busy after the sun goes down. Work starts at dawn and the time goes by quickly. I'd go back and stay a little longer if I could take the time off.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Brazil
Posted: Nov 27, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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