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Volunteering in Brazil
Would you like to volunteer in Brazil? Are you looking to enhance your global perspective? Are you searching for an intriguing cultural experience while making the world a better place? Join IFRE and make a difference in South America for less than you thought possible!
Brazil is a country full of natural wonders, from its famous beaches to its lush rainforests and its towering mountains. You will also find a diverse culture, fantastic food, bustling cities, and beautiful weather.
Despite its beauty, Brazil has significant income inequality with 25-percent of the population living in poverty. Rio de Janeiro, famous for its natural beauty, is also the main cultural hub in Brazil and the most-visited city in the southern hemisphere. Sadly, Rio is also known for its favelas (slums and shantytowns). One-quarter of Rio's residents live in a favela, exemplifying the country's ever-growing gap between rich and poor.
Local organizations combating these issues are in desperate need of volunteers, and this is where you come in! Work alongside locals in one of our life changing programs and make a huge positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged Brazilians, whether it’s through teaching, working in an orphanage or supporting youth sports programs.
Gain valuable life experience while helping those in need, creating long-term change for those less fortunate. Contact IFRE and learn more about volunteering in Brazil today!
Volunteering in Brazil: Available Projects in Brazil
No matter what your background, experience, or passions are, IFRE has a variety of impactful and unique projects and you are sure to find one that matches your interests. Take a look at what we have to offer and select a project that is calling your name!
Brazil is a very popular and prominent travel destination due to its magnificent beaches, leafy boulevards and glittering skyscrapers. However, it is also infamous for its poverty-stricken communities, where the conditions of everyday life are unforgiving and dangerous. While the rich can afford all of the modern-day luxuries, the poor are struggling to take care of their children and provide basic education. As a result, there is an urgent need for volunteers in Brazil.
You will spend your time helping to look after underprivileged children in Brazil’s shanty towns, allowing their parents to go to work and make a living for their impoverished families. You will assist the local staff in taking care of the children and helping them to learn and develop various skills. You can teach English or music, or you can aid in the administration and fundraising work of the childcare center.
Speaking English is a major skill which can greatly benefit locals in Brazil, as English skills are necessary to gain employment in the country's booming tourism industry. However, most of the children from low income families cannot afford to attend schools and other institutions to learn English. What’s more, in low-income communities, most schools do not have qualified English teachers or funds to support proper English learning programs. You can help change this situation by joining this English teaching volunteer program in Brazil.
You will help young students learn and improve their English skills, which will give them a chance for a brighter future. By getting involved in this program, you will also allow children the opportunity to lead better lives through accessible education. You do not need previous teaching experience to join. However, individuals with a basic knowledge of Portuguese are preferred.
Brazil is a land with many enchantments. Unfortunately, in the poorest regions of the country, there are not enough youth sports clubs and centers to meet the needs of young people who dream of someday becoming great athletes. Most children will never get the attention of a coach or the opportunity to participate in organized sports activities. To keep their dreams alive, it’s crucial for dedicated volunteers like you to join the Youth Athletics volunteer program in Brazil.
You will be giving many young athletes the chance to pursue their passion for sports and develop their athletic ability. This volunteer program serves as a unique way to share your passion with children who will greatly benefit from it. Your work within this program will contribute to keeping vulnerable children off the streets and away from crime and drugs by giving them a positive outlet for their energy and time.Save children from a life on the streets through your love for sports. Visit the project page to find pricing and complete information.
Volunteering in Brazil: Fees & Start Dates
IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.
Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.
We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.
Volunteer Program Fee (US$)
|Childcare/Computer Teaching/Youth Athletics
|Teaching English/ Handicraft
Fee covers only breakfast in hostel, no lunch and dinner
Program Fees Cover:
- Accommodation (hostel)
- Airport pick-up and transfer
- Food (local food 3 times a day)
- Program Orientation
- In-country support
- Personalized project
- Pre-departure information
- Certificate of completion
- Fundraising ideas and letters
- Discount for returning volunteers
Program Fees Exclude:
- Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
- Daily transportation
- Airport return transfer
You might be worried about how to manage all of the details for your volunteering trip abroad, but with IFRE you can rest easy knowing we will have made all of the arrangements for you.
We will carefully select safe and secure accommodations for you, provide you a healthy daily breakfast, and offer a fantastic support system of in-country field staff that will supervise you throughout the duration of your stay volunteering in Brazil.
Our volunteers will have the choice of staying in one of two hostels. Both have a kitchen and western style bathrooms available for use. Rio Hostel is located in the downtown area of Rio De Janeiro and is in a safe and secure neighborhood. The neighborhood is called Santa Teresa and consists of picturesque views, charming shops and bohemian culture.
The other hostel, Cabana Copa, is located within walking distance of the world-famous Copacabana Beach, a metro station and a beautiful natural park.
You will find it easy to travel from both hostels to the project sites, as well as to other places in Rio famous to visitors, such as beaches and other attractions. In the hostels, our volunteers in Brazil will share rooms with other international volunteers of the same gender.
Breakfast will be served in the hostels, but you will need to eat lunch and dinner outside, and you will be responsible for this cost. Good food is inexpensive in Brazil and readily available andif you have dietary restrictions (food allergies, vegan/vegetarian) inform IFRE in advance so that we can accommodate you.
During your volunteer work in Brazil, our supervisor and project staff will stay in touch with you. The volunteer coordinator lives minutes away andif you need any advice or have any issue you need to discuss, you can talk to the staff or call the coordinator and they will be happy to guide and support you in any way that you need.
Making the world a better place is, of course, your primary motivating factor for volunteering abroad. But you will also want to experience the sights and sounds of Brazil and explore this unique and fascinating destination while you’re there. If you’re wondering if you will have enough free time to do this, you’re in luck! You will only be volunteering around 6 hours per day during the week. This leaves plenty of time to explore in the evenings and on the weekends!
Rio De Janeiro is the most visited city in South America and the reason for this is fairly simple. It is filled with vibrant people, lush landscapes, and unparalleled culture. Rio is Brazil's second largest city and has a population of over 6 million and upwards of 10 million if you include the suburban areas. One of the main benefits of volunteering in Brazil is that there is a lot to do and enjoy in and around Rio during your free time.
Rio has excellent beaches, like the world-famous Ipanema and Copacabana, where you can enjoy the sun and the sand as well as seeing the Brazilians enjoy their beach life. Rio is also famous for the samba, which makes the city a great place to learn this exciting dance.
During your time off from volunteering in Brazil, you can also surf great breaks off Prainha, hike through Tijuca's rainforests, sail across Guanabára and dance the night away in Lapa. Rio is also known for the favelas (shanty towns) that dot the city's landscape, home to some of Brazil’s most needy citizens. You can organize a tour of the favelas, although visiting alone is not recommended.
Safety and In-country Support
Your safety is IFRE’s number one priority at all times, and you can have peace of mind knowing we will do everything possible to ensure you have a safe and secure experience volunteering in Brazil. We offer pre-trip support, reliable and comprehensive travel insurance, airport pick-up, and availability of 24/7 guidance and support by an experienced in-country staff that is right there on the ground to help you every step of the way.
As soon as you arrive in Brazil, you will have the support of an experienced team of in-country field staff. The team is comprised of mature, educated, socially respected individuals who are dedicated humanitarians highly experienced in working with international volunteers.
Your main point of contact will be the in-country coordinator. They will select your Brazil volunteering project placement, make all the arrangements for your airport transfer, accommodations, and food, give you an orientation which covers culture, safety, and your service work, introduce you to your host family and project staff, and make periodic visits and calls to check up on your progress. You can reach out to the coordinator at any time with any questions, issues, or to ask for advice and they will be happy to assist you.
Volunteering in Brazil: Frequently Asked Questions- FAQ
If this is your first time volunteering abroad with IFRE, you are bound to have a long list of questions that you are hoping to have answered. We are here to help you prepare for your humanitarian adventure overseas in any way that we can, and to make things easier for you we have compiled this list of commonly asked questions all in one place.
At which airport do I need to arrive?
You need to fly into Rio de Janeiro International Airport to join volunteering opportunities in Brazil.
Do you organize airport pick-up?
Yes, we do organize airport pickup for you. A local representative of IFRE will be waiting at the airport arrival terminal for you upon yourarrival in the Rio de Janeiro International Airport. All the airport pickup details will be provided to you prior to your flight to Brazil.
What happens if I miss my flight or arrive late?
If you miss your flight or if you will arrive late in Rio de Janeiro International Airport, then you must inform us immediately either by contacting your in-country coordinator or by getting in touch with our office staff via email or telephone, and we will happily reschedule your pick-up time. It is crucial that you keep us informed about your travel plans and flight details at all times so that unnecessary hassles and annoyances can be avoided.
Who will come to pick me up? How do I recognize the person at the airport?
A local representative of IFRE will come to pick you up at the Rio de Janeiro International Airport prior at the start of your volunteer placement. IFRE will provide you with all the personal details of our representative before your flight to Brazil so that once you have landed you can contact them personally. You can recognize our representative by looking for a person holding a white signboard with your name written on it.
If my Brazil volunteer program begins on Monday, when should I arrive? If I want to arrive earlier than the day when my assignment begins, where do I stay and who will organize the accommodations? Does it cost me extra?
We recommend you arrive in Brazil on Sunday if your volunteer program begins on Monday. Arriving on Sunday will leave you some time to relax and prepare before the start of your volunteer experience the next day. If you decide to arrive earlier than the start date of your assignment, you will be responsible for booking and paying for your accommodations and food before the start of your project. Let your in-country coordinator know your plans.
Who will bring me to the airport for my departure after completing my volunteer work?
IFRE does not provide airport departure services, so you will need to pay for and make your own transportation arrangements after completing your project placement. Local project staff can advise you on setting up a taxi to take you to the airport should you require assistance.
What do I need prior to departure from my home country?
There are a number of steps you will need to take before you are ready to volunteer abroad. You will need to meet with a doctor and get up to date on your vaccinations, and have any prescriptions filled as you will likely be unable to acquire your medication in your destination country. You will need to research the requirements for a visa based on your home country and apply for this. You will need to obtain travel insurance, and IFRE can help provide you with a reliable and comprehensive policy for this. We suggest researching the country you are traveling to andbecoming acquainted with their customs and traditions prior to visiting.
There are many things which you must pack in your luggage prior to your departure for a satisfying volunteer work in Brazil. You should not forget to pack walking shoes, water bottle, portable phone charger, EU adapters, clothes, moisturizer, sunscreen, travel insurance, underwear, socks, first aid kit, camera, deodorant, insect repellent, towel, map, toothbrush, ear buds, shaver, sunglasses, flashlight, backpack, and reading materials like books and magazines. You also need to bring your original passport and visa.
Where are the projects located?
IFRE’s programs in Brazil are all located in the mesmerizing city of Rio de Janeiro. With lush green landscapes, beautiful ocean scenery, sparkling white beaches, a unique culture and friendly people, Rio de Janeiro stands out as a popular tourist destination which manages to attract thousands of foreign travelers and volunteers from across the globe each year. Rio de Janeiro is also the second largest city of Brazil and hosts one of the most bizarre yet fascinating carnivals in the world.
Is there a minimum and a maximum stay?
Our projects are offered from one to twelve weeks in duration.
Can I extend my stay if I choose to?
Yes, you can extend your stay if you wish to remain in Brazil for a longer period of time than you originally planned. Speak to your in-country coordinator if you are interested in this option.
Will I have enough time to travel after work and on weekends?
Yes, you will get free time to travel and visit popular touristic sites. You only need to put in 5-8 hours of work per day, your schedule varying based on which project you are at. This leaves plenty of time for you to travel and get familiar with the places near your project placement area. In addition, you don’t have to work on weekends so there’s no shortage of free time for leisure and travel.
Who will guide or support me in my Brazil volunteer project?
A competent in-country coordinator looks after you in Brazil and provides constant support and guidance on a day to day basis. You can ask for assistance from our in-country coordinator in case of emergencies and always rely on him/her to help solve your issues.
Can I switch projects if I do not like my first choice?
Yes, it is possible for you to change your project before and after coming to Brazil. IFRE does not restrict you from doing so and always makes an effort to satisfy your every need. Get in touch with your country coordinator to discuss this possibility, and a new project will be selected for you based on availability.
With that being said, IFRE volunteers have a 99% satisfaction rate and very rarely need to explore this option.
Can I work in more than one volunteer project at once?
Yes, you can work in more than one Brazil volunteering project at once if you so choose. All it takes is a simple process of documentation and authentication of credentials. However, we do need to warn you that doing so can be physically and mentally exhausting, as each project requires at least five hours of work daily. You must be fully aware that joining more than one project is not going to be easy and prepared for the challenge.
How old should I be to take part?
You must be 18 years old to participate. In some cases, minors can obtain written consent by a parent or guardian and become eligible. Younger volunteers can also volunteer alongside their families.
Who manages the volunteer projects in Brazil?
IFRE’s programs are fully managed by the in-country coordinator based in Brazil. The in-country coordinator is experienced and highly prepared to look after you. If there is any issue regarding the project, you can go ahead and discuss it with the in-country coordinator to find a solution and get on with the project.
Will I receive training before the start of the project?
Yes, you will receive training prior to the start of your volunteer work, outlining the service work you will be performing and what your schedule will be. The training session will allow you to get familiar with the norms and customs of Brazil and its people. You will also learn how to stay safe and avoid potential security threats while traveling abroad in Brazil.
Is there a dress code in the project?
There are no stern dress codes to follow in Brazil. You can dress in casual attire and wear what feels comfortable to you.
Why should I pay to volunteer abroad?
Paying to volunteer abroad might seem pretty odd at first, especially if you are a first-time volunteer overseas. However, everything from the operating cost of the organization to the salaries of the staff and the utilities and rent bills is paid solely by the small fees charged to volunteers participating in our life-changing programs, without which fee sit would be impossible to run this non-profit volunteer organization.
Your fee also goes to cover your housing, food, training, supervision, and a donation directly to the project you are volunteering your time and hard work to support.
Why are IFRE’s fees so much more affordable than other volunteer organizations?
IFRE is an American non-profit volunteer organization which is committed to providing our volunteers with important opportunities and experiences. Unlike its competitors, IFRE does not aim to make any profits from its volunteer projects, as money is not a motivating factor for IFRE. We run our programs to offer humanitarian aid and make the world a better place, and only charge the amount required to sustain those programs. This allows us to charge program fees which are much more affordable than those of other organizations.
Can I get a tax deduction for my volunteer program in Brazil?
Yes, you can get a tax deduction for all of our programs, as we are an American non-profit 501©3 volunteer organization which collaborates with many local institutions and NGOs in Brazil.
Can I get help to raise funds?
Yes, IFRE can help you raise funds for your volunteer experience. Contact us today to learn how we can help you fund your philanthropic efforts abroad.
For further readings:
Is it safe to travel to Brazil?
Yes, it is very safe to travel in Brazil , but you have to be aware that the security situation in Brazil is unpredictable, like any other country, and your safety can never be fully guaranteed no matter where you volunteer. You should also be aware that robbery and theft are a possibility in Brazil and take necessary precautions to guard against this.
What safety measures should I take while in Brazil?
Go to your country’s advisory website for international travel before you depart and check in periodically during your time abroad to keep abreast of current situations that might affect your safety. You will also be briefed on necessary safety measures during your orientation.
We highly recommend you stick to individually planned itineraries and keep up with the schedules for each project during your stay in Brazil with us. You will be looked after throughout the project with frequent visits by the in-country coordinator. The field staff members will also take care of you and help you complete your volunteer project without issues.
What will happen if I get sick while in Brazil?
If you get sick, then you will be taken to the nearby local hospital or clinic depending on the level of seriousness and severity of your health conditions. Our local staff and in-country coordinator will do everything possible to improve your health. You must always keep our staff informed about your health condition or if you want to visit the hospital for a quick checkup. Be sure to bring your passport and a copy of your travel insurance to present to the physician.
Why must I get travel insurance before beginning my volunteer trip?
Travel insurance is the most important thing to have for your volunteering work project in Brazil as it can save you a lot of trouble. IFRE makes it clear that travel insurance is a vital requirement for all of its volunteers. Travel insurance helps you to stay safe from potential travel risks that come with traveling in a country unknown to you. Things like stolen luggage, natural disasters, medical costs and evacuation can all be taken care of with the help of travel insurance. If you need help securing a policy, IFRE can provide affordable, reliable, and comprehensive coverage.
What vaccinations do I need to travel to Brazil?
The CDC and WHO recommend vaccinations for shingles, yellow fever, measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis A, pneumonia, typhoid, chickenpox, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), and influenza.
By getting vaccinations for all these diseases, you are essentially protecting yourself against various life-threatening medical conditions. Vaccinationsare an important travel necessity for individuals and families who plan on traveling abroad in Brazil, and you should also visit a doctor to discuss what immunizations you will need. You can learn more about these vaccinations here:
What are the principal health risks for volunteers in Brazil?
Dengue, leishmaniasis, and Chagas diseases are prevalent in Brazil. You must follow necessary insect avoidance measures to prevent these diseases. The tropical environment of Brazil has many health risks you should be aware of before travel,from vaccinations to sun protection and snake bites.
For further readings:
Do I need a visa to volunteer and travel to Brazil?
Yes. The government of Brazil does not allow any foreign individual to participate in volunteering activities unless they obtain a tourist visa from its Immigration Department.
How do I apply for the visa?
On arrival visa is not available for US citizens and citizen of many other countries, please check with local brazil embassy about getting visa in your own home country
Applying for a Brazilian tourist visa is simple. To obtain a Brazilian tourist visa, you must visit the official Embassy of Brazil or the nearest consulate in your home country and submit a visa application form. In order to do so, you will have to bring your original passport with a validity of at least six months, at least one clear page for visa stamps a photocopy of your round-trip flight ticket, and a passportsize photo with your full face. Brazil does not grant visas upon arrival at the airport.
Can I extend my visa while I am in the country? Can you help me with this?
Yes, you can extend your Brazilian tourist visa while volunteering in Brazil for an extra 90 days by visiting the Federal Police office in Brazil and filling out a visa extension form. Volunteers must extend their visas before the expiration of their authorized stay or face a penalty to pay extra. If you need advice regarding this matter, reach out to our in-country coordinator.
How do I contact IFRE’s local coordinator?
Staying in touch with IFRE’s country coordinator and local field staff during your volunteer abroad project is simple. You can contact them by phone, email, Viber and WhatsApp.
How can I communicate with my family from Brazil?
Communication with family and friends is essential for any volunteer traveling abroad. You can use the free Wi-Fi to go online and talk to them via Skype, Facebook or Gmail,or you can also make an international call to talk with them directly from your accommodations in Brazil.
Can I use my phone during my volunteer project in Brazil?
Yes, you can use your mobile phone. Just don’t forget to bring your mobile charger. You will need to check with your current provider before departure from your home country to ensure that your mobile phone will work in Brazil. Be aware that international roaming charges may apply, and these can be quite costly.
Can I buy a SIM card in Brazil?
Yes, you can buy a local SIM card in Brazil, but you will need to have your original passport and one passportsize photo for documentation. You can buy a SIM card at most of the local shops nearby their accommodations and project sites. Again, check with your current provider before departure to ensure your phone will function with the foreign SIM.
How can I get/purchase internet services?
To purchase internet services in Brazil, you must buy a local SIM card and use it in your mobile phone. Volunteers can ask the vendor to activate the internet services by purchasing a data plan that suits your needs. Visitor TIM is the most popular SIM Card in Brazil for foreign volunteers and travelers.
Is there internet available everywhere?
Yes, internet is available everywhere in Brazil, especially 3G internet services.
What do I need to bring with me?
What you bring will vary depending on the season you are traveling, the type of project you are volunteering at, and what you need for your own comfort. IFRE will be providing your room, food, and in-country support. Do not forget to bring your passport, visa and travel insurance.
You should bring your flight tickets, first-aid medical kit, comfortable clothes, hiking boots, walking shoes, insect repellent, sunscreen, reading materials like books and magazines, credit/debit cards, backpack, camera, mobile phone, laptop, adapter/converter, and a portable charger. IFRE provides bedding, but if you would like to bring a sleeping bag you are welcome to do so.
We hope we have answered all of your questions and that you are now more prepared to travel abroad and volunteer helping others. To learn more about volunteering in Brazil, contact IFRE today!
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